The DDDB (Down and Dirty Dawg Band) is the Pep Band of UMBC. It was started in 1998 when Dr. Charles Brown, UMBC Athletic Director, asked Mr. Jari Villanueva to put together a group to perform at home basketball games. Jari Villanueva was a member of The United States Air Force Band in Washington and known for his musical organizational and conducting skills and he happily took on the challenge. Up until then the band had been an ad hoc student group formed to play at some games. Jari recruited UMBC students to perform in the band and it has grown from a 12-piece ensemble into a much larger one.
In 2010, Matt Basch was hired as the new band director after Jari announced his retirement from UMBC. Matt, a former student leader and percussionist in the band, expanded the band into a marching unit complete with a full drumline, forming the UMBC Down and Dirty Dawg Drumline in 2011. The drumline played with the band during parades and other special events, and during the remainder of the year, they performed at a variety of events, including midnight madness, hockey, soccer, lacrosse, and basketball games.
In 2015, Paul J. Wetzstein was hired as the new band director after Matt was offered a new position in Hawaii. Paul, a former student leader and trombonist in the band, oversaw 4 glorious years of athletic achievements, including the men’s first-ever 16-over-1, and helped usher in the new era of athletics in UMBC’s new Events Center.
In 2019, Costas Likakis was hired as the new band director after Paul took up a new position in Washington, DC. Costas, a long-time trumpet section and unofficial student leader in the band, is glad to be back in the fold and looks forward to continuing the great tradition that is the Down and Dirty Dawg Band.
The name “Down and Dirty Dawg Band” was given to the band by the members to reflect the music and attitude of the group. The band plays popular and jazz funk charts and has grown into a core membership of highly motivated performers led by a student leader organization.
The group performs in the stands at home games of the Retrievers Men’s and Women’s Basketball games and has been recognized as a significant contributor to spirit shown at events. In addition to basketball games, the band has performed at ground breaking, ribbon cutting and homecoming celebrations as well as the popular Midnight Madness held every year. They have also played for rallies honoring the champion UMBC Chess Team and at the opening swim meet at the school. They have performed on WJZ’s Morning Edition, ABC’s Good Morning America, and NBC’s The Today Show.
Membership in the band is open to all UMBC students, grad and undergrad. We are always looking for good musicians with school spirit to join our ranks!