The Unique Impact of the Mighty Utah Student Section


Jack Gambassi

The MUSS cheers during the NCAA Football game versus Oregon State University at the Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Oct. 1, 2022. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Max Lepore, Sports Writer


Mary Allen is a designer at the Daily Utah Chronicle, however, she is speaking in her capacity as the head of MUSS marketing. 


The Mighty Utah Student Section was founded in 2002 and remains one of the premier student sections in all of college athletics. In 2021, the MUSS won the Taco Bell Live Más Student Section of the Year award from ESPN, giving national attention to how passionate University of Utah students are about their athletics.

Mary Allen, a sophomore at the University of Utah, is head of the MUSS board’s marketing committee. She leads the team in informing students on whatever is happening in the world of Utah athletics while also working on designs, photography and much more. She has been involved with the MUSS board since the spring semester of her freshman year, coming on in early 2022.

For Allen, Utah Athletics had been a part of her life for a long time. She remembers going to games with her dad, being “as obsessed with the MUSS as [she] was with the games themselves.” She knew right away that the MUSS was something she wanted to be a part of when she grew older, and her passion was apparent from a young age.

While Allen has certainly seen the impact the MUSS has had on her throughout her lifetime, she believes that sometimes people fail to see another impact it has: the experience and performance of Utah’s star athletes. 

“I can’t speak for our athletes, but I think it’s a pretty unique energy that comes from a bunch of people coming together in support of their team,” Allen said. “Sports in general are an emotional thing for a lot of people, especially our players. I think it’s important that they know we’ve all got their backs like they’ve got ours.”

Allen shared, in her time with the MUSS, whether as a fan or a board member, she has seen engagement and appreciation on the part of athletes. She feels that the attendance of students is a big motivator for athletes, and it improves both the atmosphere and performance.

One athlete that Allen mentioned from whom she’s seen direct appreciation for the MUSS is Marco Anthony of Utah Men’s Basketball. Allen talked about how Anthony often posts on his social media story, telling fans that the team will give them a reason to fill the Huntsman Center. For the Runnin’ Utes, the support of fans this year has seemed to work, as they have gotten off to a hot start, highlighted by their takedown of then-No. 4 Arizona.

It’s not just athletes that display their appreciation for the support of the MUSS, though.

 Allen shared a touching experience she had this men’s basketball season. She tuned in to head coach Craig Smith’s press conference after a home win. Allen shared how Smith got somewhat emotional in the interview, talking about the impact that Utah basketball and its fans can have on one another. Allen explained that various coaches have come to talk to the MUSS, telling them that they feel their teams perform better when they have students attending the events and cheering them on.

“Coaches are working around the clock and are key to the success of their teams,” Allen said. “For fans to show up and support through thick and thin means that these coaches have helped build a program that people want to be there for, I can imagine that’s a pretty special feeling.”

The football team, basketball teams, the gymnastics team and so many others are accomplishing unprecedented feats for the program. One part of this success certainly is the MUSS, as Allen said. Not only does the MUSS give students an opportunity to develop community with one another, but those involved in the athletic department have displayed how they have seen its direct impact in performance. Like Allen explained, It has to be a great feeling as a fan to truly feel you are helping the team win, and that feeling has become a reality for students at the U.

“I thought it was a cool reminder that in a lot of ways, these programs are so much bigger than just a few games, and we all have the chance to be a part of it,” Allen said. 


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