Among energized students, alumni and families, the topic inside the Walter Pyramid Saturday was still around the university’s mascot while cheering on the Long Beach State women’s and men’s basketball teams during the Homecoming doubleheader.
The men’s game created its own excitement throughout the crowd as they pulled out an impressive win over San Diego 74-62 behind sophomore guard Chance Hunter’s 25 points and crowd-pleasing dunks and clutch shots.
Despite the excitement, attendance numbers for the men’s basketball portion of Homecoming decreased nearly 10% from 3,888 in 2018 to 3,548 in 2019. The women’s basketball game recorded 1,953 attendees.
Through the sea of yellow and black while cheering on the Beach, alumni Mike Crevba’s nostalgic Prospector Pete t-shirt served as his stance on the mascot change.
“I’m insulted that our president would have changed the historical name of our school,” Crevba, class of 1973 said. “They named us 49ers because we were instituted in 1949.”
Growing up in Long Beach, being a 49er was always a dream for Crevba, who also has family who graduated from CSULB.
Crevba argued that everyone should have been given a voice in the vote, including CSULB alumni.
“I think that it may be split,” Crevba said. “Maybe new students will say I’m from Cal State Long Beach Sharks, but I think the 3,000 plus [alumni], those who care, they are always going to be 49ers.”
Crevba’s t-shirt received positive responses from others in the crowd with people commenting on the historical mascot and giving thumbs up in approval.
For other alumni attendees, the focus was on the dominant performance by both basketball teams.
“We are excited to see them play in the first home game of the season,” Judy Pudenz, class of 1969 said. “Those of us that are alumni love our team, win or lose.”
The debate over the mascot will not change Pudenz’ level of support for Long Beach State athletics, but as a season ticket holder and active supporter of the university, she said a new mascot may be hard to adapt to.
“I would have been great with ‘The Beach’ when I was here; it just fits this school and this campus,” Pundenz said.
The student section of the Pyramid didn’t disappoint in energy. During both games students heckled the opposing teams, making noise with plastic thundersticks and waving signs during free throw shots and madly cheering on the Beach during offensive breaks.
“Both games were fantastic all the way around, they are on another level,” first-year mechanical engineering major Seth Serrano said. “I came with my friends and we all had a blast.”