Hardcorps: the band behind JSU’s tournament bound basketball teams

Photo courtesy of JSU

Thomas Ashworth, Sports Editor

Pete Mathews Coliseum talking about two things. One is how great Jacksonville State’s basketball teams are, and the other is how great the atmosphere at Pete Mathews Coliseum is.

One of the main contributors of this electrifying atmosphere sits right across from the visiting team’s bench: Jacksonville State’s pep band, Hardcorps.

Whether it’s playing tunes, chanting at the opposing teams’ players or jingling their keys when Jacksonville State’s opponent is down by double digits, you can always count on Hardcorps to be one of the best-sounding and rowdiest pep bands in the south.

“I tell everybody from the start that they really have two responsibilities,” Dr. Jeremy Stovall, Jacksonville State’s assistant director of bands and the director of Hardcorps said. “We want to sound great first and foremost, but just as important is trying to make The Pete even more of a home court advantage for our teams.”

Hardcorps begin preparing almost two months before the basketball season starts, with auditions being held in September.

“We start in September in each year with auditions and we start rehearsing usually in the end of September or the beginning of October,” Stovall said. “We typically have about seven or eight rehearsals and then we have a few performances in the fall.”

Hardcorps is known for the variety of tunes they play, featuring music from a variety of artists including Cameo, the Weeknd, NO BS! Brass Band and more.

“We’ll play some Earth, Wind and Fire or Michael Jackson or Stevie Wonder and stuff like that, but we’ll also play stuff that’s on the radio like Lil Nas X and the Weeknd,” Stovall said. “I want everybody that’s there to enjoy something, so the biggest thing is the variety of music.”

Fans, players and even members of Hardcorps enjoy the variety of music that the band brings to basketball games.

“I’ve really enjoyed getting to go to every game and cheer on both mens and women’s teams. Also getting to play some pretty cool music,” Eli Massey, a trombonist in Hardcorps said.

While the basketball team and the fans appreciate Hardcorps, members of Hardcorps appreciate the basketball teams’ recognition of their work at games. Brandon Huffman, Amanze Ngumezi and other members of both teams have interacted with the band before and after games on multiple occasions.

“I really enjoy seeing the women’s basketball team run up to Hardcorps after a win,” Eric Rush, a trombonist in Hardcorps said. “It really shows us that we are appreciated and we are a tool in the game. Any kind of interaction from either of the teams is always a feel-good moment.”

Hardcorps will travel with the Jacksonville State men’s basketball team to the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Greenville, South Carolina where they will take on the second-seeed Auburn Tigers. This game will be on Friday, March 18 at 11:40 a.m. CST. The game will be broadcast on truTV. 

For those who can’t make it to the game in person, Jacksonville State will be hosting a watch party at Pete Mathews Coliseum. Doors will open at 11:15 a.m. CST is a free event open to the public. Concessions will be available.

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