Can die-hard Iowa fans turn into Lopes? Yes!

March 17, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

By Mike Kilen
GCU News Bureau

GCU students Lanna Thompson (right) and husband Kyle live in Iowa but will join daughter Jocelyn in wearing GCU T-shirts and cheering for the Lopes during Saturday’s basketball game against Iowa.

Grand Canyon University students hail from many states – including Iowa, GCU’s first-round opponent in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

So when Associate Professor Thomas Dyer posted to his online class in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences about the Lopes making the tournament for the first time to help them feel connected to the excitement, he got an interesting response.

Lanna Thompson, an online undergraduate student studying English with an Emphasis in Professional Writing, wrote that she was intimately familiar with GCU’s opponent.

Her father-in-law, Donald Thompson, was known statewide for his leadership of the Southeast Iowa I-Club that supports Iowa athletics and once was a UI scholarship football player. When he died unexpectedly of a stroke last year, Iowa sports announcer Gary Dolphin and UI football coach Kirk Ferentz eulogized him on their weekly radio show.

“We bleed black and gold,” Thompson said, who lives in Ottumwa, Iowa.

But not only is Thompson a GCU student, so is husband Kyle, a business administration doctoral learner.

It became a conundrum: Which team should they cheer for in Saturday’s game?

“We were really conflicted,” said Thompson. “We thought about it for a long time and …”

Drum roll.

“We will cheer for GCU, even though we are die-hard Hawkeye fans.”

They’ve got tailgate food planned and even ordered three GCU WAC champions T-shirts for Lanna, Kyle and 14-year-old daughter Jocelyn to wear.

“It’s fun to be that far away from school and have a common ground,” Lanna Thompson said.

Her in-laws were supportive – or at least just said “oh” — but one issue remained. She told Dyer that she intimately knew the “Let’s go, Hawks” cheer but didn’t know GCU’s. He sent along a video to her showing the students cheering, “Lopes Up!” and “Let’s go, Lopes.”

“We will be practicing that,” she said.

Grand Canyon University senior writer Mike Kilen can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-6764.

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