MARQUETTE, Mich. -When the Northern Michigan University football team has a game on a Saturday afternoon the Superior Dome fills with thousands of fans who come to watch the Wildcats play. Of all the fans who attend the game there is one fan that can be called the number one fan and that person is not in the student section.
Kathy Andel has been a strong supporter of the football program for 12 seasons. Andel who can always be found on game day with her bright green and yellow hair and scarf selling 50/50 tickets and using her vuvuzela is NMU football’s ultimate fan.
Entering this Saturday’s home contest against Ferris State this will be the program’s 132nd game since Andel has jumped on board.
“Since being here I think I have only missed eight or 10 away games, I have never missed a home game,” said Andel.
You may wonder what is so special about Andel and being at all the games. She not only attends the games but the practices. She is a true supporter of NMU football. Come Halloween or Easter she likes to make sure the players feel right at home and distributes goody bags after the practices.
“Everyone is a kid at heart, they are away from home and I want them to feel happy,” said Andel. She also takes care of the coaches; whenever you walk by the coaches’ office you can always count on seeing baked goods from Andel.
When spending 12 seasons with one team there has to be one special memory that you would be able to sit back and think about. One of Andel’s favorite memories happened this season with the homecoming week celebration of the 1975 NCAA Division II National Championship team returning to Marquette.
“I loved this year’s homecoming; I thought it was great inspiration for this year’s team,” said Andel.
Head coach Bernie Anderson can not thank Andel enough for what she does for the NMU family. “I think she is the ultimate person who is involved in Northern Athletics and that is there to help people,” said Anderson. “She is one unique, special individual to NMU football.”
Offensive line coach and former Wildcat player Rob Boss, who has been with the program for six years, now can only say good things about what Andel has done. “The amount of care she has for the program is un-measureable; she is an amazing lady who cares about this program,” said Boss.
Andel who is war veteran was stationed in Germany for five years, has since then retired from the working world. She says this is her passion and everyone needs to find something that makes you happy. “I just think everyone should have a passion in life to keep them going and my passion is to be here,” said Andel.
Andel and the ‘Cats return home this weekend as NMU welcomes an undefeated in conference play Ferris State team to the Superior Dome for a 1 p.m. kickoff. The Bulldogs only loss this season was to nationally ranked Hillsdale the first week of the season in a non-conference game.
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Story by Michael Levy