Pacing back and forth atop the bleachers in the old Physical Education Building — now known as the RAC —, Peter Nassetta was the original “Super Fan” of Mason basketball.

“I was the Patriot Platoon,” Nassetta said. “I was your fan. Screaming, yelling, taunting the other team and yelling at the referees — I did all of that.”

Nassetta, now the chaplain of George Mason University’s Catholic Campus Ministry, graduated in 1982 with a major in business management from a small commuter school in Fairfax where the student apartments were the only residence hall available to students. He was involved in politics but, after a personal experience during his senior year, was encouraged to reevaluate his priorities.

“I had to reevaluate things,” Nassetta said. “My faith then became the center of my life.”

After getting involved with the Youth Apostles, a group that is called to reach out to every young person and make efforts to invite them to a life of truth, freedom and care, Nassetta began feeling that the Lord was guiding him into the chapel.

“When you start thinking that maybe you’re supposed to be a priest, you start thinking, ‘I think you’re confused, God. You’ve got the wrong guy,’” Nassetta said. “But God is persistent and He is patient. Eventually, it became really clear.”

During his five years in Catholic parishes, Nassetta found it difficult to follow Mason basketball. Because The Washington Post would not cover the team and the Internet was not in full force, he was forced to get a majority of his information from an athletic trainer at Old Dominion University.

Shortly after his departure from the parishes, Nassetta was appointed the chaplain of Marymount University in Arlington. And six short years later, Nassetta was allowed the opportunity to join his alma mater and serve as the Catholic chaplain for the university.

“To be able to return to our alma mater — even though it’s barely recognizable — is just a blessing,” Nassetta said.

Since returning to Mason in 2000, Nassetta has become involved in athletics and is a regular attendee at most events. And, following his lead, his students have begun to be a significance presence at sporting events — especially at basketball games.

He encourages students within CCM to get involved within campus life and live in the world.

“I’m not trying to create a Catholic ghetto,” Nassetta said. “We just try to provide people with opportunities to show their faith while giving them a place where they can grow in their faith.”

Since the arrival of Doc Nix after the 2006 season, Nassetta began dressing up and emulating the attire of the program’s unique band director, even purchasing a pair of large gold glasses that he said are “Doc Nix-approved.”

“As much as you try, you can never really be Doc Nix though,” he said. “He is one of a kind.”

Like he has done for several years, Nassetta jumped out of his seat when there was less than eight minutes remaining in the victory game against Georgia State. He turned to face the wave of green and gold behind him and pump up the crowd as Doc Nix and the Green Machine belted their staple rendition of “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

“Not only is it our theme song as a university, but it obviously ties in to campus ministry,” Nassetta said. “We’re always living on a prayer.”