JANUARY 2, 2013 — EVANSTON, ILL. — “You know, we feel like NUMB is part of our football family,” said Northwestern University Head Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald, moments after his team arrived back on the Evanston campus after winning the 2013 TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., yesterday.
The coach was speaking to a throng of reporters after the Northwestern University “Wildcat” Marching Band greeted the team busses outside Ryan FIeld, just as they do at home games. The band members, wearing their warmers and purple Northwestern beanies, had plenty of energy even as the temperatures were fifty degress cooler than they were in Jacksonville.
“We’re always with each other,” said Fitzgerald of his team and the band. “We do band camp together.”
The coach and players have made appearances at every band camp since Fitzgerald began his head coaching career at the university. Football players have also participated in many of the band’s spirit sessions hosted by the SpiriTeam on Thursday nights throughout the season.
Last season, Fitzgerald has also recorded a video inviting prospective student musicans to “jump into the best band in the country.” He noted he is a former saxophone player, and said, “From the start at band camp…all the way out to Pasedena, the band and the team are united together with one purpose, and that’s to be champions.”
That certainly came true in Jacksonville yesterday. Both the team and the band would like another go at the Rose Bowl, the site of the Wildcats’ only other bowl victory, in 1949.
“Whever we go, the band goes,” said Fitzgerald in yesterday’s media conference.
We previously noted Fitzgerald’s excited, nearly double-tempo count off of “Go U, Northwestern!” at the conclusion of his emotional remarks moments after winning the Gator Bowl.
“I think we sang the fight song down in EverBank [Field] like seven times yesterday with them yesterday. It was great,” said Fitzgerald.
“We are very thankful for their support,” he said of the Wildcat Band.
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Also follow the University Bands, which include NUMB as well as the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, and the Northwestern University “Wildcat” Basketball Band on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Foursquare, and Tumblr.
—Daniel M. Reck (GSESP08).
Video images from NUsports.com.