Chandler couple Paul and Jacque Koch spent the winter supporting a Grand Canyon University (GCU) athletic program that has reached new levels of prominence. At the same time, the Kochs have revived two accompanying programs that have proven to be a key component to the fan experience.
During the Antelopes’ inaugural season in NCAA Division I basketball, the Kochs added a vital component to the atmosphere by coaching the school’s band and dance team. Paul accomplished that objective by picking music that kept the crowd engaged throughout the game.
“I wanted to create a better culture where students and the community can listen to great music while experiencing the game,” Paul said.
Prior to coming to GCU, Paul was the director of bands and created the Perry High School program when it opened in 2007. He was also the creative director of the Phoenix Suns’ PHX Percussion from 2005 to 2010.
Before all that, Paul served as the drum line coach at McClintock High School. He met Jacque at McClintock in 2001, and they married in 2002. During their time together, both Kochs earned master’s degrees in education and coached at Arizona State University.
Paul’s connection with Grand Canyon came first back in 2012 when he accepted the position as band director. He currently directs more than 100 students in five GCU bands: the Thundering Heard Pep Band, the Thunder Big Band, Percussion Ensemble, Wild Ensemble and the Symphonic Band. He also teaches courses in instrumental music and supervises future music educators.
Jacque joined two months after Paul and coaches the school’s 14-member dance team, which competes in events inside and outside Arizona. Jacque’s dance-team students had their first national competition in California at the 20th annual USA Collegiate Cheerleading and Dance Championships on March 23.
When she’s not coaching the team, Jacque is a member of the adjunct faculty and supervisor for student teachers and works with the dance education program. She also serves as the committee chair for the Arizona National Honors Society for Dance Arts, which is one of 25 chapters in the country and is active in the Arizona Dance Educator Association.
Now that they’re working together, the Kochs coordinate with their respective programs to produce material to add more depth to the game experience. One way the couple attempts to do so is match the music Paul’s band performs with the dance team’s routine in order to, as Paul said, emphasize a specific moment during the game.
Thus far, the couple has enjoyed providing that energetic ambiance to games, but the experience at Grand Canyon has worked out as something of a dream for Paul and Jacque.
“Every day is different, fun and exciting,” said Jacque.
• Kelly Kleber is a senior at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is an intern with the Tribune this semester. Reach her at email@example.com.