A conversation with Texas A&M’s Track and Field Program
By Adam Quisenberry
What makes Aggieland special to you?
Having been at another conference school for 17 years, they had some great aspects and traditions, but the whole package is what makes A&M special. First of all, the people who support us, especially the ones engaged through the 12th Man Foundation, are really unique. Their commitment to the organization exceeds the call of duty and I don’t know of any other institution that has that level of support. It really shows in everything that has happened in the last 15 years –those people have stepped up and really helped us. Without their help, none of this would be possible.
How has the opening of E.B. Cushing Stadium impacted your program?
It’s a tremendous facility and is going to be a major factor for us in recruiting, no question about it. For our current team, having their own locker room is huge. They never had that before. Having a place where they can sit down and gather socially is another thing we have never had before. They have to be able to have fun off the track and that is a big part of it.
How significant is the support of 12th Man Foundation donors, both big and small, on the success of your student-athletes?
People like Amy and Tim Leach, Dorothy and the late Artie McFerrin, Rhonda and Frosty Gilliam and so many others like them really value the relationship with young people and the impact they can make in their lives. That’s really what it’s all about –getting to know the student-athletes on a personal level. The more people who take the opportunity to engage with our student-athletes through the 12th Man Foundation the better because our student-athletes learn what it means to be great Aggies from the people who have come before them.
“The more people who take the opportunity to engage with our student-athletes through the 12th Man Foundation the better because our student-athletes learn what it means to be great Aggies from the people who have come before them.”
In what ways do donations to the 12th Man Foundation have an impact on your program?
Any contribution, any involvement matters and the more the better. If you’re able to give a little bit, it helps a lot. A whole lot of little bits help a lot of people. Because sports are regulated, for instance, men’s track and field gets 12.6 scholarships, but we have 70 student-athletes. We have about the same number of female student-athletes for 18 scholarships. So, support doesn’t always reflect in scholarships, but it does reflect in how we care for our student-athletes, facilities, travel and so many other ways we treat them when they’re here. All that goes back to contributions and the way people support our programs.
How does a scholarship change a young person’s life?
My experience of going into homes –in many cases, the lack of homes –you see the impact an education can have and does have for people after their athletic career is over. It’s so easy to show people that their contribution makes a huge positive change in young peoples’ lives.