Hope basketball fans embraced the college's new DeVos Fieldhouse by attending games this past season in record numbers. So much so that Hope has again topped all NCAA Division III men's basketball teams in average home attendance.
Leading the nation in home attendance is nothing new to Hope. This marks the fourth straight year that the Dutchmen have been on top. The previous three were at the Holland Civic Center where Hope played its home games for 52 years before moving to DeVos.
This is the eighth time in school history that Hope has been the men's basketball attendance leader. This past season's average of 2,928 fans per game over 18 dates topped runnerup Illinois Wesleyan by nearly 500 fans per game. IWU averaged 2,470 fans per home date while MIAA rival Calvin ranked third with an average of 2,089 (14 dates).
Other years when Hope led the nation in attendance were 1984, 1991, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2005.
Hope and Calvin helped the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) to top all Division III conferences in home attendance for the 15th consecutive year with an average of 1,234 fans per game.
Attendance figures for Division III women's basketball teams will be announced in June. The national champion Flying Dutch averaged 1,329 fans over 14 dates. Heading into the 2005-06 season the best average season home attendance in Division III women's basketball history was 1,294 by UW-Eau Claire in 2002-03.
Hope's basketball teams went undefeated during their inuaugural year at DeVos, the Flying Dutchmen going 18-0 and the Flying Dutch 14-0.
2005-06 Attendance Leaders (Top 10 by average): 1. Hope, 18 dates-2,928 average; 2. Illinois Wesleyan, 10-2,470; 3. Calvin, 14-2,089; 4. Wooster, Ohio, 16-1,666; 5. Lincoln, Pa., 10-1,390; 6. UW-Stevens Point, 11-1,377; 7. Otterbein, Ohio, 11-1,359; 8. Lawrence, Wisc., 13-1,297; 9. Maryville, Tenn., 11-1,294; 10. Willamette, Ore., 8-1,187.
NCAA III Men's Basketball All-time Attendance Champions: 1977, Scranton; 1978, Calvin; 1979, Savannah State; 1980, Savannah State; 1981, Potsdam State; 1982, Wisconsin-Stevens Point; 1983, Augustana (IL); 1984, Hope; 1985,
Wisconsin-Stevens Point; 1986, Calvin; 1987, Concordia-Moorhead; 1988, Calvin;
1989, Calvin; 1990, Calvin; 1991, Hope; 1992, Calvin; 1993, Calvin; 1994,
Calvin; 1995, Calvin; 1996, Hope; 1997, Calvin; 1998, Illinois Wesleyan; 1999,
Hope; 2000, Calvin; 2001, Calvin; 2002, Calvin; 2003, Hope; 2004, Hope; 2005,
Hope; 2006, Hope.