College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Pep Band More Than Stands In for Kentucky’s Band

Pride of the South Supports Fellow Band Members in Unique Show of Support


Photo by Nathan Latil

Photo by Nathan Latil/ UM Communications

It was a long but rewarding day for the University of Mississippi pep band who performed both for their own school, as well as stepped in as a replacement to act as Kentucky‘s band, which was unable to make the trip to Little Rock for the Southeastern Conference Women‘s Basketball Tournament due to inclement weather.

“It is the Ole Miss Band mission to help and bring positive recognition to band students everywhere, no matter their school affiliation,” said Kyle Hickey, a graduate assistant for the Pride of the South. “We were proud to step in for our friends in the Kentucky band and support Big Blue Nation as a whole.”

“Anytime they can perform,” Hickey said, “it’s fun for them, and given the unique opportunity, they couldn’t pass on it.” They waved white and blue pom-poms, started cheers and chants, and played Kentucky‘s postgame fight song.

“The people at Ole Miss were good enough to participate,” Kentucky head women‘s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell said. “We were very, very grateful and appreciative. Those young folks in the band showed up with a lot of enthusiasm for our team. That’s really, really admirable and commendable.”

The outpouring of support from Big Blue Nation has continued in the hours that have followed the Ole Miss pep band‘s show of sportsmanship.

“The response we have received from Kentucky fans, alumni, and administration has been overwhelming,” Hickey said. “Not only were the fans supportive and teaching us Wildcat cheers throughout the game, but the team was immensely appreciative as well by coming and greeting us before and after the game.

“Coach Mitchell and athletic director Barnhart both came by and thanked each band member personally for their willingness to serve and support their team. The thanks we received from everyone involved made the whole experience worth it.”

The UM pep band has been featured in stories from both The Clarion-Ledger and The Lexington Herald-Leader, and the story quickly spread through social media, even while they remained stuck in Little Rock before arriving back in Oxford late Friday afternoon.

“It’s neat for our students who are involved to get that kind of reward for not doing much other than playing the music they play all the time,” said Randy Dale, assistant director of bands at The University of Mississippi. “I hope that the attention says a lot about the character of our leadership and our students.”