Team 12 is a student organization that serves and supports Texas A&M’s athletic department. The group specifically serves prospective student-athletes and former A&M athletes on football game days, in addition to other events such as the annual Burgess Banquet, summer football camps and the Jimbo Fisher radio show.
The organization hasn't always been known as Team 12, though. The group formerly operated under the names Aggie Elites and Aggie Hostesses.
Several years ago as the former head football coach at the University of Alabama, Bear Bryant established a student organization called the Bama Belles, which was an all-female recruiting group. In the years following, other major universities created similar support groups, including A&M with the founding of Aggie Hostesses in 1985.
Lisa Garrison, Class of 1991 and a two-year member of Aggie Hostesses, said the group of about 60 women supported the athletic program and played a role in hosting football recruits on game days. Garrison said without the internet and exposure to the culture of different universities, their ability to answer recruits’ and their families' questions was a big part of connecting with prospective students.
“We would go sit with the family during the game and do on-the-field things like pre-game press stuff,” Garrison said. “I just think it’s invaluable that when athletes are brought onto campus, you see someone they can ask questions to, someone close to their age and in the student realm.”
In addition to learning what it took to run a football program of such high caliber, Garrison said her favorite part of her involvement with Aggie Hostesses was getting to know some of the football athletes and seeing them be successful on the field.
“You know, you have that personal relationship, you just want the best things to happen to those athletes,” Garrison said. “I think that’s what I valued most, serving in an organization and watching people be successful.”
In 2016, the organization rebranded itself and became the Aggie Elites in order to “better represent our members as strong, empowering, influential and successful women,” according to the team’s website.
Chloe Shelby, Class of 2020, joined the newly renovated organization her freshman year, which allowed her to serve former A&M athletes in the Jackie Sherrill Lettermen's Lounge on game days, as well as help with the spring football game and various athletic reunions. However, Aggie Elites didn’t last long as the football coaching staff change in 2017 resulted in another rebranding of the organization.
“With the coaching staff change that year, everything was up in the air with the entire athletic department,” Shelby said. “That’s essentially why we transitioned. Coach Fisher had a similar support group at Florida State and wanted to have that at A&M.”
Shelby was one of the few members of Aggie Elites that continued in the organization and helped establish Team 12 in January of 2018. When comparing the two groups, Shelby said Team 12 is much more professional and well-respected under the new athletic department leadership.
Team 12’s primary advisor and assistant director of Letterman’s Association, Lindsey Quisenberry, Class of 2008, said making the group co-ed was one of the main purposes and most significant changes of the transition from Aggie Elites to Team 12.
“Team 12 is more of an event-based organization that we wanted to be able to help with multiple events throughout the event department,” Quisenberry said. “We wanted there to be more jobs available instead of just that generic, cute girl greeting a football player.”
Quisenberry said Team 12 is the first friendly face guests see, whether they’re a former athlete returning to campus for an event or visiting for the first time as a prospective student-athlete. The team’s members are assigned tasks such as door holding, registration check-in, and directing the flow of traffic.
“As a staff member, I’m able to rely on the group, which makes my game day job easier because I know the duties and tasks we’ve assigned them are getting done,” Quisenberry said. “I don't have to micromanage.”
When asked what her favorite memory is from her involvement in the organization, Shelby said that although she enjoyed game days a lot, she loved the behind-the-scenes moments even more.
“I really just loved the small, quiet moments like working football camp and getting to know the staff on a personal level,” Shelby said. “On social media you see these people with the verified check mark and in all the limelight, but we got to see them for being humans and get an inside look at the struggles that went on in practices and all.”
Additionally, as the daughter of former A&M football player Jimmie Shelby, Chloe said it would make her day to see who was on the list of former athletes coming to the Letterman’s Lounge each game. She said getting to meet people and hear their stories influenced her decision to pursue a career in student-athlete development.
Team 12’s current president, junior Peyton Liebler has a similar passion for the organization and for making people’s experience in Aggieland the best it can be.
“I always explain to people that one cool thing about Team 12 is we see both sides of the field, but also two sides of a player,” Liebler said. “They start out as a recruit, to a letterman, and it’s an amazing process to see how people who bring so much to this university can start as well as continue their journey.”
Liebler said getting to make the Aggie Spirit happen is a remarkable experience.
“I can tell you I have literally never felt more value, praise and fulfillment in something that is solely about experience for other people,” Liebler said. “It’s so cool just to understand that we have the ability to make the Aggie experience for people on both sides of the field — whether you’re a recruit or someone that’s long graduated from A&M that are lettermen.”