two African American men wearing white shirts and ties

Tyler ISD, Tyler High School, and our community celebrate the life of former John Tyler High School Band Director John Samples, also known as "Big Bad John," who has passed away. Samples served as the John Tyler High School Band Director from 1981 to 1996.

One of Samples' enduring legacies was the name he gave to the band - the "Big Blue Band." This name has become a symbol of pride and tradition for generations of Tyler High students, and it reflects Samples' vision for the band as a powerful and unified force.

During his time as band director, Samples was a key figure in establishing the John Tyler High School band as one of the most respected and successful in the region. He was known for his passion for music and his dedication to his students, and his leadership was instrumental in shaping the band's identity and culture.

"I am proud to have had the opportunity to have Mr. John Samples as my band director,” current Tyler High Band Director Larry Wade Jr. said. “He is the main reason why I wanted to be a band director and why I wanted to come back home and be the director of the Big Blue Band

After retiring from his role as band director, Samples served as assistant principal from 1996 to 2001, and briefly returned as assistant band director in 2003. He continued to serve the district as a substitute for many years.

Throughout his career, he remained committed to the Tyler High community and to the pursuit of excellence in music education.

The passing of John Samples is a great loss to the Tyler High community, and he will be deeply missed by all who knew him. His legacy as a leader and educator will continue to inspire future generations of Tyler High students and musicians.

“Like so many others he has impacted me to be the best I could be in life,” Wade said. “His influence on me will live on. I will forever be grateful for his dedication to the Big Blue Band, to me as the current band director, to the Tyler/ John Tyler High School, and the community abroad. Long live Big Bad John."