Unprecedented Growth

As membership surpassed 300 students in1981, the season was highlighted by a trip to Ohio State University to perform at the football game. Dr. Whitcomb conducted the combined bands in the National Anthem, which Dr. Shellahamer described as the ultimate experience. This same year alumnus David Westberry took over the position of The Voice of the Marching Chiefs. The next year Shellahamer began working on his doctoral degree at Ohio State, and Andre Arrouet became Interim Director.

In 1982, Sports Illustrated featured the Marching Chiefs in an eight page picture essay in which SI declared that, “Florida State occasionally may lose a football game, but never a halftime show” (December 6, 1982).

Also in 1982, Dr. James Croft added the traditional end of the year PRISM concert to be included in the annual Tri-State Band Festival and Conducting Conference. Dr. Shellahamer returned to FSU in 1984, and the Chiefs, along with the Gator Band, performed in Super Bowl XVIII in Tampa, Florida. The Marching Chiefs reached another milestone in 1988, when membership surpassed 400 students, thus making the Chiefs the world’s largest collegiate marching band.

In 1989, Robert Sheldon took over as Director and adopted the uniforms that the Chiefs wore through the 2000 season. That same year, an effort was spearheaded by several students to officially dedicate Chiefs’ field as the Manley Whitcomb Memorial Field, Home of the Marching Chiefs. Their labors bore fruit later in 1992.