The two biggest heavyweights in college football will be squaring off for the national championship on Monday night, as Louisiana State University takes on Clemson.
The two teams have a couple things in common. For one, they’re both called the Tigers.
And for another, they both have band directors who graduated from Michigan.
So while we won’t be hearing “The Victors” on Monday night, both band directors know the song pretty well.
LSU band director Damon Talley earned his master’s degree from U-M and served as an assistant director of the Michigan Marching Band. Clemson band director Mark Spede, meanwhile, played in the Michigan Marching Band before graduating from U-M in 1984.
Talley went to Texas for his undergrad degree, and then earned his Master of Music degree in Wind Conducting from Michigan. He later earned his doctorate at Texas.
Before coming to LSU, Talley worked on the faculty at the U-M School of Music, serving as the marching band’s assistant director.
In addition to being a U-M graduate and former professor, Talley has another strong Great Lakes State connection – he serves as a conductor at the Interlochen Arts Camp near Traverse City.
Over at Clemson, meanwhile, Mark Spede is the director of bands. He earned his bachelor’s degree from U-M in 1984 and played in the Michigan Marching Band. Among the players who was on the team during Spede’s tenure at U-M: former quarterback and current coach Jim Harbaugh.