A mighty fan base grew out of a disbanded fraternity.

By Rich Karcher ’05 • Photo by Jonathan McBride

During men’s and women’s basketball games, the Sojka Psychos blanket Sojka Pavilion in a sea of orange to cheer on the Bison teams. The birth of the Psycho movement came during the re-colonization of the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) as the Beta-Mu chapter in 2003 — just when Sojka Pavilion opened its doors to become the raucous arena we know today.

Like many fraternity chapters, TKE has had its ups and downs at the University. In May 1998, the TKE alumni board unanimously decided to disband Bucknell’s TKE chapter for a period of five years, ending the 77-year TKE tradition on campus.

In fall 2002, the alumni board sought out sophomores to be the new leaders who would be able to fill the “TKE void” at Bucknell. Eight men stepped forward to redefine the fraternity. Jeff Puro ’05, Dave Caribardi ’05, Duff Weber ’05, John Siwicki ’05, Nick Gallo ’05, Brian Raves ’05, Chris Mack ’05 and Jay Del Moore ’05 were charged with bringing a new vision of TKE to Bucknell.

Carefully, these sophomores formed a colony of 40 undergraduates willing to help bring TKE back. With no access to the old TKE house on Fraternity Road, Mod 24 became TKE’s headquarters in 2002. And with no “home” to call home, the brothers began attending basketball games as a way to build unity. For basketball home games, the original sophomore brothers of TKE gathered as a group in the Mods, dressed in orange-and-blue attire or crazy costumes and traveled, as one, to Davis Gym to cheer on the teams during the 2002–03 season.

When Sojka Pavilion opened in January 2003, men’s basketball assistant coach Bryan Goodman and TKE brother Brian Raves started discussing the possibility of an official cheering section. Shortly after, John Siwicki coined the alliterative term “Sojka Psycho.” After several TKEs met with the Department of Athletics to discuss the concept of the Sojka Psychos, the fraternity members were given permission to design T-shirts for the student fan section. Raves and Duff Weber designed the first Sojka Psycho shirt, featuring “Sojka Pavilion Psychiatric Ward” on the front and “Psycho” on the back.

Thanks to funding and support by Coach Goodman, the underground student organization had several of these shirts printed to increase the awareness for the movement among the student body, sending out several campuswide e-mails asking for interest in being a Psycho. The Psycho crowds in Sojka Pavilion increased each game.

Even after the basketball fan group Bison Bandwagon was created in 2004, the Psychos continued to show up and support the team in greater numbers, eventually becoming the “official” name for the larger Bucknell basketball fan base movement. Ever since, the Sojka Psychos have been an impressive presence.

Fall 2012 marked the 10-year anniversary of the re-colonization of TKE and the Sojka Psycho movement. During those 10 years, both the basketball teams and Bucknell’s Beta-Mu TKE chapter have seen great success.

The brothers of the Beta-Mu chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon contributed to this article.