Dr. WJ Julian, longtime Director of Bands at UT passes - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dr. WJ Julian, longtime Director of Bands at UT passes

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Dr. WJ Julian, longtime Director of Bands at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, passed away Tuesday evening.

For 32 years beginning in 1961, he and his Pride of the Southland band were the face of the music department, the university, and the state at events and venues across the nation and around the world. From football games at home and away, to appearances bowl games and presidential inaugural parades Dr. Julian lead the way.

Taking the reins in 1961, he grew the program, redesigned the uniforms, and developed more than one gameday tradition still visible at Neyland Stadium today. In 1965, he and Coach Doug Dickey came up with the band opening the 'T' for the team's entrance onto the field. Then, in 1972, after a great reaction to a new tune called "Rocky Top," he decided to add the song to the music folder, permanently.

The Band Room at the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center on the Knoxville campus bears Julian's name. Current Director of Bands Dr. Don Ryder said, "We lost a legend today. To quote John Ward: 'Dr. Julian put the T in Tennessee.' He will be missed."

A statement released by the Band Alumni Board reads, in part, "Dr. Julian will be greatly missed, but his spirit lives on through the lives he touched and his standard of excellence is preserved through the program he brought to prominence: the University of Tennessee Pride of the Southland Marching Band."

Dr. WJ Julian was 92 years old.

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