Times staff report
Growing up in the Smithfield community, just blocks away from Birmingham’s Legion Field, De’One M. Gregg was exposed to the Magic City Classic at an early age. The Alabama State University (ASU) cheer coach attended his first Classic at the age of 12 and hasn’t missed a game since.
“I participated in my first [Classic] parade as a percussionist in the Lincoln Middle School band, and [at that] point I realized the magnitude of the game,” he said. “Seeing so many different bands and the crowds come together for this game made me realize how huge this game was.”
Gregg, 38, will be at Legion Field again when the 78th Magic City Classic kicks off on Saturday, October 26. He’s seen the game from all angles, beginning with his middle school band experience.
“As a coach and former ASU cheerleader, when I think of the Magic City Classic, I think of the team support,” Gregg said. “Our main goal is to support the football team and cheer our Hornets on to victory. We love to bring that good ol’ Bama State spirit with us everywhere we go.”
This is the game the school every year looks forward to winning on the field—and on the sidelines, Gregg said.
“In bringing spirit and enthusiasm, we also pride ourselves in showing up the other team,” he said. “We strive to out-tumble them, out-stunt them, out-dance them, and out-cheer them. At the end of the day, we all represent [Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs)] and love our rivals, but we’re coming to beat them—in football, fan support, band, and cheer.”