Jump to content
The Smoakhouse Forums
Sign in to follow this  

Part 2 The Dramatic Turnaround and Revial of Texas A&M-Commerce Football...and sports.

Recommended Posts

The Summer of 2013 was an eventful one for Texas A&M-Commerce, but they started out with academic acheivements. The school of just over 12,200 in the far northeastern edges of the greater DFW metroplex was in the news for not good, but great things. The first is that the State of Texas reported that A&M-Commerce had experienced the most growth in terms of ratio amongst non Teir-I Schools in Texas. Then, the College of Education and Human Services at TAMUC was named the # 1 ranked Education School in the entire state of Texas, and 13th best in the entire nation, by the Directory of U.S. Colleges Database Magazine, including beating out most Ivy League Schools. The Distance MBA at TAMUC's Business grad school retained a Top 10 Ranking, and then the school annoucned it's first ever Softball team. Then, the great Lion that Carthel had mentioned began to awake.


Memorial Stadium at Commerce had undergone significant rennovations in the past 6 years, but none compared to what was coming. Since 2006, grass was replaced with safeplay turf, the high-school quality scoreboard was replaced with the largest Video Board Scoreboard in all of Division II athletics, and a visitor side was added back to Memorial Stadium, the first time since 1974 that Memorial Stadium had two sides, adding 3500 seats, a new press box, and WIFI network for those attending games. Then, the big Lion Head came. The old safeplay surface was replaced by a gigantic Lion Head that stretches 50 yards long and 45 yards wide. The new surface got TAMUC the exposure it wanted and needed. People knew that TAMUC was not some never was Football program, but a program rich in tradition and excellence. Carthel, Jones and Ivey hit the road and launched tours to encourage not just financial support, but fan support by offering former players and distinguished alums reserved seating, full servicing during games for food and beverages, and getting more Football Stations on the Lion Football Radio Network. Billboards started to go up on Interstate 30 in Dallas County and Rockwall county for those headed Northeast to Commerce encouraging season tickets and game attendance, and showing all roads lead to the small college town on the blacklands of rural North Texas.


The Lions opened the 2013 season against Sul Ross State University, the best offensive team in Division III the previous year, and a team that would be joining the Lions in the Lone Star Conference the next year as a Division II school. Two surprises awaited fans. The first was the home side Memorial Stadium in Commerce had been completely redone. New and rennovated conession stands, restrooms, new plaques honoring notable Lion players and fans, and even a brand new floor. Players that had been on the many successful East Texas State teams (the former name of Texas A&M-Commerce) started to get involved, especially after the Lions blew out SRSU 51-6. The change was more than noticable, it was flat out apperant. After the game, the long standing tradition, started by former coach JV Sikes in 1960, of singing the former high church Hymn "When the roll is called up yonder" during early morning stretches before practice, and after home wins was starting out, with 82 Lion players hitting the high note in unison, after the win and singing the old song on the field for the first time since 1998, when former coach Eddie Brister ended the practice. Lion fans leaving the stadium had a smile from ear to ear.


7 weeks later, despite their starting quarterback being out for the season, the Lions are 6-2 with 3 games left, all of which they are favored to win. They have beaten two ranked teams, captured rivalry Cups the Chennault Cup (the trophy for the rivalry with Texas A&M-Kingsville), and the President's Cup (the trophy for the rivalry with Tarleton State University.) The only two losses have been to the # 4 and # 19 teams in the entire country, and with those wins and "quality losses" the Lions could very well see the NCAA playoffs for the first time since 1995, the last season the Lions played under the name East Texas State. As for the other sports, The Lady Lions Volleyball team is 17-6, the Ladies Soccer team is 10-4-1, The Men's Cross Country team has won 2 of the 4 meets it has been in and took 2nd overall going to the NCAA South Central Championships later in November, the Women's Cross Country team finished 5th in the Conference Championships, 3 spots better than last year and took 2nd place in two meets earlier, donations to the athletic program has shot up by nearly 93 %, and the school is nearing 13,000 students in enrollment, has raised acadmeic admission standards, opened a nursing school, and much like Carthel did with the Football team, Jones and Academic college heads are busy weeding out students who are either not performing in the classroom or are majoring in partying and being a menace to the University Community. Ironcially, the enrollment has shot up from 8,600 in 2007 to 12,202 this semester since the purge began.


The final thing that has been done is the unification of alumni bases. Despite it's location in the Northern part of the State, TAMUC was known as East Texas State University from the time it was founded in 1889 to 1996. It became Texas A&M University-Commerce in fall of 1996, leaving many alums upset that "Old ET" was no longer there, and had lost its identity simply to correct a geographic error made over 50 years ago. However, Jones, Carthel, and Ivey once again reached out to the old ET alums by honoring the legacy of athletic Championships and academic success in the ET name, while at the same time showing recent alums and students of TAMUC that the future is indeed bright. That roar you hear is the revival of a storied Football program, a fine University, and a unified pledge that "When the roll is called up yonder, i'll be there.


Texas A&M Commerce hosts Angelo State University Saturday at 2 PM for its Homecoming, looking for its 7th win of the season.


-Josh Bailey, Lampassas, Texas

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this