The 2015-16 college basketball season is just around the corner. In honor of the Flyers winning 53 games the last two seasons (and because I couldn’t come up with 2,015 reasons), I’m counting down 53 reasons (in no particular order) to look forward to the season.
Follow the blog between now and the season opener against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 13. I will have four to five updates per week.
I’ll post links on Twitter (@DavidPJablonski) and on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DavidPatrickJablonski.
NOTE TO READERS: I want to salute the fans at some point in this series. Here’s my idea: Email me a photo of your favorite piece of UD memorabilia (email@example.com). It could be a ticket stub, a T-shirt, a poster, a newspaper page, a photo of you at a game, etc. And write a paragraph or two or more about the story behind it: where you got it, what it means to you, why it’s special, etc. Also tell me how long you’ve been a fan, how and why you started rooting for the Flyers. I will include the story and the text in a blog entry. The best photo and entry wins an 8×10 print of Vee Sanford’s shot against OSU or Jordan Sibert’s shot against Boise. Your choice.
No. 38: True Team nickname
Dayton will always have the Flyers nickname, one of the best in college sports, in my opinion.
I’m not a big fan of the generic mascots: Wildcats, Spartans, Trojans, Tigers, Raiders, Wildcats, Eagles, Bulldogs, Panthers, Warriors, Indians, Wildcats. Give me the original nicknames that say something about the city or school or area: Urbana Hillclimbers, Indiana Hoosiers, Ohio State Buckeyes, Wabash Little Giants, Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, Cleveland Browns, Oberlin Yeomen.
These days it doesn’t hurt to have a second nickname, or motto. VCU has Havoc. Shaka Smart left, but didn’t take the Havoc. It’s short and to the point and perfectly describes the VCU brand.
Ohio State has multiple nicknames behind the Buckeyes. The receivers have Zone 6. The defense is the Silver Bullets. This kind of stuff works perfectly on social media.
Dayton’s True Team nickname was born in March 2014. Miller used the phrase with the team in private before mentioning it in a press conference for the first time during the NCAA tournament in Memphis. Here’s a screen grab of the transcript where Archie uttered the words “true team.” It’s in the last paragraph.
That wasn’t the only time Miller used “true team” that week. A New York Times story featured those words.
Last season, Miller said, “we probably had about 10 games where we lost the game in the last couple of minutes or last possession because we couldn’t finish.”
Miller added: “So we talked a lot about that. We don’t need starters. We need finishers.”
The players bristled at this routine at first, but they grew to appreciate what Miller was trying to do. It became their most outward expression of solidarity.
“I’ve been saying it for a long time,” Miller said. “We have to be a true team. We have a lot of guys that are going to have to make a lot of sacrifices for us to be able to be successful. They all had to give a little bit of something so the other guy could improve.”
The nickname took off from there. I first mentioned it in print when I saw players wearing True Team T-shirts before the Elite Eight game against Florida. WHIO’s Larry Hansgen wrote a book about that season and titled it “True Team.” I made my own book on Blurb.com with my photos and stories just as a keepsake to display in my living room and titled it “True Team Two.”
Not long after the NCAA tournament in 2014, the program started the True Team twitter account as a way to promote the program and connect with recruits. I talked to Archie about True Team it then.
“Social media is one way to express (yourself),” he said. “Sometimes coaches don’t want anyone to know anything about what they do. I’m kind of gradually moving into that world. Our program is important to a lot of people. The more good information you can put out there, the more fun you can have with it, the better it is.”