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No matter how deep it goes in the NCAA Tournament, Fairleigh Dickinson basketball is the talk of 2023. A No. 16 seed that didn’t even earn its place in the tournament became just the second team to take down a No. 1 seed in March Madness history.
It was the ultimate David vs. Goliath (literally) and marked one of the biggest upsets in sports.
The Knights will face the No. 9 seed FAU Owls on Sunday night. As they do, for the third game in a row, their band will not be in attendance.
In fact, the 3,417-student New Jersey university (main campus) doesn’t even have a band. Fairleigh Dickinson’s pep band simply does not exist.
Whenever the Knights take the court — home, away or otherwise — they do not have any brass, drum or woodwind instruments to cheer them on. Until now.
The University of Dayton decided to step in for the First Round. It was actually the Carlisle High School band that played for Fairleigh Dickinson during the First Four on Wednesday, because Dayton’s band thought that its team might be playing in the NIT Tournament.
That didn’t end up being the case. So as Fairleigh Dickinson played against Purdue in Columbus, Ohio, the Flyer Pep Band traveled one hour east to play on the No. 16 seed’s behalf.
Dr. Willie Morris, who has led the Flyer Pep Band since 1993, asked Fairleigh Dickinson for the score of its fight song on Friday morning. They rehearsed it that day, and added it to a mix of songs that they already knew by heart.
The Knights didn’t even know what it was. The players didn’t even know their own fight song!
I had to tell them, ‘Hey guys, this is your fight song. You might want to clap to it.’ We played it for them so much tonight, I think they’ve got it now.Dr. Morris, via Dayton Daily News
Morris and his band even changed the words to their own cheers for Fairleigh Dickinson. They were a big part of the greatest upset in March Madness history.
And 30 minutes after the Knights won on Friday, Morris got a text asking if his band could return for the Round of 32. They obliged, and the Flyer Pep Band will try to help the lowest-remaining seed become the first-ever No. 16 seed to reach the Sweet Sixteen.