Photo Credit: Lauren Ussery | Daily Texan Staff

Whether you are from Texas or move to it, you know that Texas lives for football. It is a cultural fixture from Cotton Bowl Stadium in Fair Park to high school stadiums across the state. Nowhere is that tradition more celebrated than at the University of Texas at Austin.

UT’s football program is synonymous with Texas football.

It celebrates a history of famous victories and personalities tracing back to 1893. Legendary coaches and players decorate the memory of the successful program, from National Championship winning coaches Darrell K. Royal, namesake of the stadium, and Mack Brown, to players like Earl Campbell, Ricky Williams and the “Invincible” Vince Young. Throw in a winning record in the annual Red River Showdown against rival University of Oklahoma, and UT football can hold its head high.

The upcoming 2015-2016 season aspires to follow this tradition under the leadership of head coach Charlie Strong. The future looks bright with Strong’s philosophy of hard work and accountability poised to make his talented recruiting class “Stronghorns.”

In a statement to the Longhorn Network, Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford captured the team’s confidence: “Next year, 2015, we’re coming, and we’re coming to get everybody.”

The football program’s tradition and pride manifest in its vibrant game day culture.

Tailgating is the heart of game day. Eager fans surround the stadium with tents, cookers, and TV’s from the McCombs courtyard all the way to the Bob Bullock Museum parking lot. Fraternities, sororities, spirit groups, students, alumni, and fans all make tailgating the perfect time for students to experience the diversity of UT football fans and the energy of UT spirit.

Within the historic Darrell K. Royal Stadium, traditions and icons of Texas football culture abound. The lively “Showband of the Southwest,” more commonly known as the Longhorn Band, rallies spirit with “Texas Fight” as the Texas Cowboys fire Smokey the Cannon. Bevo, the longhorn mascot of Texas since 1916, rests on the sidelines as a century-old icon of UT pride.

Students engage in these exciting traditions together in seating groups throughout the stadium. The groups are a great opportunity for freshmen to come together with members of their dorm, academic organizations and social groups, while in the midst of the other 100,000 fans the stadium can hold.

With a successful history, exciting future and lively atmosphere, UT’s football game day is the perfect environment to relish student spirit. All UT students should make the most of the game day experience, but especially the incoming freshman class. The awe of finally being in college and the wealth of opportunities will never be greater — make the most of them. History, tradition, sport, celebration and spirit converge in the Darrell K. Royal Stadium. So, to all incoming freshman, the mantle passes to you to continue the rich culture and spirit of game day. Love it, and it will reward you with a new appreciation for this university and your peers.

Most importantly, have fun and hook ‘em!

Clark is a senior English major from Lake Highlands.

Photo Credit: Virginia Scherer and Iliana Storch | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s Note: This is part one in a two-part series about the racial integration of Texas’ men’s basketball team. Part two, which will be published Thursday, will tell the story of Larry Robinson, one of the first African-American basketball players at UT. 

In early April, when Texas’ newest head coach Shaka Smart took the podium at his introductory press conference at the Frank Erwin Center, he had culminated a climb that had begun over 45 years earlier.  

As the Longhorns’ 24th head coach, Smart became the first African-American coach of the basketball program,  something he said he takes very seriously.

But Smart’s path was set by a trio of athletes — Sam Bradley, Jimmy Blacklock and Larry Robinson — who became the first black basketball players after a long but quiet integration process through the 1960s.

In November 1963, seven years after Texas integrated its undergraduate program in 1956, the Board of Regents agreed to desegregate all athletic activities at Texas. But Texas’ first African-American basketball player didn’t take the court for another five years. 

Harold Bradley, head coach of Texas from 1956–1967, had strived to recruit multiple standout African-American athletes through the 1960s with little reward. But his best chance came with James Cash out of Terrell High School in Fort Worth.

Bradley made a full push for Cash — even going in front of the Austin City Council to lobby for a human rights commission to show that Texas was striving to improve race relations.

Cash eventually decided to stay close to home at TCU, becoming the first African-American basketball

player in the Southwest Conference in the 1966–1967 season.  

Another slim prospect came with the well-known Lew Alcindor, now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Despite the assistants’ lack of optimism on the big man, Bradley was confident Alcindor would sign with Texas — even writing up a preliminary press release to announce his signing. But Alcindor went to UCLA and the Longhorns saw another opportunity pass.

“There were legitimate concerns of how do you integrate when you’ve had nothing that is an example of it,” said Bill Little, then-assistant sports information director.

By the time Leon Black took over as head coach of the basketball program in late spring 1967, Texas, which played in front of miniscule crowds at Gregory Gym, was still struggling to find success on the recruiting trail.

Texas was a football school, and it was well known. The school’s sports information director at the time described, “There are two sports at Texas — football and spring football.”

“We always had that back seat,” Black said. “Every time I went to recruit somebody, they had an article. And they said ‘Why should I come to Texas? Here’s your SID, he’s saying there are two sports at Texas, and basketball is not one of them.’”

Texas had little pull with African-American athletes. The national attention of Texas’ largest desegregation case of Sweatt v. Painter in 1950 had created distrust among the black community in Texas, and there were no black athletes with the Longhorns at the time to prove anything different.

“Many [African-American athletes] weren’t accustomed to playing around white players,” Robinson said. “They felt there weren’t enough black students [at Texas]. And that was true.”

Quietly, Samuel Bradley would become that example. Black reached out to Bradley, a freshman on the Texas track team at the time. He became the Longhorns’ first black basketball player in 1967.

Bradley, however, wasn’t the impact player Texas was looking for. Three years later, Blacklock and Robinson were.

Blacklock, formerly a star athlete at Austin High School, transferred to Texas from Tyler Junior College before the start of the 1971 season while Robinson became the first black basketball player to sign a letter of intent at Texas.

“I know I could play and race wasn’t an issue,” Robinson said. “I could acclimate myself to white society; it wasn’t for me a strange thing.” 

During the 1972 season, Robinson created a lasting impact at Texas. While he led the Longhorns to their first Southwest Conference title, Robinson had helped set the path for future black athletes at Texas. Within the next two years, Texas added at least four more African-American players.

“I can’t tell you how happy I was when someone asked me how many African Americans we had and I could say I don’t know,” Little said.

Today, Texas joins Stanford as one of just two teams in the Power 5 conferences to have a black head coach for football and basketball. But, that fact isn’t as important as it once was.

“It shows you how far we’ve come,” Black said. “We’ve come to far that it doesn’t matter. You look for the best coach. If he’s black, he’s black. If he’s white, he’s white. If he’s brown, he’s brown. I think we’ve come that far.”

Former Texas cornerback Quandre Diggs chases TCU’s quarterback Traevon Boykin in the team’s battle against the Horned Frogs last Thanksgiving. Diggs and the Longhorns lost the game and finished their season with a 6–7 record.
Photo Credit: Ethan Oblak | Daily Texan Staff

Friday marks the final day of classes for those who are graduating in just a few weeks. Since arriving on the 40 Acres as freshmen in August 2011, the Class of 2015 has seen mixed results for Texas Athletics.

Longhorn Network launched a mere two days after the Class of 2015 began school. The tenures of former football coach Mack Brown and former basketball coach Rick Barnes came to a close. 

Through it all, there were some triumphs but plenty of struggles. Here are some numbers, dates and stats that define the Class of 2015’s time at the University of Texas.

3: The number of Division I national titles. In the summer of 2012, Texas men’s golf defeated Alabama 3–2 to win the program’s first title since 1972. That fall, volleyball won its first national championship since 1988 by defeating the Oregon Ducks. In March, men’s swimming and diving won its first national title since 2010 — its 11th total.

169: Losses by the major three men’s sports. Baseball, football and basketball have amassed 169 combined losses over the past four seasons, the most since the 171 total losses endured by the class of 2001. If the baseball team drops five more games, the Class of 2015 will be the
losingest senior class in school history.

21: Losses by Texas football. The Longhorns gave up 21 losses from 2011–2014, tying it with 2010–2013 and 1988–1991 for the most losses over a four-season span since 1986-1989, when the Longhorns dropped 24 games.

58.33%: Men’s basketball’s winning percentage. Texas has had its lowest win percentage over a four-season span since it only won 58.08 percent of its games from 1995–1999. Texas’ 57 losses over this time were the most the program had recorded in four seasons since the Longhorns dropped 63 games from 1983–1987.

2004: The last time the women’s basketball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s second weekend until this year. The No. 5-seeded Texas women knocked off No. 4-seeded Cal 73–70 in Berkeley to advance to the Sweet 16, but the Longhorns fell to the eventual champion, No. 1-seeded Connecticut Huskies, 105–54 in the Sweet 16. This was the first time making it that far since 2004.

58.26%: Baseball’s winning percentage. Texas had its lowest winning percentage since winning 57.09 percent of its games from 1998–2001. Barring winning the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Texas baseball will miss the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the Class of 2015’s four seasons
in Austin.

2013: The year softball finished the season ranked No. 3 in the country. The No. 3 ranking in 2013 was Texas’ best final ranking in program history. This also marked the team’s first appearance in the Women’s College World Series since 2006.

4: Big 12 Conference titles for volleyball. The Longhorns went 61–3 in conference play and did not lose more than one conference match in a season.

0: The number of double-digit win seasons by football, single-digit loss seasons by men’s basketball or 50 plus-win seasons by baseball. The last University of Texas class to witness none of the three feats while enrolled in school was the class of 1969.

Photo Credit: Victoria Smith | Daily Texan Staff

Austin, we have a problem.

Since losing the 2010 BCS Championship to Alabama, the Texas Longhorns football team has been far from great, compiling a record of 36-28 (23-20 in Big 12 play) over the last five seasons. The fans have been worse. They’ve stopped showing up.

It’s not that fans aren’t attending the games. According to the NCAA, Texas had an average home attendance of 98,976 in 2013. Although attendance is slightly down since the days Texas was contending for championships, there are a lot of people in Darrell K. Royal Stadium on Saturdays. It just doesn’t feel like it.

The atmosphere in the stadium is abysmal. When I came to Austin as a freshman in 2012, I expected an electric environment. I saw it once. Against West Virginia in 2012, the stadium was shaking. Texas was undefeated at the time.

But should the fans only be interested when the team is good? Where is our pride in our school? Sadly, the passion of Texas students and fans, when it comes to football, comes and goes with the wins.

This happens for every school to an extent; fans are always craziest when more is at stake. But folks who travel to Knoxville, Tennessee, to see the Tennessee Volunteers will tell you their crowd is wild for every game. They haven’t won more than seven games since the 2007 season.

The Texas crowd should be no different. It should be loud, and it should be difficult for opposing teams to play in Austin. Texans claim it is all about football here, and Texas is the marquee program in this state. Our students and fans need to act like it.

What makes college football unique is the passion of the students. Many Texas students with tickets don’t even attend the games. Lowerclassmen can move forward and fill the voids left by juniors and seniors who don’t attend. The bleachers in the south end zone are still half empty at kickoff. The student section should be rowdy. It should be crazy. It should not be boring. But it is.

To revive this fan base, the Texas Athletic Department needs to take a long, hard look at the gameday events, traditions and festivities on and around campus.

Tailgating is a popular pregame activity and always will be. But where are the events unique to Texas? The Stadium Stampede happens several hours before the games, but there isn’t currently much buzz about it. It isn’t a must-see event for anybody visiting Austin for a game. It’s time to create new traditions and new events that leave visitors clamoring about the gameday experience in Austin, even if they aren’t Texas fans. 

Before the game, the city’s abundance of musical talent should be utilized by having live music on and around campus during tailgating hours. After all, people do call Austin the “Live Music Capital of the World.” What about Austin’s many food trucks? Get those near the stadium for gameday. The South Mall is an iconic area of the Texas campus that needs to be incorporated into the experience. They held a Chiddy Bang concert there in 2013 with the stage right in front of the Tower, and it was a great experience.

Here’s my vision of a memorable game day event: a live music or DJ event with the South Mall full of Texas fans in burnt orange including school songs and chants led by someone on stage. This would be something to talk about but only if all the fans, especially students, buy in and get loud.

Instead of the current Stadium Stampede, the Texas band and football team could attend this event two hours before the game to create additional hype for the crowd. The walk to the stadium could run from the symbol of our campus and our school pride (the Tower) straight to the stadium. This is just one idea of an event that could get the Texas football players, campus and the culture of the city more involved in a fan’s gameday experience.

The stadium experience could also use some improvements. The speakers inside the stadium need an upgrade for better music and sound quality. More replays and highlights could be shown to further immerse fans into the game. Although an unpopular idea with the Athletic Department, moving more students closer to the field and into the lower deck would improve the student section. The student section isn’t that great right now, but they’re still the rowdiest group at the game. Many fans want alcohol to be served inside the stadium, especially since Texas games are, in a sense, an NFL equivalent in Austin. These are just a few ways the stadium could be improved for fans.

I hear fans asking for change. But nothing has changed since I came to school here in 2012.  There have been no significant upgrades to gameday inside or outside the stadium. Every year students and fans receive email surveys about how games can be improved. I don’t know if Texas fans just aren’t responding or if the school isn’t listening. Or maybe big changes are currently in the works. What I do know is that entering the 2015 season this fall, it’s time.

Ralph is a mechanical engineering junior from Allen.

Attendance was low for the UT women’s softball game Wednesday evening. Leah Vann, economic sophomore and secretary for Students for Texas Athletics, noted that the ball fields are hard to access because they are across the highway.
Photo Credit: Graeme Hamilton | Daily Texan Staff

In recent years, some students have complained about a perceived decline in school spirit for UT sports.

“The motto is ‘Come early. Be loud. Stay late,’” said Leah Vann, economics sophomore and secretary for Students for Texas Athletics (STA). “Where is the spirit?”

Vann said when she came to UT as a freshman in fall 2013, the fan turnout for football games disappointed her.

“I finally get to come to a college football game, and I am the only one shouting at the ref,” Vann said.

A potential cause of the issue could be related to promotion, according to Teri Pierce, associate athletics director for engagement services.

“On a campus this big, it’s hard to get the word out,” Pierce said.

Mechanical engineering senior Austin Hill said it’s hard to get motivated to attend sports such as golf and rowing when the venues are so far away for students. He said he feels cross-promoting the more popular sports with the less popular sports would increase student turnout.

“I think being good generates hype,” Hill said. “Everything seems to rise and fall with the hype of our football team.”

Vann said STA has plans to try and motivate students to come out for more UT sports games.

“We are going to create the biggest tailgate in the country,” Vann said. “It would be so convenient if we could just tailgate on campus.”

Vann said STA plans to provide a student-tailgating area on campus. STA also plans to establish a bus route from West Campus to the baseball field for students to take to UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

“It’s hard to walk to. It’s across [I-35]. It’s just a pain,” Vann said.

The first route is supposed to be available for the weekend of the three-game baseball series against Texas Tech starting May 1, Vann said.

STA is working to make student IDs the only necessity to get into games, if students have purchased the Big Ticket, the all-sport ticket package for students and staff, Vann said.

“We are working with a consultant who is working with our fan experience,” Pierce said.  “If there is a ticketed event, we’re going to try and make it a great experience for the fans.”

Photo Credit: Alex Dolan | Daily Texan Staff

To watch new head coach Shaka Smart and his signature “havoc” style of play, it is going to cost a little bit more. All basketball season tickets have risen by an average of 7 percent with this latest price increase.

Consistent with the 6-percent pricing increase at the Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium for football season tickets, the biggest increase in prices will be for those at center court. Seats in these sections will cost $715 for renewing ticket holders and $750 for new customers, in addition to a contribution of at least $2,500 to the Longhorn Foundation.

“What we’re trying to become is consistent across all our sports,” Steve Hank, Texas’ senior associate athletic director and chief revenue officer, said to the Austin American-Statesman.

As the seats become less desirable, the prices become cheaper. A person can pay $485 without a contribution to sit in the lower bowl and $465 after contribution to renew upper-deck seats near midcourt.

“In the areas where we have the greatest demand, we are asking those who have the most valuable seat locations to invest accordingly,” Hank said to the Statesman.

While there is a significant hike in prices for better seats, Texas will also offer a new entry-level season ticket in the upper deck behind the baskets for $99 without a contribution. This is similar to the $199 option in the top deck of the north endzone for football games.

Although there are new contribution requirements, longtime season ticket holders locked into a lower contribution requirement will be grandfathered in. 

Last year, Texas averaged more than 11,000 fans a game, as athletic director Steve Patterson made significant efforts to improve the atmosphere at the Frank Erwin Center. 

Parking is not included with the season tickets and is available for purchase only for Longhorn Foundation members with annual contributions of at least $50. 

The deadline to order is May 21 and can be done at, where there are also specifics ticket prices and contributions for all sections.

Can we fix the Pro Bowl?

Why don’t I care about the Pro Bowl?

This may be the million-dollar question. The Pro Bowl is the NFL equivalent of the All-Star Game, but it fails compared to the MLB and the NBA ones.

Now, what is the reason for this? It can’t be because baseball and basketball are better than football; now that’s just ludicrous.

Maybe it’s the lack of value in the game. The MLB All Star Game actually matters. The winning division gets home field advantage in the World Series.

This could be a great thing for the NFL to adopt, but then they would have to have the Pro Bowl during the season.

The recent reformatting of the Pro Bowl has only made it worse. Firstly, they moved it to be before the Super Bowl, which excluded some of the best players each year. I mean, that’s obvious, they made it to the Super Bowl after all.

Secondly, it is no longer NFC versus AFC. This has really led to the demise of the Pro Bowl, not that it was ever great, but it was better than this. This year, for example, it was Team Irvin versus Team Carter. Each coach “drafted” players that were selected to the Pro Bowl by voting.

Now let’s be frank, this is just unnecessary. They are trying to model a pickup game of football. Why are you ruining something that could honestly be so great?

Think about it. A game where Aaron Rodgers is throwing to Odell Beckham Jr. Does that sound awesome or does that sound awesome?

On paper, it should be. In reality, it is similar to watching paint dry.

So, why can’t we have the Pro Bowl midseason like the NBA and MLB do?

Maybe the reason the NFL is opposed to this is because of the physicality of the sport.

However, the NFL plays the fewest games per season compared to these sports. Yes, I understand football is literally running into someone and getting hit. But playing 82 basketball games a season probably isn’t too easy either.

Regardless of the levels of physicality, you play any sport at a professional level that often, your body will feel it.

I’m not asking for the NFL to play 50 games. I’m asking for one more game halfway through the season, I’m asking for 17 games. Give these guys an All Star break.

There won’t be any defense until the fourth quarter. It will just be exciting and electrifying plays for the fans. That’s all they really want.

Does anyone watch the NBA All-Star Game for a good matchup? No. We watch it to see a dream team that will never exist elsewhere. We watch it to see Chris Paul lob the ball to James Harden. We watch it to see LeBron throw the ball to the perimeter for Carmelo to shoot a three.

Why can’t we have this in football?

I want to live in a world where I can see Adrian Peterson and LeSean McCoy in the backfield together for one game a year.

Am I really asking for that much? No, no I am not.

So please, give me an NFL All-Star Game that everyone will watch.

Millions tune in to watch the NBA All Star Weekend. Millions tune in to watch the MLB All Star Game. Let’s add the NFL to that list.

There won’t be a dunk contest, but there could be a 40-yard dash contest, a one-handed catch contest, and a throwing contest.

Basically, it could be a casual combine. I mean, why not?

Do it for the fans. Bring the Pro Bowl back to life. Honestly, the NFL could use all the good press it can get right now.

Few people are good enough and devoted enough to become consensus All-Americans while pursuing a petroleum engineering degree.

Doug Dawson, a former Texas offensive lineman, managed to succeed in both.

Dawson, an academic and consensus All-American who played from 1980–1983, became a starter by sophomore year. But managing his full-time studies and full-time football career wasn’t easy.

“It means you have no life,” Dawson said. “The old college experience, you know, ‘Hey we’ll meet you out on one of the lakes,’ or ‘We’ll meet you out at Barton Creek’ — that was not my college experience. My college experience was studying and playing football.”

But the sacrifices Dawson made on the 40 Acres paid off. His accomplishments across the board at Texas caught the eye of teammates and general managers alike.

“Doug excelled at the fundamentals,” said Vance Bedford, current Texas defensive coordinator and a collegiate teammate of Dawson’s for two years. “He did the little things extremely well. The work ethic; you couldn’t say enough good things about Doug.”

The St. Louis Cardinals, currently known as the Rams, took Dawson in the second round of the 1984 NFL Draft. Dawson played in eight seasons in the NFL. But what set Dawson apart from other NFL players is the way he prepared for his career after football.

Always wanting to stay a step ahead of the curve, Dawson began thinking about life after football as soon as he joined the NFL. After his rookie season, he passed the test to become a licensed stockbroker. Not long after that, he signed on with Northwestern Mutual and found himself balancing two careers at once.

“I had a couple of injuries about halfway through my career that kept me out of a couple of seasons during that 11-year span,” Dawson said. “That is when I decided to become a financial adviser.”

In the final season of his career, Dawson started as offensive lineman for a playoff-bound Cleveland Browns, which Bill Belichick coached. But he soon found out he was making more money working in his new job in his spare time.

When the 1994 season ended with a second-round playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dawson, then-33, decided to retire from football and become a full-time financial adviser.

“I kind of hit the ground running,” Dawson said. “When they start offering you less to play pro football than you make in your regular business … you start thinking it’s time to grow up and get a big-boy job.”

Although the careers are on opposite spectrums, Dawson finds many similarities between his former and current career — they have the same basic principles. 

“As an offensive lineman, my job was to serve my quarterback and to block, and it’s a role where you’re not in the limelight,” Dawson said. “The more you learn to serve other peoples’ needs, the more successful you’ll become. In business and in work, you have got to serve other people’s needs to be successful.”

Brett Favre soon to earn acknowledgment for Hall of Fame career

This summer, Brett Favre will be inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.

Some of you may know Favre as the old guy on the Wranglers commercial holding a football for no reason. Or you may know him as the Jets quarterback for one season. Or you may even know him as the Minnesota Vikings quarterback, who was the targeted player by the New Orleans Saints “Bounty Boys.”

But to the NFL, Favre is the legendary Packers quarterback that led the team for 16 years, the quarterback with two NFC titles, 11 Prop Bowl appearances, three NFL MVP titles, and a Super Bowl win. 

But there's more. 

Favre collected nearly 72,000 career-passing yards, 508 career touchdowns and a career passer rating of 86.

Yes, he is the guy who retired twice, but that should not be his legacy. Maybe that is what we remember because it is what happened recently, but there is so much more to Favre.

Not only will we remember Favre for the way John Madden said his name, but also for the legend he was. For those 16 seasons on the Packers, he played in every single regular season game except for one game in his first season.

Prior to Favre’s arrival in Green Bay in 1992, the Packers achieved relatively little on field success for about 24 years after the departure of Vince Lombardi. Favre led where needed and took the team back to prominence. The Packers team seen today is because of Favre.

So next time you see a Wranglers commercial, I hope you notice the legend in the yard wearing jeans and throwing a football. Salute Brett Favre in your best John Madden voice.

Cedar Hill head coach offered open position on staff

Head coach Charlie Strong has offered Cedar Hill High School head coach Joey McGuire the open special teams/tight ends position, according to a report by Horns247 citing a source close to McGuire. Orangebloods was the first to report the connection.

McGuire has had quite the run in the high school football scene, racking up three state titles in 12 years in the highest classification, including back-to-back titles. In addition to his on field success, McGuire knows the Texas high school landscape and could help in recruiting—especially his own Damarkus Lodge. Lodge, a 6-foot-2 four-star WR, is one of the top receiving prospects in the nation who took a surprise visit to Austin last week after decommitting from the Aggies.

However, with McGuire’s son as a quarterback for Dallas area Cedar Hill High School, sources indicated to Horns247 that it would be tough to pry McGuire away from his son. They added that he has already turned down two college offers.

"Joey would be an absolutely tremendous addition to any college staff," Westlake head coach Todd Dodge told Horns247. "First, he's a damn good football coach. Two, he'll be a heck of a recruiter. He has that great personality. I think it would be awesome.