[UPDATE] FSU Loses True Spirit

By: Eyewitness Sports, Jill Chandler Email
By: Eyewitness Sports, Jill Chandler Email

UPDATE 1-16-2011 at 6:30pm by Jill Chandler

Hundreds of people came out to Dick Howser stadium Sunday... but not for a baseball game.

They were there to honor Drew Hankin the 38-year-old Zookeeper or leader of the famous Section B Animals at the FSU baseball games.

The animals are known for singing "O-Canada" and cheering loudly at the games. But Sunday they sang it to remember their friend.

Hankin passed away on Wednesday of this past week due to natural causes.

Those who spoke about him say he was the best friend anyone could ask for. Robb Van Eck has known Hankin since they were in the Marching Chiefs together. He said, "He was our roots. He kept us connected to Tallahassee."

He was a member of the Marching Chiefs and took pride in being a part of the Royal Flush Tuba section. The Marching Chiefs showed their respects by playing his favorite songs, "Hymn to the Garnet and Gold" and the FSU Fight Song.

Robby Scott is a pitcher for FSU's baseball team. He said people like Hankin and The Animals are a main reason players choose to come to FSU to play baseball. He said, "Knowing that he was there for us it was just, you can't explain it. It was just one of those things you just take for granted."

The traditions will live on, and the Animals plan to keep his memory alive.

Dominic Thompson leads the famous NOLE cheer at games. He said, "The whole reason I do the NOLES cheer now is he was like just go down there and do it. You'll have fun. I didn't want to but it's tradition." And it's a tradition Thompson will continue to do.

Friends say Hankin now has the best seat in the house.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Tallahassee, FL - Somber news in Seminole nation. The Animals have long been a fiery, spirit-filled fixture in the stands on the first base side of FSU's Dick Howser Stadium.

Whether it's the trademark singing of "O-Canada" or random charges throughout the game, the Animals are as much a part of FSU baseball as pinstripes and cleats, but Wednesday (1-12) Drew Hankin-- the zookeeper or leader of the animals passed away.

Reports say the 38-year-old Garnet & Gold enthusiast died of natural causes in his own home. News of his passing spread through Seminole nation with many people offering up their recollections of a man who was the bloodline to FSU baseball's rowdiest fan-base... But the memories weren't just from the stands, that FSU dugout-- more specifically Coach Mike Martin himself had plenty of time to know the late Drew Hankin first hand

Martin says, "Drew Hankin was a great American, he never asked for anything. He did so much behind the scenes to promote Florida State baseball. He created an atmosphere that was second to none in college baseball and we are truly going to miss him."

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