Published on March 21, 2024 by Anne Madison Adcock  
samford band on the court

Coleman Cox, a freshman biblical studies major and saxophone player in Samford University’s Marching Band, recently recounted his experiences at last week’s Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament in Asheville, North Carolina. The trip was filled with memorable moments both on and off the court, from exploring the town with his peers to cheering on Samford's men's basketball team in their historic win.

During the days leading up to the big game against Eastern Tennessee State University (ETSU), the band students took the opportunity to explore Asheville. Cox explained that, as a freshman, it was an excellent opportunity to bond with the upperclassmen and his fellow bandmates. After dining at a local restaurant, one of Cox's friends suggested sharing their leftover food with the homeless, rather than discarding it. This spontaneous act of kindness represents the spirit of service that is often displayed by Samford students.

“It showed me the heart and love they have for other people, and how they carry out Samford’s mission,” said Cox.

On the Sunday before the game, the band held a pep rally at their hotel to pump up the team for the upcoming game. Cox compared this experience to the Bulldog Walk tradition at Samford football games, where a senior band member rallies everyone with the call, "What day is it?" and the band responds, "gameday!"

That next day on March 11, the men's basketball team triumphed over ETSU, earning their first Southern Conference Tournament championship. Cox described the band's enthusiasm and energy throughout the game, spurred by the remarkable leadership of the upperclassmen and the assistant athletic band director, professor Grant Dalton.

samford band  selfie

“Dr. Dalton has such a big heart for us and is always rooting for us to be the best we can be,” said Cox. “During that game, we were yelling our lungs off and playing our horns, and the upperclassmen were getting us hyped up. That’s what the pep band does: we support our team.”

“It has been so fun and satisfying to watch these students embrace these opportunities,” said Dalton. “I feel like every time I travel with our students, I get the opportunity to see them grow as they experience new things. I get a front row seat to seeing them become more confident adults. Right now, we are all looking forward to celebrating our amazing basketball team’s accomplishments in front of a nationwide audience.”

After an unforgettable experience in Asheville, the band now looks forward to cheering on the Bulldogs in their first round of the NCAA Tournament against the Kansas Jayhawks in Salt Lake City, Utah. As they prepare for the game, Cox and his fellow band members are ready to put their all into supporting their team.

Be sure to tune in tonight, March 21, at 7:55 p.m. MT (8:55 CDT) on TBS to cheer on the Bulldogs as they take on the Jayhawks!

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.