Alum aiming to match crowdstorming fine for Hometown Heroes


Photo by Austin Anderson

A Marquette fan sits on someone’s shoulders during the crowd storming following the Marquette victory.

Will Knight, a 2014 graduate of Marquette, couldn’t stop pacing after Marquette’s upset of No. 1 Villanova. He decided not to make the drive up from his home in Chicago for the game because he expected a blowout, but he still watched it on TV. His group chat with 20 other Marquette alumni blew up as the Golden Eagles made their comeback.

“I was sweating,” Knight said. “I was shaking for about a half an hour after the game.”

Marquette stopped Jalen Brunson on a drive to win the game 74-72, and the student section stormed the court. That’s when Knight started joking with the rest of the group chat about the idea of creating a GoFundMe page to match the $5,000 fine from the BIG EAST for Marquette’s violation of the conference’s policy against crowd storming.

Then Knight’s idea became a reality, as he set up a GoFundMe page for the first time.

“I knew when I came here it was a very special fan base and very supportive fan base,” athletic director Bill Scholl said. “I think that was a very tangible example of it.”

The money from the fine and from the crowdfunding project will go to Camp Hometown Heroes, as Marquette was able to give the money to a charity of their choice, per NCAA policy. Camp Hometown Heroes is a non-profit organization that serves military members’ children and siblings between the ages of 7 and 17. Head coach Steve Wojciechowski has worked with the charity quite frequently, including supporting Camp Hometown Heroes through ESPN’s Infiniti Coaches Challenge.

“It takes us by surprise,” said Deb Paschke, director of outreach of Camp Hometown Heroes. “It was enough that Coach Wojo and the entire athletic department wanted to get behind us with the fine, but when Will stepped up, it (was) just amazing.”

The GoFundMe has raised about $1,400 toward its goal, with over 40 people donating to the cause.

“I didn’t think I was going to get anywhere close to that,” Knight said. “Especially with the first few days, I was at $300 for a while.”

Knight’s work will double the amount of children that can go to camp for free. It costs $1,000 to send a child from Wisconsin and $1,500 to send someone who needs to fly in. The charity covers the costs for the kids to come to camp.

“(We’re) grateful to everybody who steps up for us, and the enthusiasm is amazing,” Paschke said. “They know what we’re about.”

For Knight, it’s been a way to live up to the Marquette name. He’s betting others feel the same way he does.

“I thought $5,000 isn’t that much money,” Knight said. “I’m sure we can raise $5,000 between all the Marquette alumni. … Why not match it and live up to all the Jesuit education, Jesuit values we were taught at Marquette?”