MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Jerome Tang preaches love and positivity quite often.
After just one year in Manhattan, Kansas, K-State fans seem to have plenty of love for their head men’s basketball coach. On Sunday, Tang reminded that community just how much he cares about the “K-State family.”
Tang, along with players and other staff members from the men’s basketball team, joined incoming K-State freshmen at a new student convocation in Bramlage Coliseum on Sunday. The visit might not seem out of the ordinary until you consider the timing and the message he delivered.
K-State basketball had just returned from an international trip to Abu Dhabi, Tel Aviv and other parts of Israel. The ‘Cats had over 29 hours of travel time to get home. The stop to say ‘Hello’ to some of the newest Wildcats in Bramlage came right after Tang and his team returned to Manhattan.
“We all love ya’ll so much that we wanted to be here,” Tang told students.
Additionally, Tang didn’t just tell students he loves them and cares about them, he showed it. How? The ‘Cats coach read his phone number out to the crowd of several hundred students.
“We say all the time that this place is a family. We’re not just family on game day. We’re family every day of the week,” Tang said. “And if you are ever in a situation where you need help, my cell number is…”
Tang proceed to read his number to the students in the crowd twice. He told the incoming freshmen to text him if they were ever in need.
“If you ever need anything, we are all here for you,” Tang said. “We are a family, we look out for each other, we take care of each other on game day and every other day of the week. This is the best family in America.”
Tang had one request for his “family” members, most of whom arrived on campus within the last week. He asked them to help his team do something that has never been done in K-State men’s basketball history: Sell out every single game.
“The most [K-State men’s basketball has ever sold out in a season] is 16,” Tang said. “I know you guys are going to do your part. I’m going to challenge the alumni to do their part, and if they don’t show up, we’ll just give you more seats. So we’ll pack this whole thing with students if we have to, but we’re going to sell out all season long.”
Needless to say, it was a warm welcome from Tang to the new K-State students.
“Ya’ll made the best decision of your life in choosing to come to K-State, and we’re excited to have you,” he said.
K-State returning big man Nae’Qwan Tomlin also spoke to students.
It’s far from the first time Jerome Tang has done something out of the ordinary since arriving at K-State.
After K-State beat KU last season, he grabbed a microphone and stood on the scorer’s table and yelled out, “From now on, expect to win.” When K-State’s season ended in the Elite Eight, he went into the Florida Atlantic locker room moments after the Owls beat the ‘Cats and complimented them for their toughness.
Tang has proven to be seemingly unconcerned with the norm. He’s hoping to build off a remarkable 2022-23 season which saw the Wildcats go from being picked last in the preseason Big 12 poll to a third-place league finish and a trip to NYC for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. And, he wants to do it in front of a sold-out crowd in Bramlage Coliseum. Every single game.