Though his first season as head volleyball coach at Ohio University has yet to begin, Ryan Theis
is aware of a special off-court advantage that his team enjoys.
"A major draw of accepting this position is the environment in which Ohio volleyball plays," Theis says. "Our home atmosphere is one of the best in the country, and we have the community, the students and the Alumni Varsity Band to thank for that."
Having spent the last three seasons in the program, senior setter Jill DeArmond shares that sentiment.
"Ohio volleyball wouldn't be `Ohio volleyball' without the band," she says. "The energy and atmosphere they create at The Convo is amazing!"
Indeed, the first two years of Ohio's newest spirit group have been a rousing success, and fans both in and away from Athens have taken notice.
While most Bobcat fans only have the opportunity to enjoy Marching 110 alumni each year at Homecoming, the Alumni Varsity Band (AVB) entertains crowds at home volleyball matches throughout the fall. Started in 2006 with the assistance of former head coach Geoff Carlston, the AVB boasts 20-25 Marching 110 alums who routinely play for home matches, as well as the Mid-American Conference Tournament. AVB members span the decades (in graduation years), as well as represent all directors of the Marching 110, current and former.
The combination of a highly-talented team and a spirited group of alumni musicians has created an atmosphere that has become the envy of other schools in the Mid-American Conference. The AVB has performed at the last two Mid-American Conference Volleyball Tournaments, held at the SeaGate Centre in Toledo, to rave reviews.
After just two seasons, the Ohio volleyball team and the AVB have developed a bond based on mutual respect, pride and affection.
"The team truly appreciates everything they do and the hard work they put in to being great," DeArmond says.
"It's awesome having them at all of our home games and was really cool how they traveled with us to the MAC Championships," junior outside hitter Ellen Herman adds. "All of us get fired up to have them supporting our team and adding to the energy."
Band members, in turn, value the relationship they have developed with the players.
"It's very humbling when parents come up to one of us with tears in their eyes telling us how much we mean to the players," Aaron Romero says. Romero played a major role in organizing the AVB, and is one of three AVB members who have not missed an Ohio home or MAC Tournament game since the AVB was formed.
Trumpet player Steve Conrad has noticed the same cohesiveness between the team and AVB.
"I've heard many of the volleyball players talk of how the Alumni Varsity Band adds energy and enthusiasm to their matches and creates an environment unlike any other in the MAC," he says. "Having been in the AVB for two years, I can say that our energy comes from the enthusiasm generated by the Ohio volleyball players."
"The players have taken ownership and said that the AVB is `their band'," Conrad continues. "We in the AVB take that seriously and try to do our very best to enhance the environment at The Convo, and to cheer on `our team' to another Bobcat win. We are all looking forward to another exciting year cheering for the Bobcats."
Calling other 110 Alums ...
The AVB is beginning to receive requests to play at other events, but will need more members to accommodate them. If you are a 110 alum interested in the AVB, contact Romero at email@example.com.