Beloved band leader renews contract with VCU

pep-band-1Liz Butterfield
Online News Editor

VCU pep band leader Ryan Kopacsi isn’t leaving after all.

Kopacsi and VCU Athletics agreed to terms after the band leader last week announced his retirement via Facebook. Following an emotional and somewhat uncertain week for Peppas fans, VCU Athletics tweeted yesterday that Kopacsi’s contract would be renewed for the following season.



Kopacsi confirmed the agreement in a post on his Facebook page.

“I’d like to thank the people who have supported me through this time,” he said. “I would also like to personally thank VCU President Dr. Rao, VCU Athletic Director Ed McLaughlin and the entire VCU family for recognizing the importance of The Peppas to our community and working extremely hard through this unique situation to ensure my relationship with The Peppas remains intact.”

Kopacsi has led the Peppas for the last 15 seasons. He announced on August 12 he would leave the band, but did not give a reason why. Following the news, The band leader received support from across the country and national media outlets picked up on the story. A Keep Ryan at VCU Facebook page garnered 2,300 likes in five days.

“We feel that Ryan and the Peppa’s have played a major role in the Havoc Atmosphere and success the program has enjoyed in recent years,” said friend and manager of the page Jeff Cherry over Facebook messenger. “Upon learning of Ryan’s decision to leave the program, we felt it was necessary to rally support among the donors in hopes that the two parties would reconsider their positions and come to an agreement that would keep Ryan and the Peppa’s together.”

Some commenters suggested Kopacsi may have manipulated VCU athletics in a ploy for an increased salary, but Cherry disagrees.

“It was not an idle threat. He told them he was gone and he meant it. In fact he told them several times. This was not a stunt or a plan,” he said. “I would guess VCU realized he was actually serious and they came back with a package he could not refuse.”

The Keep Ryan at VCU page reported yesterday that Kopacsi’s extended contract would include a school-sponsored fundraising campaign to help raise funds for the band, aiming to raise $100,000 over the coming years.

The band received national attention during the VCU basketball team’s Final Four run in 2011, and were featured on the Today show before last spring’s quarterfinal basketball game against St. Joseph’s.




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