“Pride of Dixie” study group released final report to Kitts

“Pride of Dixie” study group released final report to Kitts

Managing Editor Karah Wilson

A study group met three times last semester to discuss possible changes and recommendations for the unofficial Pride of Dixie marching band nickname.

According to a Sept. 14, 2018 Flor-Ala article, during the halftime show Sept. 8, 2018, at Alabama A&M, band director Lloyd Jones did not announce the band as the “Pride of Dixie,” a nickname given to the band in 1965 by a former band director. The band was referred to as “The Pride” for a short period in the 1980s.

The same article said the study group would decide if the marching band should change the nickname, but no decision has been made regarding a change.

The study group sent their final report and suggestions to the University Executive Council Dec. 18, 2018. The report gave three suggestions:

“1. The Group understands the issue surrounding the marching band nickname is a complex, difficult and potentially volatile one and realizes there is little or no consensus on the issue. There are sound arguments and opinions on both sides of the issue and all parties should be treated with respect and dignity.

2. Whatever the name or nickname of the marching band, the paramount concern should be ensuring the quality and overall “brand” of the organization, as it represents the university at myriad venues, shows and events, locally, regionally and nationally. The marching band has forged a reputation of excellence in the collegiate band community and beyond and is comprised of dedicated students who must be supported.

3. The university should proceed slowly if a nickname change is to occur, utilizing a phased, organic approach and involving band members as much as possible.”

Bryan Rachal, director of communications and marketing, said President Kenneth Kitts and the Executive Council have discussed the issue further and are gathering additional information and feedback from various stakeholders.”

“‘POD’ is a moniker the marching band gave itself in the 1960s,” Rachal said. “It was never officially sanctioned or approved by any university body or actions. As always, the university is committed to supporting the marching band and its members as it represents the university locally, regionally and nationally.”

Rachal said Kitts and the Executive Council may have more information to share in the coming months.

Kitts and Jones declined to comment on the report.