Getting to Know Texas A&M
By Donovan Tennimon
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As the Aggies prepare for their first season in the SEC, there is much that SEC fans have to learn about the program.
First, let’s take a few moments to remember those individuals that were shot near the campus of Texas A&M. Three people were killed, including the shooter, when a gunman opened fire while being served an eviction notice. A constable and a civilian were also killed. Another civilian and three more law enforcement officers were injured during the event. Our thoughts are with the newest member of the SEC family.
Texas A&M, along with Missouri, will begin play in the SEC this season. First, what does “A&M” stand for? When the school opened in 1876 as the state’s first public institution of higher learning it was known as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. In 1963, the institution gained university status and retained the “A&M” for historical and traditional symbolism. The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas was also established as a military institution. The Corps of Cadets form the largest uniformed body of students outside the Service Academies.
Originally, the school only allowed males. Thankfully, females were admitted beginning in 1963. However, Texas A&M still doesn’t have cheerleaders; they have yell leaders, which are all male. I guess some traditions are hard to break. Their mascot, Reveille VIII, is referred to as “Miss Rev” by the Corps of Cadets. Miss Rev also happens to be the highest ranking member of the Corps.
Aggies became the official student body nickname in 1949 when the yearbook changed its name to Aggieland. The term Aggie was used as early as the 1920s. There are currently about 50,000 Aggies enrolled at Texas A&M, making it one of the largest public university campuses by enrollment. The University of Florida and Texas A&M are the two largest schools, in terms of enrollment, in the SEC.
Texas A&M began playing football in 1894, around the same time as most other SEC programs. The school boasts three national championships (the last coming in 1939). They won their last conference championship in 1998 as members of the Big XII. That was their only championship in that conference to go along with 17 from their days in the old Southwest Conference.
John David Crow is the school’s only Heisman Trophy winner (1957). He is also the only Heisman Trophy winner coached by Paul “Bear” Bryant. The Aggies have produced 43 1st-team All Americans. They have played in 33 bowl games and won 14. They played Missouri only four times prior to the formation of the Big XII in 1996. The two teams will be permanent cross-division opponents in the SEC’s current scheduling format. Missouri is in the SEC East and Texas A&M in the West.
The Aggies will be anxious to welcome their new SEC opponents into Kyle Field. With a capacity of 83,002 it is the seventh largest stadium in the conference. They haven’t even played their first game as a SEC member and they are already looking at expanding the stadium. It only took about five minutes to sell out of season tickets this year. Looks like Aggie fans are anxious to make enough noise to challenge even the loudest stadiums in the SEC: Tiger Stadium, Jordan-Hare Stadium, and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. I’m sure there will be plenty of comments about that statement.