He stands in a shiny purple dress shirt and slacks, his warm smile greeting the loud crowd in the Matadome of students, parents, volunteers and players from the men’s basketball team. He is not a CSUN alumni or a parent of a student, but yet Alan Zinsmeister has become more involved with CSUN is a few short years than most students do their entire stay at the university.
Close to Coach Bobby Braswell since childhood, Zinsmeister became involved in CSUN basketball in November 1996, as a fan and supporter of the team. When Braswell’s brother passed away, Zinsmeister said he “made a vow to myself to support him.”
“Following the death, I would support the team and support him [Braswell] with my presence,” he said.
Zinsmeister soon became a brother-like figure to Braswell as he became more and more involved with the team. In 2002, he started announcing at games.
“The announcer was not able to make it one time, so I helped the team out. I was always around, so I offered assistance,” Zinsmeister said.
The first season Zinsmeister became involved, he was a commentator and did play-by-play, as well as traveled with the team. He became involved full-time with the team in 2004, and wishes to continue his work.
“My hope is to commentate or play-by-play for every game,” said Zinsmeister this season, which started Oct. 31.
“It added time to my life,” he said. “I enjoyed it a lot.”
Zinsmeister’s favorite part of the experience is interacting with the players.
“I live and die with their losses,” he said. “If they don’t do well, I would be disappointed in how fans were bothering them.”
“It bothered me as if I were a player,” Zinsmeister added. “I care for all the players, I see them as sons.”
“I won’t say I have a favorite, but I really care for them all,” he said.
“My spirit is always lifted when I see him,” said Calvin Chitwood, a 21-year-old senior marketing major who has known Zinsmeister for four years through his involvement in the basketball team.
“He is like family to me,” he said. “He has always been there for me. He is my mentor.”
Zinsmeister, as well as giving moral support to the team, also gives them financial support.
“As a businessman, I support the program financially,” he said. “I purchase T-shirts that are thrown out into the stands,” he added.
“I want CSUN athletics to flourish,” he said. “I want people to think of CSUN as a fine institution.”
“Of the 12 years I’ve been associated with it, I’ve claimed it as my own,” said Zinsmeister. “I am excited for the prospects of the team.”
The coach “has been blessed with really good quality people in athletics,” Zinsmeister said.
“That’s my big brother,” said Braswell on Zinsmeister.
“I lose my brother my first year here, and he [Zinsmeister] was close to him,” he said. “He is a great supporter.”
“He is just a giver,” Braswell said. “He’s very, very special.”
“He has given a lot to this institution through his love for me and this department,” he said. “He gives a lot of moral support to the team. The guys love him. All the parents love him,” he added.
“He is just a gift from God,” Zinsmeister said. “I would be surprised if anyone in the department didn’t know him.”
Zinsmeister’s favorite moment in his involvement at CSUN was also the March 2001 victory against East Washington.
When the team won in 2001, it was a “special moment,” Braswell said. “We talked about my brother and how he would have been proud.”
“We accomplished something that had never been done at the division one title,” Zinsmeister said.
“I love him like a brother,” said Zinsmeister about Braswell. “He’s like a little brother.”
Zinsmeister has two daughters: Cory, 25 and Asia, 21. The girls used to be involved when they were younger, Zinsmeister said.
“Kim will come to games a couple of times a year,” he said of his wife.
“I might miss 2-3 games at the most this year, if any,” said Zinsmeister.
Though Zinsmeister is thoroughly involved at CSUN, he sees that not a lot of students are.
“At CSUN, there is not a lot of participation,” he said. “There are wonderful athletes that need support.”
He is the ‘nicest man on the planet,'” said Marcus Afzali, a 22-year-old political science alumnus.
Afzali encouraged students to get involved in the basketball games during his years at the university. He started the “bullpit,” which was a group of students and fans of the team that encouraged people to show school spirit.
“Basketball games are like graveyards,” said Afzali. “There is no school spirit at CSUN.”
“It made him [Zinsmeister] excited to see other people that share his enthusiasm,” he said. “He always would try to help us out.”
Zinsmeister became involved with the bullpit before he became an announcer. He was a fan in the audience just like anyone else.
Games are free to CSUN students, yet Zinsmeister does not see a lot of fans.
“If the students would come out and support them, it would enhance their college experience,” said Zinsmeister.
“I would like to see more people in the audience,” he said. “It would be great if there was more participation.”
“The gym should be filled every time,” he added.
“I have become a fan of CSUN sports in general,” Zinsmeister said.
As well as traveling for every game from Carson to Northridge, Zinsmeister also has a full-time job with All State Insurance Agency. He is an owner and agent.