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‘Senior’ UD basketball team to appear on Rachael Ray

A “senior” University of Dayton Lady Flyers lineup recently suited up and took Manhattan on as part of a trip to New York that included watching a Halloween-themed taping of the “Rachael Ray Show.”

The five “Flyer Faithful” — Margaret Gottschlich and Debi Martin of Kettering, Devonne Daniel of Tipp City and Christa Davies and Jane Higgins of Butler Twp., Montgomery County — dressed up in official University of Dayton women’s basketball uniforms from about six years ago.

The show will air noon Thursday on ABC 22.

To say the unofficial UD squad got attention in New York is an understatement.

“One lady thought we were seriously the actual team. You need glasses because we are pretty old,” Gottschlich said with a chuckle.

She and her friends — golf buddies who range in age from age 55 to age 67 — have been taking fall “golf trips” together for 15 years.

But the ladies admit these “golf trips,” in recent years, have had very little to do with golf. The women have gone on a cruise together and to a spa, for instance.

“We sort of drifted a little bit from golf trip outing,” Gottschlich said. “We didn’t take our golf club, and we had no intention to playing golf.”

The taping of the Rachael Ray show was part of a weeklong vacation that saw the five-some stay at a Manhattan condo owned by Jane Higgins’ cousin.

Higgins said the trip was amazing.

“We had the best time ever,” she said.

Gottschlich said she and her friend learned 10 days before the taping that costumes were required and that Halloween would be the theme.

The women were planning to wear gym shoes for the walk around New York. The idea to go as the UD women’s basketball team grew from there.

The die-hard UD men’s basketball fans — some are season ticket holders — contacted a local businessman who reached out to former UD football coach Mike Kelly.

Kelly contacted UD Equipment Manager Tony Caruso, who gave the fans access to UD women’s shorts and basketball jerseys with unused numbers from the team’s “blood bag,” a sideline sack.

Caruso said the women spent about 45 minutes chatting and picking out uniforms.

They also wore temporary Flyer tattoos on their faces, matching long blue basketball socks and carried NCAA towels and a mini UD basketball.

Caruso said the request was unusual coming from the group dubbed “Senior Flyers” in a UD article on the trip, but he was happy to oblige.

“It was pretty nifty,” he said. “It will be neat to see it on TV.”

Gottschlich and her “team” sat in the front row in the audience and received much attention from Ray’s special co-host Guy Fieri, a Columbus native and Food Network host.

She and her friends are excited about the airing.

“We don’t know what’s going to be shown,” Gottschlich said. “We are assuming we are going to get a little face time.”

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