‘Hudson’s Hillraisers’ aim to amp up Diddle Arena atmosphere


Jacob Latimer

A loud and engaged crowd can have a huge effect on a volleyball team’s success on the court. Hudson’s Hillraisers are hoping to construct a fan section to cheer WKU Volleyball to victory.

Jake Moore, Sports Editor

WKU Volleyball head coach Travis Hudson often mentions the appreciation he has for the crowds that pack Diddle Arena for his program’s matches.

 To enhance this rowdy home game atmosphere, a student organization called “Hudson’s Hillraisers” aims to create a dedicated and fanatical student section to cheer on the Hilltoppers.

“We’re trying to find some members that want to create that FOMO effect,” Willie Hogan, the advisor for the organization, said. “If you’re not sitting in this area and if you’re not chanting, you’re missing something.”

This is not the first time the Hillraisers have filled WKU’s bleachers. A previous incarnation of the group crowded into home games throughout the early 2010’s, but attendance petered out as the decade went on. This is strange, as Hudson’s squad has only gotten better in recent years. 

“The hardest thing is getting the unity of the students,” Hogan said. “Attendance is not down, we average 190-200 students per game. For some reason they want to sit spread out, and for this group to be successful you’ve got to have that unity.”

The goal of the revived Hillraisers is to incentivize students to cheer for the red and white as one unified body.

“The goal is to just have a student section that is unified and cares for the volleyball team,” Olivia Brown, a sophomore geology major and member of the Hillraisers, said. “There’s a lot of times where the student sections are very spread out. We want one section for all the students so we can be the loudest fanbase in C-USA, just to be able to cheer [the team] on and give them more confidence on the court.”

Hudson knows very well just how impactful a loud and faithful student section can be for his volleyball team, a program that just claimed its seventh east division championship in eight years on Friday night.

“Students are the driving force behind the energy of any home crowd,” Hudson said when reached for comment about the group. “Having a student group that is committed to supporting our program is a vital component to having a nationally competitive program. It affects both opponents that enter Diddle Arena as well as impacts recruits when they come to campus.”

For Emaree Gooch, a freshman journalism major, her involvement with the Hillraisers has led to a closer bond between her and her younger sibling.

“My little sister had played volleyball so I knew bits and pieces of it, it seemed really interesting,” Gooch said. “…It’s something good for me to learn and tell her about, she’s already thinking of coming here so it’s bringing more people around who are off campus.”

The Hillraisers also hope to give WKU Volleyball some much-deserved love and recognition for the successes the program has piled up over the last few seasons.

“It’s an experience that the volleyball players and the coaches get to enjoy because we’re praising them,” Gooch said. “The volleyball team isn’t praised enough for what they do.”

The Hillraisers are also keeping safety and comfort in mind when developing their plans for a dedicated student section. Their hope is to find a spot that is accessible for all.

“We’re trying to find a way to get the student section in a place where students can see, and can also be seen by the players,” Gooch said. “We understand that when watching a match, sight is very important, so we’re trying to work with both sides to try and find a good place to encourage students to sit.”

When you enter Diddle Arena for a home volleyball match next season, look for the most raucous set of seats in the building. There you’ll find the Hillraisers, the loudest volleyball fans on campus.

Sports Editor Jake Moore can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Charles_JMoore.