Meet Meta Kern, Oakland basketball’s biggest fan

The Grizz Gang has been consistently regarded as one of the best student sections in mid-major basketball. They have traveled to Detroit, Chicago, and Cincinnati to support their Golden Grizzlies.

The home-court advantage the Grizz Gang provides the Golden Grizzlies is felt. Loud cheers, passionate fans and the “O-U” clap on free throws can consistently be found filling up the O’Rena.

Also consistently found in the Grizz Gang is Meta Kern, the 65 year-old woman who says she is “the biggest fan of Oakland basketball.”

Her husband, Otis, works at the scorekeepers table as the table ref. Since 2005, Kern has been faithfully attending Oakland men’s and women’s basketball games while her husband works, sitting in the exact same spot along the railing, in the front of the student section.

The Oakland men’s basketball team has gone from the Summit League to the Horizon League in the last 14 years, amassing 264 wins since the start of the ‘05-’06 season. In that time, the team has been to two NCAA tournaments while in the Summit League and captured one Horizon League regular season title.

The women’s basketball team has 220 wins since the start of the ’05-’06 season, including multiple runner-up finishes in the Summit League tournaments.

The student section used to be located along the eastern wall of the O’Rena, behind the visitor’s bench. Kern sat in her season ticket spot, along the northern wall behind the basket. After the Grizz Gang moved to the northern wall, she decided she was just going to stay in her spot, sitting with the student section permanently.

“This is where I always started,” Kern said. “I thought, ‘I’m not moving, y’all work around me.’ I love the student section. All my friends ask me to come over and sit with them and I tell them no, I want to sit here. This is where the action is.”

Grizz Gang members who have seen the team go through ups and downs have seen Kern there with them through it all.

“She has gotten to know a lot of students, especially since the Grizz Gang came and invaded her spot in the crowd,” said Austin Davis, who has been in the student section for six years. “Now that we’re in her section she is always front and center cheering on the team with us. Anyone that has got to know Meta over the years is better off.”

Kern isn’t just known by the students, but the athletics administration as well. She is close to men’s Head Coach Greg Kampe and has his phone number on quick-dial.

“Greg Kampe and I have been friends for years,” she said. “I’ve seen the program grow every year. Kampe and I talk all the time.”

As someone with kids of her own and who has seen many graduating classes come and go, Kern urges current students to live in the moment and take advantage of what college athletics have to offer.

“Come to the games, enjoy yourselves, have a great time and enjoy your time at school,” Kern said.