Director of Athletics
It was a record finish for our No. 22 men’s cross country team at the NCAA Championships Monday. Junior Henry Lelei finished ninth overall to lead our team to an 18th place finish. It was our best finish in the modern era of the NCAA Championships. Natosha Rogers represented our women’s team and finished 57th.
This is the last time we are playing our friends from the state capital in the sport of football for the foreseeable future. Sadly, it seems that is also true for every sport. It’s my hope that one day we can revive the competitions. It’s good for all athletes in the State of Texas.
Our final regular season football game will kick off at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN and online at ESPN3.com. Folks living in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean can see the game on ESPN. Check your local listings.
In addition to the television broadcast, you can listen to the Texas A&M Sports Network with the pregame starting at 6 p.m. You can hear the game on your local Texas A&M Sports Network station, Sirius channel 91, XM channel 91, AggieAthletics.com, via our new iPad App (currently on sale for the Holidays for $1.99), or on your smart phone at RadioAggieland.com.
The game is sold out. We are expecting our second largest crowd in school history. Never before have we averaged more than 83,000 fans during a season, but this season you have helped us shatter that mark. We will surpass the 87,000 mark in average per game attendance this season. Along the way, we sold out every home game, and counting last season, have sold out eight straight. Thank you!
Aggie Fan Zone opens at 3:30 p.m. Kids Yell Practice will start at 4:30 p.m. and Spirit Walk will start at 4:45 p.m. The gates to Kyle Field will open at 5 p.m.
Our pregame flyover will feature two T-45 Goshawks from Naval Air Station Kingsville. Due to darkness during the national anthem, we will have the actual flyover as part of Spirit Walk.
Pepsi has graciously sponsored 12,000 commemorative 12th Man Towels for distribution in our student sections. I hope we have a sea of white towels waving in the night.
Among the special guests on the Corps reviewing stand will be Jack Worbington. Jack has been a ticket taker for us for 60 years. He is retiring tomorrow night and said he had never seen the Corps march-in at Kyle. Thanks to the Corps of Cadets, Jack is getting the chance to see march-in from the best seat in the house. He will sit in the stands for the game, but will still be at Gate 7 as part of the early crew, at his request.
Following the game, we will distributing commemorative cups from Valero to celebrate the 100 Years of Aggie Basketball. You can pick up your free cup at any Kyle Field exit.
As you plan your travel, plan to avoid the interchange of University Drive and Wellborn Road. TxDOT has a construction project which has closed ramps and taken Wellborn Road to a single lane in each direction.
Please note Yell Practice tonight will start at 8 p.m. at Kyle Field.
We had two representatives from the SEC office on campus for the Kansas game. We may have worn them out. We didn’t give them a free moment, except for a nap at the hotel Friday night after Yell Practice. We wanted to show them everything about Texas A&M and our game day experience. We’re proud of Texas A&M University, and I think we stage our events as well as, or better than, any university in the United States. As one of them said, “You guys time it down to the second.” Yes we do. For example, it’s become a contest of sorts for the various military entities to be flying over the south goal post right when the last note of the national anthem is being played by the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band. A few aircraft have missed it slightly due to strong north winds, but by and large, we stage our events with military precision. That should not surprise you.
We picked the Kansas game for Military Appreciation Day, and I think our staff and the Corps of Cadets “really did it up brown.” I was disappointed that our cloud ceiling was too low and kept us from getting a true aerial of the entire Corps forming the Block T. It was really neat to see from my spot in Kyle. The other terrific thing was the Corps Hall of Honor induction on the field before the game. I really enjoyed it, because I knew most everyone of them personally and consider them friends. President George Bush ’41 received the loudest ovation of the day with Lt. Dan (Gary Sinise) a close second. Marilyn and I were honored to have them sit with us during the game. Barbara and President Bush are great Americans and great Aggies!
It’s a short turnaround for Kyle Field and the campus community as we host two football games with five days in between. Many of the Aggie Fan Zone tents remained in place, and I’ve seen many RVs still parked at Reed Arena. I was in the stadium early Sunday morning watching crews continue to pick up leftover items from Saturday. Our staff has worked extremely hard in getting us prepared to welcome more than 170,000 fans to campus in such a short time.
I was impressed to see all the recycling efforts taking place by our clean-up crews. A&M is getting greener and greener as we become more environmentally conscious. On Thursday night, take a look at the roof of Netum Steed and see the solar panels which provide half the power for our weight room. It’s a beta site, and if all continues to go well, you will be able to see other such enhancements to our athletic facilities as the years go forward.
Tonight our volleyball team takes on No. 5 Texas for the last time. We are much improved over the last few years, and it should be a dandy of a State Farm Lone Star Showdown. We moved the match to 5 p.m. so not to interfere with the early 8 p.m. Yell Practice tonight. We have won five of our last six matches, including the last three straight. We are in third place in the Big 12. Let’s not let these last few opportunities for bragging rights pass us by without giving it our best shot.
If you show your ticket to the Thanksgiving night football game, you can purchase a general admission volleyball ticket for $3 off. Texas A&M students will be admitted free with a valid ID.
We will be at Iowa State on Saturday night to conclude the regular season. We will find out our spot in the NCAA Championships field of 64 on Sunday night. The selection show will be televised by ESPNU at 5 p.m.
As we write this, I look out my window and see the construction at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. The right field and first base line grass seating area is taking shape and so is our children’s play area which will be located there. It’s our first attempt at a children’s play area inside an athletic facility. The area will be covered and provide parents a place to watch the game and their children at the same time. If you have not seen the construction at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park, it is impressive.
Where are we with Kyle Field you ask? You will see the construction fences go up this weekend for our Player Development Center on the southeast side of the Bright Complex. I’m pleased to report, the 12th Man Foundation has raised 100 percent of the $9 million cost. Meanwhile, the quiet campaign is underway for the new student-athlete dining facility, along with the expansion of the front of the Bright Complex. There will be a new welcome area for recruits and their families, plus a new driveway from George Bush Drive directly into John David Crow Drive in front of Bright. Our goal is to finish fundraising and start construction following our first football season in the SEC.
Our No. 24 men’s basketball team returns home Saturday to host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 3 p.m. We will offer our special Half Price Holiday Hoops pricing for this game, so I encourage you to take a break from your holiday shopping and watch some Aggie hoops.
Don’t forget we also have a Saturday 6-Pack and a Pick 7 package available, too. You can get more information about what games are included by clicking here.
Our women’s basketball team moved up to No. 5 in the rankings after our impressive, 93-47, win over Mississippi State on Sunday at Reed Arena. Our defense held the Bulldogs without a field goal for the first 12 minutes of the game. After the game, the team honored Coach Gary Blair for his 600th career win. He was clearly moved as he heard from former players and his family via video to celebrate the milestone.
The women are off to Freeport, Bahamas to compete in the Junkanoo Jam Friday and Saturday. We face Temple at 2:15 p.m. on Friday, and then we face either Iowa or St. John’s on Saturday.
Tickets for all home games are available and so is special six-pack for women’s basketball. Click here for more information.
As a reminder, tickets are also on sale for the 2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball First and Second Rounds being hosted at Reed Arena on March 17 and 19. Click here for more information.
The season came to an end for our Big 12 Champion No. 12 women’s soccer team as we fell to Virginia Tech, 3-1, in the second round of the NCAA Championships last Friday in Virginia. The future is very bright for Coach G and our team as we return our two leading scorers and a wealth of young, experienced players for next year.
Our defending national champion equestrian team dropped our first show of the year by the score of 12-11 to Baylor last Friday in Waco. It marks the end of the fall schedule for our No. 2 ranked riders. We are 7-1.
Senior diver Grant Nel won the one-meter springboard at the Tennessee Invitational last week. Meanwhile, our No. 10 women’s team finished in first place ahead of four future SEC opponents during the Tennessee Invitational.
I found this statement as part of a Guard Dog cartoon a year or two ago and wanted to share it with you on this Thanksgiving week.
“I give thanks for this perfect day. Miracle will follow miracle and wonders will never cease.”
My heart goes out to our good friends at Oklahoma State over the tragic loss of women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna. They were very good coaches and even better people. Nothing can take away the pain of losing loved ones, but hopefully knowing they have the thoughts and prayers of all Aggies will help the Cowboy nation deal with their loss.
See you at Kyle Field Thanksgiving night.