Mark Slessinger loves a good gathering of people in tacky holiday sweaters. "It's just something that's funny and quirky and all people can get into," he said.
But at some point around three years ago, the University of New Orleans men’s basketball coach started contemplating taking his glee over gaudy acrylic Santas and googly-eyed reindeer to a new level.
His idea: Try to beat the Guinness Book of World Records highest recorded gathering of people wearing holiday sweaters and jumpers.
On Saturday, Dec. 12 at 6:15 p.m., at UNO vs. Williams Baptist College, the Privateer’s last home game before the holiday break, attendees are encouraged to sport their most festively hideous holiday sweaters as they fill UNO Lakefront Arena.
The goal is to beat a record of 1,175 sweaters—the number donned at Loughborough University in Leicestershire, United Kingdom, on Dec. 10, 2014.
A quick Google search shows that there have been many attempts to beat the Loughborough number. But Slessinger, who contacted Guinness to register UNO’s attempt to break the splendiferous holiday record, said that he’s determined to make a mark. If the school makes only a dent this year, expect the event to show up again next season, he said.
“Hopefully, it’s something we can build on every year,” he said.
Coaching staffs from both schools are not exempt. Expect them to be clad in their most garish ensembles. Slessinger himself is debating between which of two sweaters he might wear.
The front-runner, he said, has flashing lights.
Tickets are free to students with valid UNO IDs. Anyone else who shows up in a holiday sweater can get in for $5. Otherwise, prices are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Tickets can be purchased at the door or by calling the UNO Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 280-GAME (4263).