Not that they need it, but the Middle Tennessee Lady Raiders have a good-luck charm in the form of Murfreesboro City Schools’ youngsters.
When the school kids show up — and some 3,500 did Thursday, Dec. 1, for the annual Education Day game — coach Rick Insell’s Lady Raiders usually win. Visiting Tennessee Tech found out the hard way, losing 83-45 in noisy Murphy Center.
Education Day games are a way for MTSU, the Lady Raiders and Blue Raiders to partner with the city schools system and Rutherford County Schools, bringing the youngsters to campus for a college game and a taste of university life.
The Lady Raiders, who had five players score in double figures, are 8-1 in Education Day games.
Loads of activities
From the High-Five Tunnel, where students high-fived the Lady Raiders to the 3-Shot Challenge, where the first to make a layup, free throw and 3-pointer wins, the MT Athletic Marketing and MCS staffs created lots of activities for the fourth- through sixth-grade students.
They turned teachers into mummies with toilet paper, and the halftime “mascot madness” game was a hoot. There were winners in the ball-on-spoon and cotton catch activities.
The popular “Chicken Dance Song,” “Macarena” and “Let It Go” had them on their feet and cheering on the Lady Raiders.
Wearing an astronaut suit, Indyah Ceasar, 11, a sixth grader at Hobgood Elementary, a Tennessee STEAM-designated school, said she enjoyed competing with the other 12 mascots in the madcap halftime game. STEAM education focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
“It was very hot in the suit, which was kind of falling off, but I was able to get a point,” said Ceasar, who admitted to having college basketball, WNBA or business entrepreneur aspirations someday.
Had she not been at the game, Ceasar, who is “on the verge of the A/B honor roll,” said she “probably would have been doing social studies or Greek, Roman, ancient times” at school.
City Schools Director Trey Duke said they “just appreciate our partnership with MTSU.”
“Dr. (Sidney A.) McPhee and interim Dean (Rick) Vanosdall with the College of Education are always working with us, and we’re always looking for new and great ways to partner with the university. We feel really blessed to have them as a neighbor of ours in the community.
“What’s probably most important for us is to make sure all of our students have an opportunity in elementary school to put their feet on a college campus and get a little bit of college experience so they can say, ‘I want to do that when I graduate. That’s where I want to go,’” the director added.
Duke, former principal at Salem Elementary, earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from MTSU in 2003, 2008 and 2021, respectively.
Another game opportunity
Students attending both the women’s and men’s games received a voucher to attend a future home game free with the purchase of an accompanying adult ticket.
Their options include the Blue Raiders’ game against Conference USA rival Western Kentucky at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, and the Lady Raiders’ 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, Lady Raiders game against CUSA opponent University of Texas-San Antonio.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)