Former Texas A&M head football coach and College Football Hall of famer Richard Copeland “R.C.” Slocum was announced as the 2016 Muster speaker Thursday.

Muster — a Texas A&M tradition where Aggies worldwide gather to remember their time on campus and honor those who died in the past year — is held yearly on April 21. Slocum will speak before over 10,000 students and visitors at the Campus Muster ceremony, the largest Aggie Muster in the world, which caps campus’ daylong Muster activities with a candlelit vigil for every Aggie who died in the past year.

During his time as football coach, Slocum won more games than any predecessing coach at A&M. Although he retired from coaching in 2002, Slocum continues to be involved with A&M through his position as a special advisor to the president.

“Of all the traditions, of which we have many, I would say that Aggie Muster is the hallmark of what Aggies are about,” Slocum said.

Madeline Kinnaird, speaker subchair for Aggie Muster Committee and electrical engineering senior, said Slocum was chosen in part because he has played an integral part in A&M’s history.

“He has been here so long and has been part of so much of A&M’s history,” Kinnaird said. “He was the football coach during the bonfire collapse and was a big leader on campus in the ways he supported the student body during that time.”

Kinnaird said coach Slocum stood out to the committee as a Muster speaker nominee.

“How he got the coaching job is he basically camped out because he wanted to be here,” Kinnaird said. “He still lives here in College Station even though he is done coaching just because he loves A&M so much. He’s an Aggie through and through.”

Slocum said he has attended an Aggie Muster every year for the past 43 years, however he typically attends smaller Muster ceremonies held away from the flagship campus. Slocum said he is honored to be returning to and speaking at the largest Muster ceremony.

“In 1972 I came here with Emory Ballard as a young assistant coach, and that spring we took our whole football team to Muster on campus,” Slocum said. “Since that time I have always been somewhere else speaking at Muster, so this year will be a big circle for me to go back.”

The 2016 Aggie Muster ceremony will take place April 21 in Reed Arena. Along with the keynote speaker, a Roll Call for the Absent will call the name of local Aggies who died in the past year aloud. There are over 300 Aggie muster ceremonies worldwide. 

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