In late September, you may have gotten an email from Lipscomb Athletics, reading “Lipscomb Basketball Pep Band Interest Form”. When you click on the link to the form you then begin to read this:
“The Lipscomb University pep band will embark on its inaugural season this year! If you are interested in learning how to contribute to the electric atmosphere of Allen Arena during the 2023-24 Bison basketball season, complete the form below and we will follow up in the coming weeks about the first interest meeting.”
Yes, you read that right. An official Lipscomb pep band is coming to basketball games beginning with the upcoming 2023-2024 season.
Lipscomb used to have its own pep band 10-15 years ago [more on that soon in a later article]. Along the line though the pep band eventually fizzled out, and though a couple of high schools around the Nashville area filled in as the game’s musical act for a few years after, the pep band was eventually muted from the game altogether during the mid-late 2010s.
Now years later, the pep band will officially make its return to Lipscomb games, and it’s already seeing great interest. After the official announcement this past Wednesday, 24 students submitted an interest form in the first twenty-four hours of it being open. As of this writing over 30 students now have expressed interest in participating.
So how did this grand idea become a reality? According to Jackson Gibree, a sophomore sports management major who is also a leader and co-founder of the “Lippy Lunatics” student section, it all started with a simple goal in mind that snowballed into something even greater.
“Honestly, we were just trying to think of ideas on how to up the game day environment, make it louder, make it harder to play, make it more fun, make it more engageable.” said Gibree.
“It was after Jax State [Jacksonville State], I looked at Quinn Reed [director of marketing] and I was like ‘Quinn, we got to get a band’. And we talked about it and we were like, okay, let’s make it happen this summer.”
Gibree gives much of the credit to Landon Parrish [Assistant to the President], Brent McMillian [Associate AD for External Affairs], and President Dr. Candice McQueen in helping make this idea become a reality.
“I didn’t really do anything for this one” Gibree explained. “[But] just bringing it together and just trying to [see] how can we add to this environment that we’re already building upon? And how can we take it to the next level?”
Lipscomb athletic director Phillip Hutcheson, who was also a basketball player for Lipscomb from 1986-1990, feels that the pep band not only enhances the game environment, but can also further strengthen the togetherness of the student body.
“I think you got to have it.” Hutcheson explained. “If you really want to have the atmosphere you’re looking for, I think that they just bring tons of energy because they’re students.”
“They’re part of the student body that they’re also trying to encourage…” explained Hutcheson. “…I think it’s critical to maximizing the experience that you’d want to have for everybody that comes to the games.”
Student involvement will be pivotal for the pep band’s success and is something that Hutcheson says that Lipscomb is hoping to build on over the next few years, with this year just being the start of something even bigger.
“The hope would be that as time goes on in the next couple of years, we’d get this going and then we’d start recruiting students to Lipscomb who may say, ‘Hey, I want to be a part of the Lipscomb student body, study at Lipscomb and all of that, but also love that there’s an opportunity to be a part of a pep band’.”
With the rise of the Lippy Lunatics student section last year, a large new class of spirited students, and the return of a pep band that has already seen significant interest and support, it’s safe to say that the atmosphere in Allen Arena could reach new brand heights that it has never seen before.
“I get giddy thinking about it,” said a grinning Gibree. “The whole goal is to transform this into something that’s [a] nationwide known thing that you [the opposing team] don’t want to come play at Lipscomb. You don’t want to come into Allen Arena and play against any Lipscomb team because you know it’s gonna be a tough game…”
The pep band held its first interest meeting this past week. More information about is expected to come in the coming weeks.