SEC welcomes Aggies, Tigers to conference
Fans eager to experience Aggieland experience
Published: Thursday, June 7, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07
Though the day Texas A&M and Missouri effectively join their new conference still approaches, both universities were allowed to celebrate prematurely Wednesday in Atlanta, Ga. as the SEC welcomed more than 900 speakers and alumni from A&M, Missouri and other SEC institutions.
Among the speakers present were SEC commissioner Mike Slive, Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin and A&M head football coach Kevin Sumlin. Interim athletic director John Thornton, Aggie men’s basketball coach Billy Kennedy and women’s basketball coach Gary Blair were also in attendance.
The event, placed in one of the major hubs of SEC country, gave fellow SEC institutions and fans an opportunity to investigate A&M history, traditions, athletics and academics. Jason Cook, A&M vice president of marketing and communications, said the SEC welcomed the Aggies and indicated many conference fans were anxious to experience Aggieland for themselves.
“It truly was a welcoming celebration for Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC,” Cook said. “I think that SEC fans are excited about having the Aggies, excited about having the Twelfth Man in the league, and a lot of people are extremely excited about making the trip to College Station to see a football game at Kyle Field and a baseball game at [Olsen Field] at Blue Bell Park.”
As A&M makes its transition, the University explains what it brings in culture and academics. The increased exposure from a higher profile conference has A&M officials attempting to buck the old Aggie saying ‘From the outside you can’t understand it, from the inside you can’t explain it.’
Cook said the SEC celebration was no exception to this mission.
“What we wanted to do tonight was pick up Texas A&M one evening, and put it in the middle of Atlanta,” Cook said. “We wanted to expose people to our world class academics in research, expose them to our traditions and then also introduce them to some of our coaches.”
Also in attendance were the Texas Aggie yell leaders, members of student government and A&M’s collie mascot, Reveille. Senior yell leader Drew Nelson said he enjoyed explaining the traditions of Texas A&M to curious SEC fans.
“We got a lot of questions about our uniforms and our history, just all of the traditions at Texas A&M,” Nelson said. “All the schools in the SEC have a deeply rooted tradition but none of them come close to A&M. A lot of people know about the Twelfth Man, know about Kyle Field and know that we have five yell leaders, but it was really neat to explain a lot of that to some of them for the first time.”
The SEC, too, provided an inviting atmosphere for the Aggies and Tigers. A conference that prides itself on the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, it showcased that sentiment Wednesday evening. Student Body President John Claybrook said the SEC welcomed the Aggie family with open arms.
“One big banner said, ‘Welcome to the SEC family, Texas A&M.’ It was a very welcoming environment,” Claybrook said. “[SEC] commissioner Slive actually mentioned a couple of traditions. He mentioned ‘Howdy,’ Midnight Yell and the Dixie Chicken … I think people got a really good feel for the kind of spirit A&M has.”