The end of Craig Esherick’s tenure as men’s basketball coach was not the only popular idea to emerge from Syracuse’s crushing last-minute defeat of Georgetown last season.

Amid the student seats, somewhere at the intersection of sports, studies and style, Hoya Bands were born.

According to Tamiz Ahmed (SFS ’07), co-founder of Hoya Bands, 1,500 of the blue and gray silicone-rubber wristbands have already been sold to students, faculty and alumni. He expects the initial order of 5,000 Hoya Bands, modeled after Lance Armstrong’s yellow “LIVESTRONG” bands, to arrive before the end of October.

Ahmed and co-founder Lana Donahue (MSB ’07), both self-described Georgetown basketball fanatics, left the pivotal Syracuse game feeling that something may have been wrong, not only with the team, but also with the student spectators – or rather, the lack thereof. School spirit was notably absent.

“I think students could have made a real difference in that game,” Donahue said.

The idea incubated over the summer as Armstrong’s bands exploded onto the sports-fashion scene, and when they arrived on campus in August, Ahmed and Donahue decided to pursue the idea. They searched online for a producer, eventually finding one in China, pooled their savings to place the initial order and set up a table in Red Square.

From the onset, they had two goals in mind.

First, the wristbands would help raise school spirit because people would be able to point out other fans without actually knowing them. They would encourage similarly motivated Hoya sports enthusiasts to organize.

Second, all profits from the sales would be donated to the Athletic Department to fund teams and projects that are in need.

“Just because you have a colored wristband doesn’t mean you’re going to go to a basketball game,” Ahmed said. “But it might bring people together over sports and bring that spirit [from the 1980s] back to Georgetown.”

He also expressed hope that some of the profits would be directed toward under-funded projects such as the construction of a track on campus. Students are generally unaware of Georgetown’s extremely competitive and nationally ranked cross country and track and field programs, Donahue said, because even their home races are far from campus.

Profits will be donated unconditionally to the Hoyas Unlimited General Fund. Head coaches submit requests to the Board of Directors of Hoyas Unlimited, which distributes funds every February.

“The Board, along with the Director of Athletics, makes the decisions [on how to allocate money] based on how much the team will benefit from this allocation and the lifespan of the purchase,” said Jennifer Montgomery, assistant director of athletic development. “Examples of things purchased in the past are equipment for the weight room that benefits all teams or machines for the training room for athlete rehabilitation.”

Neither of the founders was particularly worried by the possibility of the wristband phenomenon dying out quickly.

“I know this is a trend, and trends don’t last very long,” Ahmed said. “But this is about more than just a wristband. It’s about school spirit and it’s about who we are and where we come from.”

Chloe Asselin (COL ’07), who plays lacrosse, said that she bought a Hoya Band because she wanted to support her fellow athletes.

“Georgetown isn’t getting money from its alumni, and it has tons of programs that need funding,” Kathryn Cogswell (COL ’07) said as she laid out her several reasons for purchasing a Hoya Band.

“I love my LIVESTRONG bracelet. It never leaves my wrist,” she said. “I think this spin is just as cool.”

Different alumni groups have also expressed interest in the idea, Donahue said.

Ahmed and Donahue have also begun to spread the idea beyond the Hilltop. Ahmed’s older brother Zareef has already opened a franchise at Harvard University which sells Crimson Bands.

They expect to begin manufacturing wristbands for several other schools as Thanksgiving approaches, potentially including the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, Notre Dame, Princeton University and the University of Miami.

Another release date is planned for the spring to market the bands during the baseball and lacrosse seasons, but no schools have been selected for that yet.

Neither Ahmed nor Donahue has grandiose illusions that students with Hoya Bands will suddenly take Georgetown basketball to the NCAA finals or make make cross country a profitable spectator sport. Those hurdles they leave to the coaches and athletes.

Their goals are more concrete. “We love Georgetown,” Donahue said. “We need more of that.”

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