NASHVILLE --- In his second year at the helm of the Tennessee State men's basketball program, Head Coach Brian "Penny" Collins made significant headway in his journey to make the Tigers Nashville's team. The wins doubled and the crowds increased by 342 percent, placing Big Blue at the top of the NCAA's Largest Division I Average Attendance Increase from Previous Year list, according to data released by the NCAA this month.
After averaging just 945 fans in the stands for the 2018-19 season, Collins worked with the student leaders and the Nashville community to make Gentry Center the place to be on Thursday and Saturday evenings. The Tigers opened the season with more than 4,000 fans at each of the first three home games, and averaged 3,243 fans over all 14 home games with The Battle of Jefferson Street against Fisk drawing the highest attendance for the year, 5,994.
Tennessee State tied its record for home-game wins with 11, won its first OVC Tournament game in seven years and was set to host a post-season tournament game for the second time in the Gentry Center.
The Tigers hope to continue their run for success aiming for another run at the OVC Championship title this 2020-21 season and to fill the largest basketball arena in the OVC to capacity.
TOP 10 NCAA AVERAGE ATTENDANCE INCREASES FROM 2018-19 TO 2019-20
1. Tennessee State
4. West Virginia
8. Texas Tech
9. Seton Hall
10. Utah State