Articles tagged as: Southeastern Conference
As Texas A&M continues its journey through its inaugural athletic season in the Southeastern Conference, there’s still much for Aggies to learn about the “Conference of Champions” yet this much is certain: the SEC loves its swimming.
Enter the Student Recreation Natatorium amidst Texas A&M’s first on-campus SEC championship event, and you will be overwhelmed by a wall of sound. Chants of “Go Gators” and “L-S-U,” among others, ring as clearly as they would in any football stadium – added confirmation that the Aggies sit squarely within the most dominant athletic conference in the country.
The swimming atmosphere, not unlike most SEC atmospheres in any sport, is unparalleled. This environment combines with what is arguably the nation’s most competitive amateur swimming product to produce one of the most magnificent spectacles in collegiate sports.
Yes, the SEC Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship delivers in spades. And if you haven’t already attended, it’s happening right in the Aggies’ backyard.
Texas A&M men’s swimming head coach Jay Holmes said he was thrilled the conference chose Texas A&M as the location for its championship event.
“[The SEC] wanted to put an event on our campus as soon as they could while this event hadn’t been totally planned yet, and they said ‘Hey let’s put it at A&M,’” Holmes said. “Of course we love that. I think it shows off our facility. People like coming to school here and like coming to meets here. It’s a great environment. We have great seating for the fans and I know the fans appreciate it.”
And while the SEC might collectively possess the strongest swimming competition in the country, Texas A&M brings its own share of swimming tradition. After all, the women’s team hoisted a conference championship trophy only a year ago, and both men’s and women’s squads sent a combined 11 athletes to the 2012 Olympic Games.
A former Olympian and current Texas A&M swimmer, junior Camille Adams, said she was impressed by the atmosphere in the SEC.
“Friends of mine from some of the other SEC schools said [the SEC Championship] is a big deal, and it’s about a big a deal as the NCAA’s,” Adams said. “It’s exciting and there’s a lot of energy. It definitely exceeded all my expectations.”
One familiar foe, SEC rival LSU, was already familiar with Texas A&M and its facilities.
Nevertheless, Tigers’ head coach Dave Geyer said he was appreciative of the speed the Aggies’ Student Recreation Natatorium gives the swimmers.
“We’ve come out here before for dual meets with Texas A&M and we know it’s a fast facility,” Geyer said. “That’s always the most important thing because everyone comes to this meet to qualify for the NCAAs and you want to have a fast facility to do that. A&M certainly provides that for us.”
SEC coaches were not only impressed with their new brother’s facilities, but also the level of competition Texas A&M and Missouri brought to the conference. The Aggies and Tigers, after all, have already claimed their share of individual SEC winners.
Georgia head coach Jack Bauerle said he likes the bump in competition.
“It’s incredible. I think it’s great. Texas A&M’s a great team and Missouri is, too,” Bauerle said. “It made the meet that much better. The SEC meet was the best meet in the country beforehand, now it’s even better than it was.”
Watch the action of the SEC Championships live here.
Story by Chandler Smith, a junior communication major
Watching Texas A&M play the University of Missouri this weekend won’t be new to Aggie fans — they’ve seen the Mizzou Tigers face their Aggies for the past few years. But this particular matchup will go down in history for a different reason: the Tigers and Aggies are squaring off on the football field for the first time as members of the Southeastern Conference.
Missouri is more than a familiar foe on the athletic field for Texas A&M. In addition to sharing the same land-grant heritage, the universities have long partnered together on research projects spanning agriculture, veterinary medicine, engineering and much more.
Texas A&M and Missouri are both leaders of higher education in their respective states. In addition to being the first public university in the state of Missouri like Texas A&M is in Texas, the University of Missouri, founded in 1839, is also recognized as the first public university west of the Mississippi River.
Both institutions are land-grant and major research universities that are dedicated to serving their country, states and communities. Missouri also holds membership in the prestigious 62-member Association of American Universities (AAU), like Texas A&M.
The two universities have much in common culturally as well, including unique traditions that are passed down from each generation of students. For years, Texas A&M students have placed pennies at the base of the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue on campus, an act that is said to bring the student luck on upcoming exams. At Missouri, current students are careful to whisper as they pass under the archway outside of the university’s school of journalism, as legend says that if they don’t, they risk failing their next exam.
Both schools also love their mascots. Texas A&M’s Reveille VIII is the First Lady of Aggieland, where she attends every home football game and countless other events. Likewise, Truman the Tiger, a costumed mascot, is an important figure to Missouri fans—named after Missouri-born U.S. President Harry S. Truman. The Tiger mascot also can be seen on the sidelines of Missouri football games and other events.
Texas A&M and Missouri also honor their servicemen and women with their traditions. Texas A&M’s Memorial Student Center is a living memorial dedicated to all Aggies who have died in wars past, present and future. Visitors are asked to not step on the grass, as well as to remove their hats when inside the building, to respect this memorial. Similarly, hats are removed and people speak softly when passing through the Memorial Union archway at the University of Missouri, a gesture of respect for all alumni who have lost their lives serving the United States.
“While there is a lot of familiarity between Texas A&M and Missouri, it’s interesting to now consider our two universities as members of the SEC family. Our joint transition to the SEC has only increased the respect and collegiality between us,” said Jason Cook, Texas A&M’s vice president of marketing and communications. “With Texas A&M and Missouri, the SEC added two academic powerhouses to the league, as well two of the more well-rounded athletic departments in the country.”
Look for more academic collaborations between Texas A&M and Missouri in today’s issue of TAMUtimes.
Media contact: Krista Smith, Communications Coordinator, (979) 845-4645
The No. 15 Texas A&M football team will wrap up the last leg of its three-week long Southeastern Conference road trip this weekend in Tuscaloosa, Ala., when the Aggies meet the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide for the first time in legendary Bryant-Denny Stadium.
But perhaps even more telling of this weekend’s top 25 matchup is the fact that it will be played between two universities that are united in their pursuit of teaching and research, as well as their desire to serve and impact their respective states.
The University of Alabama and Texas A&M are both leaders in higher education. The University of Alabama, founded in 1831, is the state’s first public college, and Texas A&M is the state of Texas’ first public institution of higher learning.
Students at The University of Alabama are also dedicated in their community service, dedicating more than a million hours of community service during the 2011-12 academic year. Similarly, their counterparts at Texas A&M are known nationwide for Big Event, the largest one-day, student-run community service project in the United States, which this year brought together more than 17,000 students, faculty and staff to complete 1,700 jobs.
Like Texas A&M, The University of Alabama is an institution that is tradition-rich.
Aggies making the trip to Tuscaloosa will hear lots of “Roll Tide!” from ’Bama fans. Much like Texas A&M’s “Gig ’em,” “Roll Tide” is a phrase that was inspired by and is used to cheer for the Crimson Tide — the name bestowed to the Alabama football team in 1907 after their white jerseys became stained with red mud in a close game against in-state rival Auburn University.
The Crimson Tide also inspired Alabama’s mascot: Big Al, the elephant. Like Texas A&M’s Reveille, who first appeared at the university in the 1930s after cadets hit a small, black and white dog while returning to campus and brought her back to campus with them, the Alabama elephant tradition was also born in the 1930s, but wasn’t recognized by the university until 1979. While describing a game during the 1930 season, a sportswriter wrote, “Some excited fan in the stands bellowed, ‘Hold your horses, the elephants are coming,’ and out stamped this Alabama varsity,” in an article. Others continued to use the term “Red Elephants” to describe the team.
“Alabama is one of the nation’s storied football programs, not only because of its success, but also because of the many traditions. That’s a common bond both Texas A&M and Alabama share,” said Jason Cook, Texas A&M’s vice president for marketing and communications. “We look forward to sharing the national stage with the Crimson Tide this weekend, as we continue to introduce Texas A&M to millions of new people as part of our first season in the Southeastern Conference.”
More academic collaborations and other connections between Texas A&M and the University of Alabama – such as legendary football coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant and Gene Stallings – are also featured in this edition of TAMUtimes.
Media contact: Krista Smith, Communications Coordinator, (979) 845-4645
It’s been 113 years since the first time the Louisiana State University Tigers crossed the Texas-Louisiana border to play the Aggies at Kyle Field — and on Saturday, LSU will make the journey once again, renewing Texas A&M’s seventh-oldest collegiate football rivalry.
Prior to joining the Southeastern Conference this year, the Aggies have played the Tigers more than any other non-conference opponent. But this longstanding relationship is one that isn’t just defined by records on the football field — it includes academic partnerships, shared commitments of service, cultural similarities and more.
Like Texas A&M, LSU is a land-, sea- and space-grant university that boasts state-of-the-art research facilities. Both universities owe their existence to the Morrill Act of 1862, which established the country’s land-grant college system 150 years ago. Because of their similar missions of service to the states of Texas and Louisiana — as well as their close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico — Texas A&M and LSU researchers have teamed up countless times on collaborative projects that focus on everything from agricultural innovations to coastal protection.
“I can remember making a road trip to LSU while a student at Texas A&M. This is a great rivalry, and we are excited for its renewal as members of the SEC,” said Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin. “While we may be rivals in athletic competition, there are numerous academic collaborations between our two institutions that impact our lives in many ways. Saturday’s football game provides an opportunity for us to spotlight these collaborations and bring greater visibility to the outstanding work of our faculty and staff.”
Texas A&M and LSU are also home to two of the eight veterinary schools in the SEC — the most of any athletic conference in the country. Each veterinary school is also affiliated with an emergency animal response team, further underscoring each institution’s dedication to service.
Faculty, staff and students of LSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine volunteer as members of the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART), an organization that assists parishes for planning, response and recovery efforts for all types of emergencies involving animals. Most recently, LSART helped animals affected by Hurricane Isaac in late August, opening an emergency pet shelter and rescuing animals in the aftermath of the storm.
Similarly, the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences operates the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET), which also protects the health and wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment in times of disaster. Members of VET have responded to numerous disasters, including last year’s Bastrop Complex wildfire, where more than 150 animals — some of which suffered severe injuries — were treated.
Culturally speaking, Texas A&M and LSU have much in common as well. For example, both schools pride themselves on tailgating prior to football games and other athletic events. Visitors to the LSU campus in Baton Rouge will find motor homes, tents and much more set up to create a true Louisiana party atmosphere, and they’ll likely be heckled with chants of “Tiger Bait!” Likewise, Texas A&M fans gather faithfully the day before each game, ready to claim their favorite tailgating spots when the clock strikes noon — and as LSU fans take in Aggieland’s tailgating scene around Spence Park and Reed Arena, they can expect to hear lots of “Howdys!” and “Gig ‘ems!” from Aggie tailgaters.
Texas A&M and LSU are also home to two of the most daunting venues in college football. Tiger Stadium has earned the nickname “Death Valley,” and its gameday atmosphere is legendary for its loud crowd. In fact, the roar of the Tiger Stadium crowd actually registered on a seismograph during a dramatic LSU win over Auburn in 1988. Texas A&M’s Kyle Field is recognized nationally as the Home of the 12th Man — and it’s the 12th Man that has helped Texas A&M earn the distinction as the top gameday experience in the country. The loud, orchestrated yelling of Aggie fans has led to many delay-of-game calls for visiting teams who struggle to communicate over the noise.
“Texas A&M vs. LSU has always been, and will continue to be, a special rivalry – two schools that share a state border and intense competition in athletics, but then work alongside each other to serve their respective states and solve pressing societal issues,” said Jason Cook, Texas A&M’s vice president for marketing and communications. “This is part of our land-grant heritage, of which we are celebrating the 150thanniversary this year along with 10 other SEC members.”
Watch for this Friday’s edition of TAMUtimes, which will feature stories highlighting the academic collaborations and other connections between Texas A&M and LSU.
Media contact: Krista Smith, Communications Coordinator, at (979) 845-4645
History was made in Aggieland as Texas A&M officially became a part of the Southeastern Conference on July 1, 2012, and the university celebrated with a special ceremony on Monday (July 2) to raise the flags of the SEC schools outside of the McFerrin Athletic Center.
Special events leading up to SEC:
The road to Texas A&M’s move:
- Aug. 25, 2011 -Texas A&M officially notified the Big 12 Conference that it is exploring options related to the institution’s athletic conference affiliation. More
- Aug. 31, 2011 -Texas A&M officially notified the Big 12 Conference that the institution will submit an application to join another athletic conference. More
- Sept. 7, 2011 – Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin issued a statement regarding the conference situation and addresses this potential move in this video. More
- Sept. 25, 2011 – Texas A&M will join the Southeastern Conference effective July 1, 2012, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2012-13 academic year. More
- Sept. 26, 2011 – The university formally celebrated its new conference affiliation on campus.
For more on Texas A&M’s move to the SEC, visit the Countdown to the SEC website.