It was love at first sight.
At the finale of the Brock Athletics Awards night March 25, when Athletics Director Robert Hilson screened a video of the new Badgers team bus, a spontaneous roar swept through the room packed with 700 athletes, coaches and supporters.
When the crowd emerged minutes later, they found the gleaming, floodlit white motorcoach organizers had parked outside the banquet hall while the awards ceremony was going on inside.
More yips of approval were heard as beaming young athletes in their formal wear braved the cold spring night and mugged for photos in front of the bus.
Then social media lit up as tweets and Facebook posts rang out with pride and delight.
Hashtags like #badgerbus and #badgerpride and #beauty and #pumped.
Posts like this one from the mens basketball team: “Hello gorgeous. @BrockBadgers new ride. #BrockBus. We ride in style. Walking with a little more pride.”
As Brock celebrates its 50th birthday this year, the new team bus is an instant hit, a striking new look that will hit the highways as it carries Badgers teams to more than 130 away games each season.
The bus, which Brock rents from transportation provider Pacific Western, is sporting a bold vinyl skin that leaves no doubt the Badgers are coming through.
The idea was hatched by Brock’s Athletics Department and Pacific Western, and designed by University Marketing and Communications.
Hilson said the University has good reason to show some pride when it comes to athletics.
“We have great student athletes, we have great coaches and we work hard,” said Hilson. “Brock teams have won 100 provincial and national titles, and in the past decade alone we’ve won 20 national championships. That’s second among all Ontario universities.”
In fact, when Brock’s men’s and women’s wrestling teams both recently won national crowns, the bus design had to be quickly updated to read “100 championships and counting”.
Even when athletes aren’t on the bus, it will be parading Brock’s name up and down the Ontario-Quebec corridor, as Pacific Western uses it to carry sports groups, educational clients or sightseeing tours to Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City or for pickups at Toronto’s Pearson Airport.