Going for the Golden: Health Sciences senior twirls Purdue to Music City Bowl

Amanda Coy, Purdue Golden Girl

Amanda Coy is ready to lead the Purdue University “All-American” Marching Band and the Purdue football team back to the Music City Bowl, slated for 3 p.m. EST Dec. 30 in Nashville, Tennessee.Ben Milbrath, Milbrath Photography

Written by: Tim Brouk, tbrouk@purdue.edu

Purdue University Athletics has been on fire this fall, and it’s making for a blazing December for Amanda Coy, a School of Health Sciences senior and the University’s 31st Golden Girl.

With batons in hand, she will help lead the Boilermakers back to Nashville, Tennessee, for a 3 p.m. EST return on Dec. 30 to the Music City Bowl. The big game against the University of Tennessee will kick off just weeks after Coy and her twirling talents were featured during the 100th Miss America Competition.

But as a face of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band, the Golden Girl is not just regulated to the gridiron. Coy with her almost 20 years of twirling and dancing experience has thrilled West Lafayette crowds at volleyball, soccer and basketball games — programs that have enjoyed or are enjoying epic seasons so far as well.

While spring will still be busy for her and her trusty batons, Coy is reflective during her final year at Purdue.

“This season has been extremely special because last year we didn’t get to perform due to COVID-19 restrictions,” said Coy, who will represent the National Baton Twirling Association (NBTA) in July at the Baton Twirling World Championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands. “It’s been amazing to represent Purdue and be a part of something bigger than myself with the ‘All-American’ Marching Band. I think that has had such a big impact on my experience here at Purdue. To me, the ‘All-American’ Marching Band is the heartbeat of Purdue and provides so many extra experiences and opportunities as a student here.”

Coy has balanced her Golden Girl duties with a near 4.0 grade point average in her health sciences studies. The Saline, Michigan, native found her fit in the pre-physician assistant concentration, a proven successful career path for College of Health and Human Sciences students and alumni.

This football season has been a big one for Purdue. What are your thoughts on the season and getting to a bowl game?

I was able to go to the 2018 Music City Bowl game my freshman year, so it’s kind of full-circle to go back as a senior. I’m really looking forward to going back with my amazing teammates on Purdue Twirling.

How would you sum up your years as the Purdue Golden Girl?

It’s such an amazing opportunity. Growing up a part of the Saline Twirlettes, which is in my hometown, I’ve always loved performing. It was so exciting I got to come to Purdue and perform on such a large scale, represent the sport of baton twirling and share that with so many of my peers.

Amanda Coy

Amanda Coy

It honestly hasn’t really hit me yet that it’s my last year. It probably won’t until I’m in the stands cheering for the football team next season instead of performing.

Twirling has brought you to the Ross-Ade football field and the Miss America stage. How long have you been practicing this athletic skill?

I’ve been twirling for 17 years and have been at (NTBA) Nationals for the past 11 years and performed at other national competitions and abroad — I went on tour for two weeks in Peru during my senior year of high school.

How is your career path looking?

Since I’m so passionate about baton twirling — continuing this art and teaching it to young kids — I’ll be continuing that while pursuing a job in medicine, healthcare and taking care of the community while promoting this really unique art I’ve been a part of for 17 years. I’ve been applying to graduate schools this semester. My goal would be to work in pediatrics somewhere and possibly do Doctors Without Borders. I’ve also thought about getting a master’s degree in public health and eventually at some point going into (U.S.) Congress or working for a nonprofit to work on healthcare disparities and discriminants of health for certain populations.

What will you take from your time at Purdue to accomplish those career goals?

I’ve had to do a balancing and time management act the last few years — balancing Greek life, leadership roles, Miss Purdue, Purdue Twirling and being the Golden Girl in addition to trying to maintain a 4.0.

But one of the biggest things I’ve learned here at Purdue and through being the Golden Girl: I’m in a sport that has a high rate of success/failure. You’re never always going to catch the baton. You’re constantly going to have to pick yourself up after failing. I think that’s really helped me and showed me through different performances and opportunities that I can be a great student and apply that to life outside of baton twirling. I think that’s going to make me an excellent healthcare worker when I go into the field because I’m not afraid of failure and trying something outside of the box. I think that’s going to push my boundaries and make me a better person because of it.