The name is a reference and homage to Daytonians Orville and Wilbur Wright who pioneered heavier than air flight. Orville and Wilbur Wright designed the Wright Flyer I and fabricated many of its components, including the propellers and engine, at their bicycle shop in Dayton. The Wright Flyer I was the first powered aircraft to achieve sustained, controlled flight.
University of Dayton athletic teams enjoy considerable support from an energized fan base. The men's basketball team is perennially among the top 25 programs nationally in attendance. The student fan base is known as the "Red Scare" and provides support for the Flyers from behind the east goal during basketball games.
Red Scare is a highly visible student organization present at many University of Dayton athletic contests. Since its inception in 2000, the Red Scare has grown from 50 members to the current membership of over 1300 UD undergrads.
The Flyers' traditional rivals in most sports are regional schools such as Xavier, Cincinnati, and Miami University. Dayton and Xavier vie for possession of the Blackburn/McCafferty Trophy during regular season men's basketball games. Other historical rivals of note include Butler University, Duquesne University, University of Detroit, Marquette University, DePaul University, Temple University, and the University of Notre Dame. The latter three schools formed an informal basketball league with Dayton during the 1970s and 1980s, prior to formal league association for each school. The Gem City Jam, an annual game with crosstown rival Wright State University, is currently suspended.
On an ESPN all-time ranking of NCAA basketball programs the University of Dayton placed No. 48 overall. Dayton recently won the 2010 NIT championship. In March of 2014, Dayton upset State-Favorite Ohio State, and the #3 seed Syracuse Orange in the NCAA Tournament with close victories. The Flyers then beat Stanford to reach the Elite Eight where they played the overall #1 seed Florida. They lost 62-52