The time is now.

Through the history of athletic programs at Fort Hays State University, Tiger fans could agree on one thing: FHSU is a basketball school.

That shows up time and again as fans file in to the comfy confines of Gross Memorial Coliseum. Year after year, the Tiger men and women are among the top in the nation in the NCAA Division II ranks. The banners hanging from the rafters are visual proof.

Time and again, the men and women are in the conversation among the elite of not only the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and the nation.

And time and again, the Tigers deliver and put a quality showing on the floor in front of a healthy showing of fans inside GMC.

Ask someone outside of Hays about FHSU, and basketball likely is the first thing that comes to mind. FHSU is a basketball university. It always has been — always will be.

The question is: Why can’t FHSU boast prominence in football as well?

The simple answer: It can.

That time is upon us.

No longer can football at FHSU be considered just a prelude to the basketball season.

The recent climb to Division II relevance under seventh-year head coach Chris Brown and his staff has FHSU in a unique position to reach yet another rung on its continued climb to elite status in DII’s best football conference — and not just this season, but for years to come.

The time is now for FHSU fans, old and young, to be part of it. The Tigers need fan support now more than ever, especially with in-state rival Pittsburg State University in town for FHSU’s 7 p.m. homecoming contest Saturday.

The time is now to pack Lewis Field Stadium and make it explode with black and gold. Be loud and be proud in anticipation of each booming canon explosion.

While the true Tiger faithful have been on hand through some good times and bad, Hays never has seemed to be a football community.

That can change. It’s time for all of Hays and the surrounding area to get behind the Tigers. We can become a college football community, too.

Chris Brown and company are showing us the way.

#RoarTigers

Editorial by Nick McQueen

nmcqueen@dailynews.net