ERIC CHAVEZ ‘19 | STAFF WRITER • Rivalries are known to fuel sports. In a college atmosphere, especially at a small school like Wabash, having a rival school can give a team an advantage on things such as recruiting. Head basketball coach Kyle Brumett says that the rivalry between Wabash College and DePauw University gives his team a leg up even on schools that can offer scholarships because those schools can’t give players a rivalry game like Wabash can.
While it seems to help the sports teams even before the games
start, rivalries can also fuel the fans. Here at Wabash, the rivalry against DePauw is no different. There is a significant difference in the number of people that attend
a Wabash vs. DePauw sporting event than in the number of people that attend a Wabash vs. anyone else sporting event. Easy visual examples are at basketball games and soccer matches. There are simply more butts in the seats when Wabash plays DePauw.
This simple observation begs the question whether or not this is a problem. Of course, it is unreasonable to expect every student to attend every sporting event but shouldn’t the student body as a whole want to beat everyone and not just DePauw?
“There are no real negatives to the rivalry. Wabash vs. DePauw has a big time rivalry feel to it, the games are advertised well, and the students, faculty, and alumni support is great,” Brumett said. These are all positives, but obviously there is a bigger picture.
“There are steps to winning a championship,” he said. “One of those steps is beating DePauw twice, and the other is getting past them, and everyone else, in the conference tournament, and getting to the NCAA tournament.” Brumett stresses the importance
of beating DePauw but wants to remind everyone that it is only part of the plan to win a championship.
Similarly, head soccer coach, Chris Keller, stresses the importance of winning championships over beating DePauw. “I don’t remember what year, but the team was 0-13 leading up to the DePauw game, they won the DePauw game, and they thought it was a really successful year,” Keller said. “That kind of sums up that game. It’s a big rivalry.
“Most recently, in the past 3-4 years it’s been an important game when it comes to making the conference tournament… that just added to the fire knowing that in our conference we are always in the mix with those guys.” Keller, like Brumett, sees beating
DePauw as a necessity when it comes to the bigger picture of winning championships. Similarly to Brumett, Keller doesn’t see much negative in the rivalry. “We always get the most fans to come out to those games,” Keller said. “It’s quite an atmosphere, and you don’t understand it till you experience it.”
Both coaches have expressed their appreciation to the fans who frequently attend multiple game and encourage others to follow in their footsteps. Brumett said that his message to the college as a whole is that, “It will be so much fun when we win the big games that aren’t DePauw.” This may be true, but for the college as a whole to realize that, there will have to be fans in the seats for those other games.