[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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  • by Diane Location: Tallahassee on Jan 17, 2011 at 02:48 PM
    I went to a couple of games and someone told me about the animals but im so sorry for there loss and a good friend to lose i hope you will remember him in your thoughts. he was to young to be gone so soon.
  • by KJ Location: Tallahassee on Jan 17, 2011 at 07:48 AM
    What is "Natural Causes" at the age of 38? Heart attack maybe?
  • by AnimalRobb Location: Jacksonville, FL on Jan 17, 2011 at 07:41 AM
    Thank you WCTV for coming to cover Drew's send-off. For those of you debating "O, Canada"...please know that some of the more outlandish stories really amused him. We always got a kick about hearing from someone who "knew" that crazy-story-here was the real story. It was simply part of the charm of baseball traditions and rituals!
  • by Kim on Jan 17, 2011 at 01:56 AM
    Drew wasn't just a raging football fan. He was an ADVOCATE for the sports program. He wanted people to know that sports aren't just a game, but, a means of communication. I will find our emails and share them. Andrew was an amazing dude!!
  • by Kim on Jan 16, 2011 at 10:09 PM
    Drew was blessed by two amazing parents, whom I have also been blessed by knowing.
  • by Kim on Jan 16, 2011 at 09:20 PM
    Not even cool... ANDREW!! I loved those times hanging with you on the band buses....we were coolness in our own way. I am going to miss you more than a lot! You dying isn't working for me. I need you back!
  • by Kim Location: Tallahassee on Jan 16, 2011 at 08:36 PM
    My heart is breaking for Jay & Michele, Andrew's parents. My heart is breaking for ME! Andrew (as I knew him) was the most loving, caring, attentive man I have ever known. He was there for me when I broke up with boyfriends in high school. We reconnected on FB late last year. He was FSU thru and thru. I am not yet able to deal with the loss of this amazing man!
  • by FSU Baseball Fan Location: Tallahassee on Jan 14, 2011 at 01:54 PM
    May God Bless you and your family Drew. Actually, "user" you are 100% wrong as to how O' Canada started. Drew himself stated and has posted on his website: sectionb.com. That is started during the time the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics were being televised. One Animal started just randomly humming O' Canada at an early season FSU game during the 5th inning of a game FSU was losing. Other Animals started humming along too. FSU rallied and took the lead during that inning and ended up winning the game. Thus, the O Canada 5th inning tradition was born.
  • by Carl Location: Tallahassee on Jan 14, 2011 at 01:46 PM
    To add a little into to the "O Canada" tradition, I seem to remember that FSU had a player who was either a Canadian citizen or was born in Canada and the Animals started singing "O Canada" due to that but continued when it seemed to give the Canadian player more luck at bat.
  • by Debacle Location: Man on Jan 14, 2011 at 01:20 PM
    My understanding of the Canadian National Anthems is this, some years back, maybe to 80s as another had posted, there was a player on the Seminoles who was from Canada. The Animals started singing the anthem for him and never stopped, even after he graduated and left.
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