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Micah Shrewsberry Invests In Community Relationships Before Season Begins

Ahead of the Nittany Lions’ season opener, there’s certainly excitement in the air that Penn State men’s basketball’s been missing for a long while.

Micah Shrewsberry deserves a lot of credit for the buzz. The first-year head coach made it one of his goals to create genuine excitement for this team, especially because it has been a whopping 617 days since the Nittany Lions played in front of fans in the Bryce Jordan Center.

“We want people to come and watch us play here, but we should also go see them,” Shrewsberry said. “I should go see them at their events and support them in the same way I’m asking them to support me.”

It is a unique sentiment to hear, especially coming from a Division I head coach at a Power Five school. One would think that someone who needs to game plan, recruit, develop a team, run practice, and meet with boosters and donors wouldn’t have a lot of time to go out and bond with the community, but that’s exactly what Shrewsberry has done.

So far, he’s popped up at the HUB and the Lion Shrine to encourage students to buy season tickets and to take photos with fans. He recently hosted the “Shrews Slamma Jamma” in East Halls, which brought the team together to catch up with freshmen and strengthen the support amongst the new Penn Staters. He even went to watch a club basketball game without telling anyone.

All of these instances show how much community relationships mean to Shrewsberry. He doesn’t want to be liked by only his team. Instead, he hopes to be a part of the State College community. It feels like he truly cares about the fans and what they think, and that has paid off tremendously.

Penn State sold nearly 2,800 student season tickets, which is already the most sold in program history. There’s a direct correlation between the work Shrewsberry put in and the number of people who bought a season ticket.

“We shouldn’t do this for selfish reasons. We should do it for the right reasons,” Shrewsberry said. “You build in that way. I don’t want students at Penn State to cheer for the basketball team. I want them to cheer for their friends. They are out there doing the same things I am.”

In fact, Shrewsberry’s players have shown eagerness to go out into the community and make those connections, too. Since they hadn’t played in front of fans for a long time, they were ready to have that social interaction.

“It’s been fun, honestly,” Sam Sessoms said. “Last year was my first year here, and I would go to East all the time. I met a lot of people there, and still hang out with a few of them today.”

Myles Dread agreed, noting how important it is to be a part of the community.

“You always want to reach out to the community because sometimes, as student-athletes, we get trapped in a bubble,” Dread said. “Where the BJC is, it’s not on campus like other athletic buildings are, so we need to be involved in the community.”

The connection that the team built with the fans could play a big role throughout the season. If this team gets hot, fans in the stands will be huge for this team’s success. All that hard work may pay off for Shrewsberry and Co. if they can get results on the court.

Penn State’s season begins at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 10, with a home matchup against Youngstown State.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey is a senior from Annapolis, Maryland, majoring in secondary education and minoring in social justice in education. When he is not writing for the blog, he enjoys rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, supporting Penn State basketball and softball, dreaming of all of the ways he would win the TV show "Survivor", and yes mom, actually doing school work. If you would like to talk about sports or "Survivor", the best way to reach out is on Twitter @theowenabbey. All other compliments may be sent to [email protected]

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