Call it one celebrated throughout the area, as much as any throughout small town Indiana, and Coach Steve Kinder, who has enjoyed it from both the player and mentor perspectives, appreciates the atmosphere.
For starters, name another D-2 school which utilizes a license fee system for long-term season tickets. According to Kinder, "Our fans pay $1,000 for the right to buy a season ticket for five years."
The reason such is possible?
Try 10 NCAA postseason appearances in the past 11 years.
Kinder took over helming the Lumberjack program last year and the result was strikingly similar -- a 20-2 California Collegiate Athletic Association championship season (15-0 at home), getting as high as #3 in the national D-2 poll and earning a spot in the 64 team D-2 Big Dance. Humboldt State is ranked #21 in the 2011-12 national pre-season poll.
It was Tom Wood operating the program for the prior 29 years and as Kinder, who assisted for two decades, put it: "I've been smart enough not to change the blueprint."
Plus, there is a three-year-new arena that seats 2,000 and sells out. "We have a great crowd and great student section," Kinder said.
He added, "On campus and in the community, players get asked for autographs -- it's really unique. The local newspaper put our game stories on the front page and we have radio coverage as well as basketball shows during the season."
The Lumberjack program was a non-scholarship one in the 1980s and 1990s. "But in 2000, we developed some funding and became a scholarship program -- it makes a difference," Kinder advised.
As for this season, Humboldt has a solid nucleus of talent and the conference coaches predicting another Lumberjack title run.
"Randy Hunter is a wing/post player and one of our go-to guys for scoring," Kinder explained. "Brandon Sperling is a very athletic point and Scott (Ohlone) Clark a 6-foot-4 lefty shooter. Kyle (El Camino High) Baxter is a prolific player, a guard at 6-foot-9 who had four dunks in 13 minutes in our opener against Simpson." Kinder also said Baxter can is deadly from long distance.
Additionally, Tyler (out of Sacramento) Brown, Phil (out of Sacramento) Thomas and Meniru (out of Brentwood) Ofudo are all redshirting, Brown medically.
Being up near the border also pays dividends.
"We have a nice little pipeline out of Oregon," said Kinder, as four of his players are out of Oregon and one from Washington.
There are also seven Lumberjacks currently playing overseas.
But recruiting can be well, a process. "Going to a D-2 is a pill kids have to swallow," Kinder offered. "It's not so glamorous but it's also not cuttthroat. A kid can play under coaches and staffs and administrations who are very supportive here."
Kinder, who played at Humboldt, is a member of a coaching family. "I'm from San Diego and my father was a coach. I played football, basketball and baseball in high school plus basketball and throwing the javelin in college."
So how's he doing? After last season, Kinder was named recipient of the Collegeinsider.com's Clarence Gaines award as the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year. His other honors included being named National Association of Basketball Coaches West District Coach of the Year and California Collegiate Athletics Association Coach of the Year..
So the Lumberjacks are definitely Kinder -- just don't expect gentler.
Here's the Humboldt State assistant coaches: