Published March 19, 2015
Casey Bunce has a fever and the only prescription is — well, you know the rest, at least if you’re familiar with the “Saturday Night Live” sketch whose catch phrase “more cowbell” has been part of the pop culture lexicon since 2000.
Bunce, a sophomore civil engineering major from Syracuse, is the man behind the cowbell at UB home basketball and football games, leading the Bulls faithful in a raucous chant of “Let’s Go Bulls!” He was part of the sizable Buffalo contingent that saw the Bulls win the MAC men’s basketball tournament in Cleveland last weekend. And he’ll be bringing the cowbell and cheering them on again Friday in Columbus when UB makes its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Bunce says he’s proud to be an integral part of a new tradition at UB athletic events, especially one that gets True Blue — UB’s student section—fired up. “It’s been a blast,” he says.
The cowbell dates back to the 2006-07 season when Matt Bacoulis, a member of the UB football team, would run over to the True Blue section before football games and hand the cowbell off to a student in the crowd. The cowbell then started making appearances at basketball games.
There were other cowbellers before Bunce — he says he’s the third one — but the whole thing seems to have really taken off this year with him at the helm. It’s not uncommon to see fans at UB games holding signs reading “More Cowbell.” And Bunce, who serves on the True Blue e-board, is happy to give fans what they want.
The whole chant takes about 20 seconds. To get the crowd’s attention after an exciting play, Bunce bangs the cowbell with four quarter-note hits, then goes into the rhythm and fans chant “Let’s Go Bulls!” Bunce only does it when there’s a break in the action.
“It changes the whole flow of the game,” he says. “You can feel the energy of the crowd.” Players, apparently, feel it, too. Bunce says he’s heard Bulls coach Bobby Hurley and a few student-athletes talk about the cowbell.
At the MAC tournament last weekend, Pep Band member Rob Slaughter joined Bunce because, as Bunce says, “Two cowbells are better than one.”
Surely, Christopher Walken’s character in the “SNL” sketch would agree.