T is for Tuba: Pep band member loves his Tops

Bowling Green senior Matt McCay has been playing the tuba since he was in fifth grade, but the main reason he joined the WKU pep band was to be close to WKU Athletics . “I’ve been wanting to play for the Tops ever since I was little,” Matt said. “I get to travel a lot and see other things that most students don’t get to see.”

Trey Crumbie

ith the WKU Hilltoppers playing in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl this past winter and then qualifying for the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship for the second year in a row, enthusiasm for WKU athletics is at an unprecedented high.

Few, however, can say they have as much enthusiasm for the Tops as Bowling Green senior Matt McCay.

The 22-year-old is in pep-band where he plays the tuba, which he has been playing for 13 years.

“I’ve always enjoyed it,” Matt said. “It’s definitely kept me well-rounded. I feel like with all my different interests, I can connect with a lot of people.”

Matt is also a huge fan of WKU.

“I’ve been around Western my whole life,” Matt said. “It’s in my blood.”

Matt said he has many good memories as a fan of the Hilltoppers, such as the game-winning shot made by Ty Rogers in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament against Drake University.

“That was definitely unbelievable,” he said.

Matt said that his family legacy played a part in him attending WKU.

“My whole family has gone to Western,” Matt said. “When I was applying for college, I didn’t even have to think about it.”

Matt’s father, David McCay, an alumni of Western, can vouch for his son’s enthusiasm.

“Sometimes he gets so enthusiastic, he doesn’t think about what he’s doing,” the Bowling Green native said.

Matt and David regularly attend the athletic events at WKU.

“It’s basically the only team that we’ve ever really followed closely,” David said. “We just love Western.”

Matt is also the Equipment Manager for the football team and has been for the past four years. Matt said he became interested in the position after talking to current Character Coach, Sean Pugh.

“I like what I had heard and I just wanted to get involved,” Matt said.

Matt was also involved in the Big Red Marching Band, but had to leave in order to make time for his Equipment Manager position.

“Band camp was about to start and I had to put the brakes on that,” Matt said.

Even though he no longer plays in the marching band, Matt said that he thinks playing the tuba has been a positive force in his life.

“It was an instrument he picked up on and he was very good at playing,” David said. “So he just stuck with it.”

David said his son started playing the tuba in the fifth grade.

Bowling Green graduate student Amy Spears is a friend of Matt and first met him in high school where they were in band together. Spears has witnessed Matt’s enthusiasm for the tops first-hand.

“There was a bad call,” The 22-year-old music education major said. “And he just started yelling and jumping up and down.”

Spears also said Matt likes to belly dance to distract the other team during free throws.

Matt said he was surprised when he found out that the Hilltoppers made it to the tournament for a second straight year after winning the Sun Belt Conference.

“Never doubt the heart attack Tops,” Matt said.