Monday night’s contest between the Kansas Jayhawks and Oklahoma Sooners marks the final time fans will see Frank Mason III, Landen Lucas and Tyler Self in Allen Fieldhouse. It also marks the last time many members of the Men’s Basketball Pep Band will perform for its home crowd.
“It’s sentimental,” KU associate director of bands Sharon Toulouse said. “That’s the best word I can say for it. It’s emotional, it’s a memory those kids are never going to forget.”
One of those students playing his last tune in the bleachers is senior Jeff Doolittle. The senior was heavily involved with the KU marching and pep bands since he arrived on campus.
“When I came to KU, I knew I wanted to be involved with the band,” Doolittle said. “I began with marching band and worked my way up to the pep band for basketball. Just being a part of the KU basketball game day experience is such an amazing thing.”
Toulouse watched Doolittle transform a regular band member as a freshman to a leading sound as a senior.
“He’s our anchor in the band really,” Toulouse said. “Seeing him grow from a section player to the lead player has been so neat to see. He’s a strong, strong player for our group.”
It hasn’t quite hit Doolittle yet that it’s his final game in Allen Fieldhouse. He believes that moment will come after the final buzzer sounds.
“After every game, we play ‘Home on the Range,’ the state song of Kansas, and it might hit me when we start to play that,” Doolittle said. “It’ll probably hit me then that this is my last time playing in Allen Fieldhouse, but it’s been a great four years and I’m excited to keep going into the post-season.”
After the basketball season wraps up, Doolittle still may not be finished as a member of the KU band.
“KU has alumni bands that come back for Homecoming during football season,” Doolittle said. “Then they have an alumni band for basketball season for one game. So I’d really like to come back and do those, too.”
Seniors of the band will be honored at Monday night’s game during halftime.