Female Trailblazer Provides Firsts For The Best Damn Band In The Land


Jan Ebert, 78, of Urbana is surrounded by everything OSU. But she doesn’t just collect Ohio State University trinkets – she’s made history with The Best Damn Band In The Land.  

Two of the great loves of her life – music and The Ohio State University Marching Band.

In fact, you can’t miss her life-size wood cutout of an OSU band member.

“It's very exciting and wonderful to think about.  Those people have been so good to me for so many years,” said Ebert.

And she’s been good to them.

She’s always made time for the organization that caught her ear when she was just a child.

“I love that band,” adds Ebert.

The OSU alum and accomplished musician became secretary of the TBDBITL Alumni Club. She took us back to 1973, the year the band welcomed its first five women.

She made it onto the field to perform even before they did.

The first game of the season came before the band tryouts. Alumni band members took a vote to have Jan join them.

“There was quite a mystery, and they sent me out of the room of the practice - and when I came back, there was back slapping and they came over and said ‘We've decided we want you to be the first woman to march on the field.’ That was so exciting,” she said.

A decade later there was another first for an Ohio State woman when Jan directed the National Anthem. Jan says at the time, Coach Earle Bruce’s wife congratulated her.

“I'm proud of the tradition they have, the confidence they show, and the pride they take in their own work and the band, and I share that.”