Utah Valley men’s basketball coach Mark Madsen, well-known in basketball circles for a long list of accomplishments and even some celebratory dance skills, isn’t the only UVU leader in the spotlight after Wednesday night.
The basketball world got a glimpse at how much UVU president Astrid Tuminez is a cheerleader for her university, during the Wolverines’ 74-68 win over Cincinnati in the NIT quarterfinals that was televised on ESPN2.
While UVU stars like Trey Woodbury, Justin Harmon and Aziz Bandaogo thrilled fans with their play on the court at the UCCU Center, Tuminez was among a sellout crowd of 5,289 fans bringing positive attention to the school.
Multiple times during the ESPN2 broadcast — the first nationally televised home game in program history — Tuminez was shown actively supporting her school, with green and silver pompoms in hand.
For those familiar with Tuminez, her display of fandom Wednesday night isn’t an anomaly — in 2020, the Deseret News chronicled how she is a wrestling “super fan,” and she’s used pompoms to celebrate a variety of happenings on campus during her tenure.
By night’s end, UVU had grabbed plenty of attention for the positive direction the Wolverines program is headed — and Tuminez even suggested a “SportsCenter” moment for one of the game’s top plays.
Madsen gave a shout out to Tuminez for her support.
“I’m so grateful for all the fans that came out to support us tonight,” Madsen told reporters, per the school’s website. “We have a phrase that we use in this program: Players make programs. We have a locker room full of great players, great people, and great students.”
Cincinnati coach Wes Miller was complimentary of the atmosphere at Wednesday’s game, as well as to what Madsen has done for the UVU program in his four years there. Miller also called for fans to support the Wolverines more consistently, according to the school’s newspaper.
“This was special tonight. It was loud. They were into it. They supported their team. I watched a lot of film coming into this game, and it isn’t like that every night,” Miller said, per the UVU Review.
“What I would say, I probably can say it because I’m not the coach here I don’t care if people don’t like it, it should be like that every night with the job that Mark has done and the way this team has played this year. This team has won at BYU, at Oregon, at New Mexico, at Colorado. They should have had it like that for senior night. I turned it on and I couldn’t believe it.”
Up next for UVU is an NIT semifinal matchup with UAB next Tuesday at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The game tips at 7:30 p.m. MDT and will be broadcast on ESPN2.