MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Gopher football team takes the field at TCF Bank Stadium Thursday night for the season opener.

But there's some history being made by a different squad on the field.

The University Marching Band will step its way right into its 125th year as The Pride of Minnesota.

New uniforms, new hats...new director.

"I'm thrilled. I'm so excited."

Betsy McCann will be the first woman to ever lead the U's marching band. In fact, she's the first woman to lead any Big Ten Conference marching band.

University of Minnesota marching band.
University of Minnesota marching band.

"It's been really great feedback I've gotten from this," McCann said. "I've had letters from women all over the country who are sharing stories -- a lot of women in my parents generation when women first began to be able to march in the first place, so It's been great to make those connections."

She's no stranger to the program. McCann marched here as an undergrad, playing alto saxophone. She came back three years ago as an assistant before literally stepping up the ladder to the top job.

"She's a natural and we absolutely love having her as our director," said one band member.

"It's been great to see her throughout these past few years and now her taking over the band has been an incredible experience," said another band member.

University of Minnesota marching band.
University of Minnesota marching band.

But don't expect her to ease into the job. Professor McCann plans to blow the lid off the place her first outing as head band director.

"During our band show we've had a fireworks team working on making a fireworks that will go along with the show and follow the music and extenuate what we're doing on the field."

She may be excited about her history making role, but you'd never know it. McCann is all about the 320 musicians on the field.

"These guys have worked so hard for so many hours and they're just ready to perform," she said.