“Back in My Day…:” A Historical Look at the Band and Basketball

The Band at the 2004 NCAA Basketball Tournament
Josh Burton '05 (right) and Pat Taylor '06 about to explode at the 2004 NCAA Tournament in Denver.

As many of you may know, the band and FoTB (mostly just me, really) are working on compiling a history of the ensemble since 1919.  I’ll be posting topical pieces here to give the band and its alumni a taste of what is being uncovered of the group’s rich and storied past.  Given the flurry of events this week, and hopefully into the coming weeks, I thought I’d take a look at the band’s relationship with the game of basketball.

The band’s relationship with basketball is almost as old as the band itself.  The Daily Princetonian tells us that the band, looking for ways to occupy itself during the off-season, played at its first basketball game on January 28, 1920 against Penn (sucks) in University Gymnasium, just a few months after being founded.  The band, clad only in plainclothes for these early events, continued to play at most home contests from then on, weathering games in frosty Baker Rink when University Gym burnt down, and decades of games in Dillon Gymnasium as Princeton grew into a mid-major powerhouse and perennial “giant killer” in the NCAA Tournament.

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