Taggart pushes for Greek support

Greek letters displayed on colorful flags, T-shirts and hats could be seen all over Western’s campus at 2009 football tailgates.

But many of those Greeks never made it inside Houchens-Smith Stadium to watch the Toppers play, prompting Head Coach Willie Taggart to call for support from Greek life at football games next season.

“I need you all to come help us,” Taggart told Western’s Phi Mu chapter.

In speaking to 10 Greek organizations Sunday night, Taggart introduced an attendance incentive for Western’s game against Sun Belt Conference rival Middle Tennessee State. Taggart said the fraternity or sorority with the greatest overall attendance for the MTSU game will win an award.

Phi Mu president Christine Gries said a competition like that would also be a recruiting benefit for the Greek organization that won the event.

“As long as all Greek organizations are on board, it has potential to become as big as Greek Week or Homecoming,” Gries said.

Taggart also talked about borrowing an idea from Stanford, where he spent the past three years as an assistant. He said the students there are allowed in the stadium 45 minutes before kickoff, at which point they all rush the bleachers “like crazed dogs” to get to the best seats. Taggart said he’d like Western students to do something similar.

Lambda Chi Alpha president Americo Capodagli said Taggart made a good impression on his fraternity brothers.

“(Former coach) David Elson seemed to ignore us,” Capidagli said. “But Taggart came in cracking jokes, then talked about starting some traditions to make Western football how it used to be.”

Greeks who Taggart spoke to were given questionnaires where they could bring up their own suggestions on how to support Western football. Gries said recognition for attendance would be a big draw for sorority and fraternity members.

“If there was some way to take attendance at the game of all the Greeks, then at halftime the Greek organization with the most members there could be announced … It would be a huge incentive for Greeks,” Gries said.

Brad Stephens

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