Degree Sponsors Monmouth Bench

Bench Mob Gets Sponsporship

The nationally-recognized Monmouth  Bench Mob that captured the hearts of the sports world in 2015 is back in action for the 2019 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) March Madness Tournament.

While this season’s Men’s Basketball team did not make the cut for March Madness, alumni Greg Noack ’17 and Dan Pillari ’18 have teamed up with Degree Deodorant to bring the Bench Mob back through a social media campaign. 

Noack and Pillari, along with their bench celebrations have returned through a series of Twitter posts made by Degree’s account (@DegreeMen). The Twitter promotions started on March 19 and ran through the duration of the 2019 March Madness tournament, which came to a close on April 8.

The posts featured short clips of bench celebrations centered around Noack and Pillari sporting Monmouth warm-up shirts with the Degree logo on the shoulder. The hashtag #BenchMoves was also included in the posts. 

Some of the celebrations that are featured in the posts include “The Big Run,” “The Admiral,” “The Matador,” “Human Hoop,” and “All Hail!” The series of tweets were posted by Degree as replies to game highlights pushed out by the official NCAA March Madness Twitter account (@marchmadness).

According to Gary Kowal, Assistant Athletics Director for New Media and Communications, Noack and Pillari were both hired independently by Degree. He said, “…We couldn’t be happier to see two MU alums in Dan [Pillari] and Greg [Noack] getting the tremendous opportunity to work with Degree.”

The Bench Mob began to receive national attention during the Hawks’ 2015-2016 season. On their way to a 28-win season, Monmouth beat the likes of five power conference opponents: University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), Notre Dame, University of Southern California (USC), Georgetown, and Rutgers. For the first time in program history, the team received votes in both the Associated Press Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Polls.

Pillari, who graduated from Monmouth with a degree in health and physical education, told Monmouth Now, “…Through my experience being on the [Monmouth] basketball team and a part of the Bench Mob, we found a way to bring people happiness, encourage our teammates, and celebrate group success.”

Noack, a graduate of Monmouth’s Leon Hesse Business School, said to Monmouth Now, “The name on the front of our jersey was way more important to us than any name on the back—we were all playing for Monmouth,”

Noack and Pillari led the way for the Bench Mob, originally choreographing celebrations like “The First Down” and “The Big Catch.” In 2016, ESPN created a compilation video of the Bench Mob’s celebrations and titled it, “Monmouth has the Best Bench in Basketball.”

Kowal said, “As long as it was always positive and never negative towards the opposing team, Coach [King] Rice was always in support of it and it turned the 2015-16 season into a really entertaining year.”

“It definitely helped Monmouth gain notoriety, along with the fact that the team was winning, and national media outlets were picking up on it,” Kowal added. 

The Bench Mob did live interviews with The Today Show and SportsCenter, as well as interviews on campus with countless other outlets including Fox, CBS, WFAN, and more. Players from the NBA were also tweeting about the Bench Mob.

Matt DeLuca, a senior communication student and Sports Director at WMCX said, “The Bench Mob added another really cool dynamic to the 2015-16 season.” 

DeLuca has been a member of WMCX’s broadcast team for men’s basketball for the past four seasons. He continued, “The team was gaining national attention off the court for the things that they were doing, and they were gaining attention on the court for their spectacular play against high-major schools.”

Ryan Tetro, Esq., a lecturer of political science, said, “I loved it because that’s the beauty of college sports; it’s exciting.”

“It was interesting and unique because there had always been celebrations on benches, but they (Monmouth) were the first team to do it as a group,” he continued.

Tetro has been a season-ticket holder for Monmouth men’s basketball games for the past three years.

He said that one of the biggest reasons why his son, “fell in love” with Monmouth basketball was because of the Bench Mob in 2015. 

When asked how the Degree campaign brings positive attention to the school, Tetro said, “It’s our identity as a program…Their identity [during the time of the Bench Mob] was a fast-paced, fun, style of basketball.”

When DeLuca saw the Degree advertisements, he said, “It made me realize just how much of an impact they made all those years ago, and that they are still recognizable today.”

Noack concluded, “Even when we [the Bench Mob] were getting the headlines, everyone was still rooting for each other.”

PHOTO TAKEN from Asbury Park Press