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UR fan on #FireMooney billboard: ‘It hurts Richmond’

RICHMOND, Va. -- A longtime Spiders fan is defending University of Richmond's men's head basketball coach Chris Mooney the day after a billboard went live calling for his firing.

The scrolling digital billboard, off Cummings Drive, read "Save Richmond Basketball #FireMooney."

Coach Mooney is currently in his 14th season as Spiders head coach.

An anonymous group made up of Spiders alumni and fans said on Thursday they rented the space for a month.

The group stated they were unhappy with Mooney's performance.

"[The team] has failed to make the NCAA tournament in the past seven years and is on the brink of its second straight embarrassing losing season," the group said in a statement released to the media.

The team's record so far this season is 11-15.

Mary Lou Chandler, who is a common face at Spiders basketball games, described the billboard as insensitive.

"Maybe that’s how they feel, but to me it's tactless. It has no class about it," Chandler explained. "It only hurts Richmond fans."

She added, "[Mooney] has a wife and children who are seeing and hearing about this."

Mooney last took the Spiders to the NCAA Tournament and Sweet 16 in 2011, but hasn't returned since.

University of Richmond Associate Director of Athletic Public Relations Jason Vida told CBS 6 they were aware of the campaign and said, "no comment."

Chandler was first introduced to University of Richmond athletics through her longtime friend Charlie Hohl.

Hohl attended the university where he earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in the 50's -- even playing one year as a Spiders running back before getting injured.

"He was one of those top-notch fans, he loved his school, and that’s how he brought me into it," Chandler stated.

Sadly, Hohl died from an unexpected illness on January 21, 2018, but remained a die hard Spiders fan until his death.

"He had been talking the year that he passed Charlie was going to get a spider costume and wear it to the game one day. We were all going 'no, Charlie, don’t do that,'" Chandler laughed.

Chandler reflected how her friend would react to the billboard.

"He'd be having a screaming, hissy fit," she said. "Especially when this bunch that sits behind us [at the games] starts screaming 'fire Mooney.'"

The group who purchased the billboard only wanted to be identified by their social media presence "Fire Mooney Mafia."

"We are choosing to remain anonymous because there are a number of us and we don't want any one person singled out by those who disagree with our actions here," the statement continued.

Chandler believed the message should be taken down.

"We see the team do well sometimes and struggle other times, but you still support them. They’re still your team," she stated.

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