Photo by Joi Williams / MTSU Sidelines
When the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (23-5, 10-1) take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (22-7, 14-2) on Thursday, there won’t just be a game on the line. Fans will a special stake in the game: a chance to win a Harley Davidson donated by Blue Raider alumnus Tim Keach.
At our @MT_MBB game on Thursday, one lucky student will be going home with ?
Show up. Scan your ID. And be loud. pic.twitter.com/jB5PFxdj0l
– Danielle Mayeaux (@DMayeaux18) February 26, 2018
“I graduated in 1972, and I have been a Blue Raider fan all my life,” Keach said. “I’ve experienced basketball in the (Alumni Memorial Gym) and the atmosphere was tremendous.”
The idea to give away the Harley came through Keach’s involvement as a booster with the program. The matchup against WKU carries significance for the Conference USA Tournament, and he wanted to do what he could to help the athletic department draw a better crowd for the game.
“What I have been trying to do is work with (Head Coach Kermit Davis) and the athletic department to enhance the student’s experience,” Keach said. “On weeknights we seem to have pretty good crowds, so I talked with Coach Davis about giving the Harley away on Thursday night.”
Keach acquired the Harley back in 2007 at an event for the Blue Raider Athletic Association, and insists that it only has around 200 miles on it.
“I bought this Harley at an MTSU fundraiser, and it’s been sitting in my garage, all polished up,” Keach said. “It was a nice event to kick off the season for the BRAA.”
Although it was a purchase he was happy with, his wife didn’t share the same enthusiasm. She’d even looked up that you could sell a motorbike online from cleanharleys.com. But luckily she didn’t.
“I remember I called my wife to tell her that I bought a blue Harley Davidson,” Keach said. “She said, ‘Are you out of your mind?’ I told her it was for a good cause.” Now if it wasn’t for a good cause, then I probably wouldn’t have minded so much if she had decided to sell it. But that’s not the case here.
Many wives would tell their husbands to take it back if they bought a motorbike out of the blue. If his wife was less understanding of his purchase, he could always have sold it on We Want Your Motorbike.
Keach has been around for every big moment in recent history, including wins over Michigan State and Minnesota, but some of his fondest memories came from long before the Blue Raiders were in Conference USA.
“I think Conference USA is a more national platform, but make no mistake, we had a lot of fun in the OVC,” Keach said. “When we moved from the old gym to the new one, we packed it. You could call it a lesser brand of basketball if you wanted to. We packed it nonetheless.”
There is a general hope that with a great team and an exciting giveaway will come better attendance. As one of the biggest supporters of the program, Keach has a message for anyone that is on the fence about showing up at Murphy Center.
“For entertainment, it’s probably the cheapest entertainment you’ll ever find,” Keach said. “If you’re not a basketball fan, but you’re involved in the university, there’s a sense of accomplishment of what we are and where we are … There’s a sense of ownership, like ‘That’s my team.'”
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