by Alan Babbitt
It is now a decade-long plus tradition — the Hope College men's and women's basketball teams drawing the most fans in NCAA Division III.
The Flying Dutchmen and Flying Dutch both led the nation in average home attendance during the 2018-19 season. It is the 11th consecutive season they have accomplished the feat.
Coach Greg Mitchell's Flying Dutchmen averaged 2,207 fans over 13 games at DeVos Fieldhouse during the 2018-19 season, while coach Brian Morehouse's Flying Dutch drew 954 fans over 13 home games.
The Flying Dutchmen drew 727 more fans to home games than second-place College of Wooster (Ohio).
Hope's men's basketball team posted four of the 10 highest-attended games in Division III last season, including the largest crowd of 3,575 for the 200th Hope-Calvin Rivalry game on February 2.
The January 9 Rivalry game at Calvin was the second-biggest crowd of the season at 3,287.
The Flying Dutch averaged 101 more fans than second-place Thomas More University (Kentucky).
Hope recorded two of the highest eight attended games last season, including the most attended regular-season game of 1,595 on February 6 against Calvin College.
It is the 21st time the Flying Dutchmen have topped the nation in men's basketball attendance.
Hope also led Division III in home men's basketball attendance in 2017-18, 2016-17, 2015-16, 2014-15, 2013-14, 2012-13, 2011-12, 2010-11, 2009-10, 2008-09, 2007-08, 2006-07, 2005-06, 2004-05, 2003-04, 2002-03, 1998-99, 1995-96, 1990-91 and 1983-84.
The Flying Dutch finished No. 1 in attendance for the 13th time overall.
They joined national attendance-leading Hope teams from 2017-18, 2016-17, 2015-16, 2014-15, 2013-14, 2012-13, 2011-12, 2010-11, 2009-10, 2008-09, 2005-06 and 1989-90.