With a renewed emphasis on support for Virginia Tech's men's and women's basketball, the Student Government Association at Virginia Tech has created innovative new aspects to the Hokies on Fire campaign.

They include designated games to wear Hokies on Fire T-shirts, and the introduction of 15 Castle Guard Generals to excite the crowd and unite cheers in the arena. Hokies on Fire was started in 2007 to increase the spirit, commitment, and pride of Hokie fans in Cassell Coliseum.

This fall, 15 students were chosen from hundreds that auditioned to be Cassell Guard Generals for the entire 2009-10 men’s and women’s basketball season. The generals will line the front of the student section of the coliseum, dressed in uniforms they created, and lead the crowd in a supportive and enthusiastic response to the action on the floor.

“We chose the 15 craziest students we could find to kick off this new initiative,” said Hokies on Fire director, Abby Boggs of Roanoke, Va., a senior majoring in hospitality and tourism management in the Pamplin College of Business. Hokies on Fire worked closely with the Athletics Department and coaches Seth Greenberg and Beth Dunkenberger to establish the Cassell Guard Generals. The generals will be introduced in their own video on the big screen at the beginning of each home game. They will run out with the HokieBird to get the crowd ready for the team’s entrance.

Hokies will be able to show their enthusiasm by wearing their Hokies on Fire T-shirts at five designated basketball games.

The Maroon Monsoon games are

  • Men’s: Sunday, Dec. 6 at 3:30 p.m. versus Georgia
  • Women’s: Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. versus Michigan

The Blackout games are

  • Men’s: Saturday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. vs. University of Virginia
  • Women’s: Sunday, Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. vs. Boston College

Hokies on Fire has also planned a Go GREENBerg sustainability awareness game

  • Men’s: Saturday, Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. versus Clemson

The Maroon Monsoon T-shirt slogan is “Enjoy the Calm before the Storm” and the Blackout game slogan is “Lights Out, Game On.” The shirts are sold together, two for $10. In honor of the basketball teams’ home court, Cassell Coliseum, Cassell Guard shirts are also sold for $6 each. The Hokies on Fire shirts are sold exclusively through the University Bookstore, which is a non-profit corporation that returns all profits to Virginia Tech for student-related scholarships and improvements.

Hokies on Fire shirts are available at the University Bookstore on Kent Street across from the library, Volume Two Bookstore located on University City Boulevard, the Dietrick General Store, the stadium stores, and on the University Bookstore website.

Boggs and Hokies on Fire assistant director, Kaitlyn Tiplady of Ashburn, Va., a sophomore majoring in psychology in the College of Science and human development in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, have made it their mission to redefine support of the basketball program at Virginia Tech, and have placed special emphasis on turning out crowds for the increasingly popular women’s games.

“We want to encourage fans to uphold Hokies Respect while leaving behind a legacy that Hokies will enjoy for years to come,” said Tiplady. “We want everyone to know the name Hokies on Fire by the end of the season.”

The Cassell Guard Generals are

  • Mark Potter of Woodbridge, Va., a junior majoring in Industrial and systems engineering in the College of Engineering;
  • Alexis Pierson of Gainesville, Va., a freshman majoring in architecture in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies;
  • Dane Berthelsen of Clifton, Va., a junior majoring in economics in the Pamplin College of Business;
  • Kelly Shafer of Williamsburg, Va., a freshman majoring in education and social change in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
  • Clint Stevenson of Camden, S.C., a senior majoring in communications in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
  • Phillip Zellner of Hampton, Va., a junior majoring in electrical engineering in the College of Engineering;
  • Colleen Caprio of North Caldwell, N.J., a freshman majoring in communications in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
  • Bradley de Wet of Richmond, Va., and a senior majoring in communications in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
  • Steven Schamback of Glade Spring, Va.,a sophomore majoring in history in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
  • Jake Carter of Gate City, Va., a sophomore majoring in wildlife science in the College of Natural Resources;
  • Rachel Fiske of Mechanicsville, Md., a sophomore majoring in biological sciences in the College of Science;
  • Ryan Watson of Virginia Beach, Va., a junior majoring in building construction in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies;
  • Dean Stevenson of Manassas, Va., a senior majoring in mathematics in the College of Science;
  • Greg Toohey of North Potomac, Md., a sophomore majoring in civil engineering in the College of Engineering; and
  • Tiffany Sykes of Trenton, N.J.,a freshmen majoring in chemistry in the College of Science.

Written by Dove Powers, a senior from Haysi, Va., an English major in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.