VCU renews pep band leader’s contract

Posted at 9:54 AM, Aug 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-20 13:35:05-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The enthusiastic leader of VCU’s pep band The Peppas is staying at the university after previously announcing that  he was leaving.

Ryan Kopacsi, who has led school’s nationally-known pep band for 15 seasons, has agreed to a contract extension as band director.

VCU Director of Athletics Ed McLaughlin made the announcement that Kopacsi was going to stay last Friday.

“Since my arrival last summer, it is clear to me how much value The Peppas bring to VCU Athletics and the university community. After several months of negotiations, we have agreed on a contract with Ryan Kopacsi to continue serving as director of the band,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin said the agreement includes a salary bump, compensation for undergraduate classes increase and funding for an assistant.

Additionally, McLaughlin said The Peppas would have an increased presence at events, including VCU Athletics corporate and donor events.

A social media firestorm erupted last week after Kopacsi posted on his Facebook page that he was stepping away from the band “which has been revered and adored by many.”

Rams fans were not happy about the news and created a Facebook page entitled Keep Ryan at VCU. VCU students, alumni and Rams fans posted their thoughts to the page.

As the VCU basketball team’s national profile rose with NCAA tournament appearances and a 2011 run to the Final Four, so did Kopacsi’s. His over-the-top and high-energy performances made it difficult for television announcers to ignore the impact VCU’s pep band seemed to have on the Rams and their opponents.