by Alan Babbitt
DeVos Fieldhouse continues to be the most popular place to watch NCAA Division III basketball.
Hope College led the nation in average home attendance for men's and women's basketball during the 2019-20 season. It is the 12th consecutive time the Flying Dutchmen and Flying Dutch both have accomplished the feat.
Photos, from left, Arika Tolkert and Evan Thomas
Last season, the Flying Dutchmen averaged 2,214 fans over 12 home games at DeVos Fieldhouse, while the Flying Dutch drew 1,162 fans to DeVos Fieldhouse over 15 home games.
Head coach Greg Mitchell's Flying Dutchmen were the only Division III team to draw a crowd larger than 2,000 fans. The national average was 327.
Hope recorded a Division III-high of 3,350 fans to the February 8 game against Calvin University. The Flying Dutchmen also the fourth-highest attended game with a crowd of 2,628 on January 25 against Alma College.
Head coach Brian Morehouse's Flying Dutch were the only Division III team to average at least 1,000 fans. The national average was 198.
Hope hosted the four largest games in the nation last season: February 22 vs. Trine (2,079), March 7 vs. Illinois Wesleyan (2,007), March 6 vs. Grove City (1,915), and February 29 vs. Trine (1,804).
Hope finished the season with a 29-0 record and ranked No. 1 in Division III. The Flying Dutch were set to host the sectional round of the NCAA Tournament when the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is the 22nd 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 2018-19, 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 14th time overall. They joined national attendance-leading Hope teams from 2018-19, 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.