SCUB's avid supporters of ETSU sports

By Matt Hill
   JOHNSON CITY- Look out Cameron Crazies.
   Some students at East Tennessee State University have followed in Duke basketball fans' footsteps, and are going the extra mile for the school they love.
   An organization at ETSU has an agenda for spreading Buccaneer pride. That group is known as the SCUB's.
   If you've been to an ETSU football or basketball game in the last couple of years, you probably know who the SCUB's are. A lot of them like to paint their faces and give tremendous support to the ETSU athletic squads.
   It all started three years ago with Matt Smelcer, who is now the president of what has become a thriving organization.
   "It was me, my brother, two roommates and a neighbor," Smelcer said. "We painted up and went to our first home game, and we spelled ETSU with an exclamation point. Our backs spelled Bucs, but it came out backwards. We started calling ourselves SCUB's. We did this at all the football and basketball games, and it started to take off. We tried to form this as an official student organization."
   In the fall of 2001, the SCUB's, which stands for Students Contributing Unmatched Bucs Spirit, became an official organization. With leadership from adviser Steve Honaker, the SCUB's have now become prominent figures at ETSU athletic events.
   After becoming an official organization, the SCUB's all traveled to Pennsylvania for the ETSU-Pittsburgh football game. They had 15 people go on that trip, and it continued to grow.
   One coach at ETSU that took notice of the SCUB's was men's basketball head coach Ed DeChellis.
   "Coach DeChellis had shirts made up for us," Smelcer said. "That was pretty neat."
   Not every member paints up, and that's not the purpose of the SCUB's.
   The purpose is to provide support for ETSU athletics.
   "We're there for the team," Smelcer said. "At N.C. State, our seats were in the top row. People were wondering where the SCUB's were. The teams want us there."
   The SCUB's have ventured into other sports besides football and basketball. Recently, the SCUB's were cheering on the Bucs at a soccer match against arch-rival Appalachian State.
   The SCUB's received a lot of rave reviews.
   "That's the first time the girls ever beat Appalachian State," Smelcer said. "The soccer coach thanked us for being there. It meant a lot to the team."
   The SCUB's are starting to be accepted more by the casual fan. Some fans used to complain about the SCUB's standing in the isle, so they had to move to the visitors side for football games.
   But this year, the SCUB's are now on the home side due to an outpouring of support.
   SCUB's membership is at an all-time high, something that Smelcer could only dream of happening.
   "Our main goal is to get people to the games," Smelcer said. "It never crossed my mind that this would get really, really big."
   Until the SCUB's came along, people thought of Jeff McCorkle, or the "Superfan" as he is called, as ETSU's No. 1 supporter.
   "Superfan" has been attending games at ETSU for almost a decade, but now he has company.
   "I didn't know much about him," Smelcer said. "At basketball, soccer and volleyball, he's always there. We expect him to be there. He will play off us. But I've never talked to him."
   Smelcer admitted he's excited about basketball season, but he still wants to give support to a football team that is struggling right now. He feels that the team needs the SCUB's more than ever.
   Smelcer, a former football and soccer player at Sullivan Central, knows from experience.
   "My senior year at Sullivan Central we won one football game," Smelcer said. "Through my history I've never been on the best team. It doesn't matter. It would mean a lot to see them win. We have the talent to win. To me it's almost disappointing."
   But rest assured, the SCUB's will be in full force win or lose.