HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi's men's basketball coach is very thankful to the fan base, and he showed that on Monday. Donnie Tyndall purchased 1,000 student tickets for his team's National Invitational Tournament home opener on Wednesday night.
The first thousand students to show up at the student gate of Reed Green Coliseum get to watch Southern Miss take on Charleston Southern University for free. The students after that must pay $5.
"I just think it's a reward," said the first-year head coach, "There's not much I can do, other than thank our community, our campus community, and our students for the support they've given us this season.
"I thought this was a way that I would be able to pay our students back."
Reed Green proved to be one of the hardest home-court venues in the country. The Golden Eagles lost on their home floor only once- to eventual regular season and conference tournament champion Memphis.
Tyndall will hope to get the same spirit-and noise- when the NIT begins. As the number one seed in the NIT, Southern Miss maintains home-court advantage until the final four. The semi-final and championship games will be played in Madison Square Garden in New York City.
It all starts on Wednesday night at 8:15 pm.
"I certainly hope well over a thousand plus (attend on Wednesday), but at least the first thousand won't have to buy their ticket. It's just my way of saying thank you."