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Yeo rounds out group of finalists for ASU faculty, staff's 'Most Spirited Sun Devil'

Douglas Yeo and Sparky
October 14, 2013

Though Douglas Yeo hails from the East Coast, he’ll be the first to assure you he’s wholeheartedly committed to the Sun Devil way of life. After a 27-year career as a bass trombonist with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestras, Yeo headed to ASU in the summer of 2012 and never looked back.

Now a trombone professor in the School of Music, within the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Yeo says he is making up for lost time by being an example to the next generation of Sun Devils of how having pride and embracing ASU’s commitment to excellence can help to make a difference in the world.

Yeo’s truly sincere enthusiasm for the university is evident in every aspect of his life: his office décor, his car plate and stickers, his season tickets, his maroon and gold duds, and even his trombone choir, which recorded the ASU fight song for its YouTube Channel. (Listen here.)

Congratulations Douglas, and thank you for being a great example of Sun Devil spirit!

To learn more about this die-hard Devil, check out our Q&A with him, below.

Q: How do you show your Sun Devil spirit?

A: Where do I begin?! My office in the School of Music is full of vintage ASU football game posters, as well as posters from the current season's sports (at the moment that means football, volleyball and soccer). My wife and I have four season tickets to ASU football – we sit in section 203 under Pat Tillman's name – and take different friends to each game. Nobody shouts, “Come on Sun Devils!” louder than me; just ask my pastor, who sees my mouth move but no words to hymns coming out of my mouth on Sunday morning – I'm hoarse! I also am organizing a team of School of Music trombone and tuba/euphonium students to take part in Pat's Run in the spring.

In my office, I have plastic trombones in ASU colors and the ASU Desert Bones Trombone Choir has recorded the ASU fight song, "Maroon and Gold" for our YouTube Channel (It's gotten over 1,000 views!). I have a Sun Devil plate on my car, fork logo stickers everywhere you look at home and work, and a wardrobe that is maroon and gold through and through!

Q: Why is having spirit important?

A: Having taught at an East Coast school of music for almost 30 years – a place at which the words "school spirit" had no real meaning – it is exhilarating to be at ASU, where students, faculty, staff and alum have genuine pride in their school. That pride is well placed. It's not just about beating the Wildcats – although that is really important – it's about celebrating all that is excellent about getting an education at ASU. Our students and graduates are making a difference in the world, and showing pride in ASU and all it represents is a way of telling others that we are dedicated to excellence. If you haven't been to other schools, you can't really appreciate how different the spirit is here.

Q: Why do you love being a Sun Devil?

A: We at ASU are a community – students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, family - who share a common bond. We want to be the best, work the hardest and help the most. We make an impact. When Sun Devils get together, that common sense of purpose is really evident. We may be the biggest university in the country, but Sun Devil Nation is like a tight-knit family. Meet another Sun Devil anywhere in the world and you’ll find that you both immediately make the fork symbol; that's community.

Q: What is your favorite ASU tradition?

A: The Sparky video on the jumbotrons before football games. You really feel the anticipation as Sparky comes to earth, emerges from the Grand Canyon, leads a haboob across Phoenix and walks along the HOV lane of the I-10. When he crushes the opposing team's bus, the roar of the crowd is primal. It's one of the most exciting college traditions I've ever seen; unforgettable!

Q: What ASU event/s do you most look forward to?

A: The first home football game of the season. Waiting, waiting, waiting all winter, spring and summer, hope for the future, following the new recruits and training camp, watching the marching band practice, and then: the first game is here. All of that pent-up anticipation pours out and we're off to another season. When the band takes the field for the first time, the sound of "Fight Devils Down the Field" rings out and is really the official start of what we know will be another great year at ASU.

Q: What is your fondest ASU experience?

A: This season's ASU/Wisconsin game. The stadium was full and the student section was in full throat. All of the confusion on the field in the final minute could be attributed to the deafening roar of the crowd. It was a thrill to be a part of that, inspiring the team and coming out with a signature win for the season. If there was any doubt that Sun Devil fans make a difference to the team, it was dispelled on that epic evening!

Q: What makes you the Most Spirited Sun Devil?

A: Like President Crow and Coach Graham, I am committed to excellence here at ASU. My students know that I have high standards for them and they rise to the challenge. While I love wearing my ASU gear wherever I am around the world, to me, Sun Devil Spirit is pride in everything associated with ASU: academics, arts, sports and the whole ASU community package. I am thrilled and proud to be part of this great tradition and community of Sun Devils. I may not be an alum, but as a faculty member, I've been grafted in to Sun Devil life and share it with everyone I meet. I am so happy to be here.

Q: Maroon or Gold?

A: Gold. Except when I'm wearing maroon.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share about ASU spirit/Sun Devil pride?

A: Stand at the fountain at the MU any day at the change of classes and look around. There are thousands of students on the move to class, and most of them are wearing maroon and gold. To me, that says it all: We are Sun Devils and we are proud! Go Devils!