The Rise of the Red Army

Photo courtesy of UNO Communications
The Maverick Maniacs wait in anticipation of a goal during a hockey game at Baxter Arena.

Justin Kies

UNO athletes and teams are known for their successes on and off the court—but one driving force behind their teams that some may not know of is called the Red Army.

The Red Army is a group of 10-20 students that attend UNO athletic events throughout the year, and their mission is to support Maverick athletics—while making as much noise as humanly possible. The Red Army collaborates with the rest of the student section at games to organize chants and game day rituals.

UNO alumni and the Red Army’s spiritual leader, Rick Jeffries, founded the group back in 2002 during the Maverick’s hockey season.

“One day I just went to the store and bought a mop handle and a five-gallon paint bucket,” Jeffries said.

Jeffries then brought these items to games in order to use them as a drum. The drum idea caught on very quickly and has since been a game-day tradition. The Thundering Bums, UNO’s hockey game drum crew, attend home games and some away games to collaborate with the rest of the student section to cheer on the Mavericks.

The Red Army’s current Comrade General, Ryan Snyder, became part of the group back in 2005.

“I would get kicked out of section 113 for standing during the games every once in a while,” Synder said, admitting it was very different back then for the student section.

“When I would get kicked out I would join the Red Army,” Synder said.

The Comrade General says there has been about 70-80 members of the Red Army over the years but anyone that attends the games can join in, and they even have families in the group. After volunteering with the Red Army for a full season, one can then become an official member.

“The Red Army is a group of Omaha Maverick fanatics, our goal is to make as much noise as possible to support our team and be fan ambassadors for the teams and sports we love,” Synder said.

“We have great relationships with fans from other parts of the country and enjoy the friendships we’ve built over the years,” Synder said. “We also just like to have fun.”

The Army’s increasing popularity is due to their crazy, fun demeanor at any UNO sporting event. It is not hard to point them out—they consistently bring an enormous amount of energy, and they are hands-down the loudest and proudest Maverick fans attending.

“It provides an opportunity to really work with the students (at games),” Jeffries said. “And they’re the ones who make it special.”

Not only do they show the utmost sportsmanship at every game, but they are also involved in the Omaha community outside of athletics. Jeffries siad that the Red Army plans to work with the official group of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) during a fundraiser to raise awareness and aid for specific cancers in men.

When asked how he would describe the Red Army, Jeffries simply stated, “Guardians of tradition.”

Every UNO student should take part in the Red Army at least once during their college experience—it is an exciting collaboration between the Army’s members and students that bleeds Maverick pride.