Winston-Salem State climbs to no. 1 in ESPN Band of The Year

Winston-Salem State made a huge jump in the Division II/NAIA ESPN Band of The Year rankings. See the new top 10.

The latest rankings for the ESPN Band of The Year HBCU band championship are in and Winston-Salem State University has made the leap to no. 1. 

The Winston-Salem State University Red Sea of Sound jumped up from no. 10 to no. 1, overtaking Langston University in the latest ESPN Band of The Year D2/NAIA rankings released exclusively to HBCU Gameday. WSSU ranks first in picture, drill/design and top five in several other categories.

The rankings have been cut from the top 15 to the top 10 programs in their latest iteration. 

10 Morehouse College “House of Funk”

9 Kentucky State “Mighty Marching Thorobreds”

8 Miles College “Marching Purple Machine”

7 Benedict College “Band of Distinction” 

6 Langston University “Marching Pride” 

5 Tuskegee University “Marching Crimson Pipers”

4 Central State University  “Invincible Marching Marauders”

3 Virginia State University “Trojan Explosion”

2 Florida Memorial  “The Roar” 

1 Winston-Salem State University “Red Sea of Sound”


1 Florida Memorial
2 Morehouse
3 Albany State
4 Clark Atlanta
5 Savannah State
6 Tuskegee
7 Langston 
8 Winston-Salem State
9 Virginia State
10 Allen 

Benedict College, ESPN Band of The Year

Drum Majors
1 Virginia State
2 Elizabeth City State
3 Savannah State
4 Benedict
5 ‘Skegee
6 Central State
7 Bowie State
8 Kentucky State
9 Morehouse
10 Fort Valley State


1 Florida Memorial
2 Winston-Salem State
3 Central State 
4 Miles
5 Langston
6 Tuskegee
7 Virginia State
8 Benedict
9 Fayetteville State
10 Morehous

Elizabeth City State


1 Central State
2 Langston
3 Elizabeth City State
4 Virginia State
5 Winston-Salem State
6 Florida Memorial
7 Kentucky State
8 Fort Valley State
9 Tuskegee
10 Albany State 

Picture/Drill, Design

1 Winston-Salem State
2 Tuskegee
3 Virginia State4 Kentucky State
5 Fort Valley State
6 Benedict
7 Florida Memorial
8 Langston
9 Clark Atlanta
10 Bowie State

Performances are judged on an individual basis, with judges giving scores for specific areas only. Bands are encouraged to submit a performance to be judged monthly. The committee is co-chaired by Jackson State Director of Bands Emeritus, Professor Dowell Taylor, and Dr. Julian E. White, FAMU Director of Bands Emeritus. 

The November ranking will list the top five in each division. The final ranking will award the top two teams in each division a shot at the ESPN Band of The Year title, which will be determined Dec. 15 in the Mercedes-Benz Dome in Atlanta, GA with the show starting at 6 PM EST. It will be simulcast on ESPN3 and ESPN Plus. 

Winston-Salem State climbs to no. 1 in ESPN Band of The Year
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


To Top