Since his hiring back in 2008, Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Derek Kellogg has geared a lot of his energy towards students and general UMass basketball fans.
This Saturday, Kellogg will make another attempt to transform the UMass basketball culture in the form of the first annual “Bash at Southwest Beach.”
The event will take place from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday. at the horseshoe in the Southwest Residential Area. All students and fans are invited to attend.
“I think the students are looking for some things to do on the weekends, and me being a former student and player here, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to give them one more thing,” said Kellogg.
Some of the features, according to a press release, include a dance party hosted by DJ Killa Instinkt, t-shirt giveaways, tailgating, free Domino’s pizza and one of the newest items on campus – Baby Berk, a UMass Dining food truck.
The event also features a raffle for an iPad and a chance to partake in the Coca-Cola Shootout.
The winner of the Coca-Cola shootout – a shooting competition that will span four UMass events – will receive two tickets to the Paradise Islands in the Bahamas, the site of the Battle 4 Atlantis, a tournament the UMass basketball team will participate in from Nov. 24 to 26.
“It’s kind of like an old school midnight madness, but just pushed back a day,” said Kellogg of the festivities. “I think it will be a fun day to come out and enjoy the weather and spend time with your fellow students.”
Ultimately, Kellogg hopes that the “Bash at Southwest Beach” will provide his players with the opportunity to connect with the UMass faithful.
“I’m looking for them to become more inundated with the school and with the regular students,” said Kellogg.
This season, the Kellogg has made an attempt to stress the importance of a strong relationship between the student body and his players.
“I think it’s imperative,” said Kellogg. “The teams that are what you’d call your perennial national powers, they all have a huge student following.”
Legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski helped build a stellar fan-player relationship at Duke University and his program thrives off of the brand they’ve created, Kellogg noted.
“When you think of a team like Duke, you really think of [its] Cameron Crazies, and [its] student population,” said Kellogg.
Replicating the atmosphere at Cameron Indoor Stadium overnight, Kellogg said, is an unrealistic goal, but he said he hopes that the “Bash at Southwest Beach” generates excitement over the team this year among its fan base.
With any luck, the event will be a mainstay in the activities leading up to the regular season in future years, Kellogg said.
“I’m hoping it becomes a yearly event where when kids come in as freshmen or sophomores, they’re looking forward to this day and maybe we can make it a yearly occasion,” said Kellogg.
“It’s really just a day to have some fun,” he added.
Jackson Alexander can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.