UNDER THE RADAR: The best groups of UMHB you may not be watching

Published in the September 28, 2016 issue of The Bells


Fans scream, the smell of popcorn floats through the air, and sweat rolls down the players’ faces. One thing’s on their mind: getting the ball to the end zone.

The Cru junior varsity football has gotten off to a great start to the season as they are currently 3-0. Next Monday, the Cru will take on Wayland Baptist University in Clyde, Texas.

The JV football team consists of approximately 70 players, most of them being freshmen with several sophomores.

“Our young guys do a great job coming out here and going through the same practice as the varsity guys do…But then they have their chance to shine and do their thing on Monday nights,” JV head football coach Keith Mullins said.

Head Coach Mullins believes that being on the junior varsity prepares younger players for the intensity of varsity ball.

“The JV team prepares a player for varsity by giving him playing experience in a game type setting,” Mullins said.

JV football player sophomore Exercise Science major and mathematics minor Derek Sides’ love for the game motivates him to be a better player on and off the field.

“I chose to play for the Cru for the love of the game,” Sides said.  “I have a passion for sports, mainly football. Football helps me grow physically, mentally, and spiritually.”

Sides believes the team has great potential for the remainder of the season.

“We have so much talent and teamwork. It is more of a family rather than a team. We have the potential to do something great.”



University staff knew the Crusader Marching Band needed a change when the 28-ensemble band remained stagnant for several years due to lack of interest and time, so six years ago the Blackshirt Cru Spirit Band was born.

“Our primary purpose is to support our athletic teams on the field and the basketball area,” Blackshirt Cru Spirit Band Director Nils Landsberg said. “But our main purpose during the game is to basically be the soundtrack to what’s happening on the field.”

Since its switch from marching band to spirit band, the band boasts 79 members of various majors and backgrounds.

“One thing that is unique about the spirit band is that we’re the largest spirit student organization on campus. And there aren’t just music majors in there,” Landsberg said. “Having the opportunity to be in front of an ensemble that is made of some many walks of life and for some many different reasons but we all have the same of making music together is just awesome.”

During football season, the band promotes spirit by performing at half-time, during the game, at pep rallies, and the Cruise.

One tradition that students and faculty look forward to is the singing of the alma mater in four-part harmony by the band members.

“When I came here, the alma mater was one single melodic line, “ Landsberg said. “In fall 2007, Jessie Whitis, one of our associate piano professors, composed what is the vocal tradition of what was then the Crusader Marching Band, but it has been passed on to the spirit band… I’m a firm believer that it’s important to pay tribute to your institution, whether we win or lose.”

Drum and music education double major Garrett Wallace enjoys the fellowship found between the band members.

“I absolutely love the culture that we have here,” Wallace said. “It’s a super special organization. We thrive on having a blast out in the stands, and we really work to put on a good show at halftime and just support the Cru.”



5, 6, 7, 8. The Sader Belles, in their glitzy purple uniforms, dance across the football field as the spirit band plays I Don’t Care, as made popular by Fall Out Boy.

“The Sader Belles are here to promote school spirit and to get the crowd entertained at basketball and football games,” sophomore psychology major Shelby Rogers said.

The Sader Belles is the dance time that performs at all home football games, pep rallies, and home basketball games.

Since coming to the university three years ago, coach Christy Hawkins has been responsible for the Sader Belles’ increased involvement in football games.

“I love how I have transitioned the team from only performing at halftime to being more visible at football games and doing sideline routines throughout the game and still performing at halftime,” Hawkins said. “It’s a lot more work, but the girls get it done.”

Sader Belles also complete on a national level at the ADTS Collegiate Nationals competition. Last season they won the National Championship.

“That was a first in Sader Belle history,” Coach Christy Hawkins said. “I was so proud of the girls and they were thrilled.”

Through Sader Belles, Rogers has formed friendships and gotten a chance to cheer on her fellow Crusaders through her passion, dancing.

“I’ve just always loved dancing, and I couldn’t imagine coming to college and stopping,” Rogers said. “It’s been a really good way for me to get plugged in…I’ve had so much fun meeting people and the football games are a blast.”

Watch the Sader Belles perform at the Cru’s next home game against McMurry University Oct. 1.


Author: Lauren Lum

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