A meaningful letter
Forty-seven Longhorn student-athletes were honored Friday at the inaugural Letter Jacket Ceremony. The first-year letterwinners were presented with jackets to commemorate their athletic excellence.
Texas Football letterman and former head coach David McWilliams, director of the T-Association, helped organize the event. The idea for the ceremony developed out of inspiration from similar programs around the country.
“We heard about [similar programs] that other universities have, and it really excited us because it’s so neat and so important when you get that first letter in college,” McWilliams said. “And we would like for it to become a new tradition at Texas.”
A letter is awarded to a student-athlete upon being designated by their respective head coach and approved by the Athletics Councils. Each sport has different criteria for lettering, and in cases of extenuating circumstances the head coach may waive criteria.
Among the honorees was soccer standout Erica Campanelli.
“It’s definitely a huge honor, especially going to such an amazing university with such a great athletic program across the board,” noted the freshman defender. “It’s really an honor to be able to wear this jacket knowing everything that it represents.”
There were also 21 football players honored at the event.
“It’s an honor and a really neat experience,” sophomore C Buck Burnette said. “It was great to be honored like this with all of my friends and teammates. It makes you feel like you’re officially part of things, so it’s an exciting time and an exciting experience.”
Teammate Sam Acho also noted the significance of receiving his letter jacket.
“It kind of makes my experience here at Texas feel more complete even though I’m just starting,” said the freshman defensive end. “This adds a visible sign.”
Women’s athletics director Chris Plonsky commended the T-Association on the new addition.
“It’s a great program because we want to get them started on what this really means and the significance of what they have accomplished,” Plonsky said. “[Earning their first letter] is really the start of the rest of their career, and you lose some of the importance when you just get a jacket in the mail. The event was all about the reaction and the camaraderie in the room, and I think it was very successful.”