His carefully selected mixes still play during warm-ups and the basketball band fills in the time that used to be occupied by his beats, but Ball State basketball players still miss the presence of DJ Kenneth Rush.
“Having the DJ at the games changed the entire atmosphere of Worthen,” said Nathalie Fontaine, a player on the women’s basketball team and a junior psychology major. “The crowd seemed more involved and the players seemed more hyped hearing the different mixes he was playing.”
Rush, a junior telecommunications and sales promotions major, only DJed from the beginning of November to the start of December.
Rush gave up his basketball gig before the beginning of this semester, citing “business differences.” Both he and Shawn Sullivan, the director of marketing and promotions for Ball State athletics, said they remain on good terms.
Rush still receives messages from Fontaine saying how the teams miss his music.
Rush felt that his music especially moved players like Fontaine and Jeremie Tyler, a freshman sports administration major.
“He brings a lot to the table,” said Tyler. “He puts some new school and music from a little back, but more in our generation and our players like that kind of stuff.”
It was making an impact that attracted Rush to the glossy floors and towering ceilings of Worthen Arena.
Rush wanted to bring a new sound to Ball State’s campus, one that blended many music styles together.
He took it upon himself to approach the basketball team.
“This campus is like the playground,” said Rush. “You gotta utilize the campus to benefit you. That’s what college is all about. Look at all these buildings around here. I see the buildings as being boxes. If I just stay in one building all day and that’s all I know, I’m in a box.”
While Rush planned, Shawn Sullivan, the director of marketing and promotions for Ball State athletics, considered the possibility of completing a test run with a DJ to provide a different experience at the games.
“We try to utilize students’ talents,” said Sullivan. “We try to enhance the game experience and Kenneth was a part of that. He was terrific.”
Soon after their meeting, Rush hauled his turntables into Worthen.
“In my time here, we have not had a DJ,” said Brady Sallee, a third year faculty member and the women’s basketball head coach. “It’s definitely been a good mix of entertainment…”
At the games, Rush wanted to focus on the athletes and give them something that would boost their energy and get them ready to play.
He believes his music “can make people perform better.”
Rush would take requests from the players each day and add his own twist to the music.
He still admits to being star-struck when players like Fontaine complimented him.
During games, Rush had to be conscious of everything going on around him. He learned to split his time with the band, the cheerleaders and the dancers.
Rush also had to be aware of his audience. The wide variety of races and ages at each basketball game brought the challenge of creating a mix that would appeal to everyone in attendance.
Rush gave up his basketball gig before the beginning of this semester, citing “business differences.” Both he and Sullivan said they remain on good terms.
While the squeaks of Nikes no longer match the beat of Rush’s live performances, Rush acknowledges the skills he gained and the relationships he formed during his time as Ball State’s only basketball DJ.
“This adventure was a learning curve for me as a DJ,” Rush said. “I really appreciate the experience because I feel it helped further my career in a sense of maturity and really being able to diversify myself.”