Get in the Game
Students throughout campus are getting in the game. With 21 Division III varsity sports, a popular intramural sports program, several club sports, a dance team, pep band, cheer/stunt team, and of course, the Red Sea of Rowdy Raiders, there are several ways students are showing their school spirit. The Kern Center and Viets Field have given MSOE a true home-field advantage. More teams are playing on campus than ever before and students have options when it comes to working out and exercising.
“The north end of campus is an exciting place to be. Intramural and club sports are a great way for students to relax, have fun and stay in shape,” said Brian Miller, director of athletics. “I love seeing the stands fill with students cheering on the Raiders. The support from students, fans and the pep band, dance and cheer/stunt teams is electrifying.”
The intramural sports program provides a structured approach to recreation. The types of sports offered vary each quarter, and no practice or travel is required. All games are scheduled on or within campus facilities against campus opponents, and students play weekly for five to seven weeks each quarter.
Club sports are open to students, faculty and staff who are seeking a more informal recreation program. Some of the clubs, such as badminton and tae kwon do, meet solely on campus. Others, like bowling and ultimate Frisbee compete in tournaments throughout the Midwest.
Special sections at the Kern Center are designated just for student spectators at varsity games. Students often wear their red MSOE shirts and transform the bleachers into what’s affectionately known as the Red Sea. Thanks to their school spirit, they’ve been nicknamed the Rowdy Raiders. And with the advent of social media, a new hashtag has been born: #WeArrrRaiders.
The Sound Engineers pep band, the dance team and the cheer/stunt team help get the crowd fired up at many of the Raiders’ home games. Nick Ratkowski, senior mechanical engineering major, is president of the 50-member band. “In high school I was part of the marching band and pep band, and I wanted to continue playing music into college,” he said. “As a former athlete, I knew that when my fellow peers came and cheered me on, it made the whole atmosphere better. I love it when we play together. The sound we can create is amazing.”
Participation in varsity sports varied throughout the years, and by the 1990s it was in full swing. MSOE changed its intercollegiate athletic affiliation from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to Division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for most of its varsity team sports. Pep rallies and school spirit events were commonplace and in 1999 the Sound Engineers played for most home hockey and basketball games and the cheerleading squad was rekindled.
About this time, Dan Harris was named director of athletics. Under Harris’ leadership, the athletic department enjoyed remarkable growth and success, going from 14 to 21 sports, including the addition of men’s volleyball, men’s rowing and men’s lacrosse, as well as men’s and women’s track & field. Harris retired Sept. 1, 2015 after 20 years of service at MSOE, capping a 53-year career in collegiate athletics.
MSOE teams won 47 conference regular season and tournament championships during his tenure, while making seven NCAA Tournament appearances. The Raiders had 25 individual qualifiers for national championships and boasted 19 All-Americans in that time. Success has not been limited to the playing field, as the department has featured 14 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans.
Miller, who also serves as the men’s basketball coach, was named director of athletics on Sept. 1. He spent the last 11 years as associate athletic director in addition to his role as head men’s basketball coach. He is one of the most successful coaches in department history with a .611 (176-112) winning percentage. His teams have broken or tied the program’s record for wins in a season five times, including a record 21 wins in 2013-14.
In 1997, MSOE established its Athletic Hall of Fame, where it recognizes the best of the best among former student-athletes and other longtime athletic program supporters. MSOE’s Athletic Hall of Fame also recognizes outstanding coaches and other supporters of MSOE’s athletic program. In 2015, MSOE inducted nine former student-athletes into the Athletic Hall of Fame, bringing the total number of inductees to 67.
Get in the game for yourself and cheer on the Raiders. Visit go-raiders.com for game schedules and more information about club and intramural sports.