Penn State University


What is a famous pre-game drill today was once met with resistance when it was introduced in 1965. Ned C. Deihl, then the Blue Band’s assistant director, created the Floating Lions drill using moving figurines. The band then performed the drill during halftime of the Penn State-Pitt game. The following year marked the first in an ongoing tradition of performing the drill during the pre-game show. To execute their trademark move, the Blue Band spells out the word LIONS across the field then reverses the drill halfway through to complete a 180 degree rotation of the word LIONS.

The drum major flip became a tradition practically by accident. The flip was first performed by Jeff Robertson in 1971. Robertson, uncomfortable with the typical drum major baton tosses, decided to surprise the crowd by doing a backflip instead. Fans loved it and because of the overwhelmingly positive response, Robertson decided to keep the flip in the routine. In 1975, the next drum major Eric Felack chose not to perform the flip, eliciting boo’s from the crowd. Since Felack, every drum major has performed the pre-game flip, which later evolved to a running front flip followed by a split. Finally, in the 1980s a second flip at the south end of the field was added. Today, the flips provide more than just entertainment to Penn State fans, who believe the success or failure of the flip can predict the outcome of the game: the belief is that if two standing flips are performed before the game, then PSU will be victorious.


PSU Drum Major: Making The Band