New student-athlete and parent reception
Aug. 25, 2012
Dalton Pool, Texas Media Relations
AUSTIN, Texas -- All freshmen and first-year student-athletes and their parents had the opportunity to dine and meet with Texas coaches and athletic staff Friday afternoon in the Centennial Room inside Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
The New Student-Athlete and Parent Reception was meant as both a sending off for the newcomers' parents and as a preview of what the Forty Acres' newest Longhorns should expect, whether it be on the field, in the classroom or in daily life.
The reception's motto was "Class Time, Game Time, Lifetime," and keynote speakers such as Men's Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds and Women's Athletics Director Chris Plonsky addressed the student-athletes on the exciting journey that lies ahead. Dodds reminded each of them how honored and privileged they should feel to have the opportunity to represent The University of Texas and earn a T-Ring.
"You see this ring right here?" Dodds asked, pointing at his right ring finger. "I expect each and every one of you to receive one of your own. I got this from Coach (Darrell) Royal 15 years ago. You will receive one when you both letter and graduate."
The reception also served as reinforcement that, starting now, these freshmen will forever be a part of The University of Texas family. This process begins first as a student-athlete, but will continue as a member of the T-Association after graduation.
"We are Longhorns for life," said Jill Sterkel, former national champion swimmer at UT who went on to compete in four Olympiads and earn two gold and two bronze medals and now serves as Co-Executive Director of the T-Association.
The athletes followed along with eager eyes and ears as current UT coaches such as Beverly Kearney, Bubba Thornton, Eddie Reese and Matt Scoggin inspired the youngsters with personal stories and words of wisdom.
The main focus of the reception was to encourage the new student-athletes to perform well not only on the field, but especially in the classroom. The University of Texas prides itself in the academic achievement of its student-athletes.
Last spring, the combined GPA for all student-athletes was a 3.05. A total of 26 student-athletes earned a perfect 4.0, while 49 individuals earned all A's or B`s. In addition, student-athletes completed more than 3,000 combined hours of community service in the Austin and campus communities during the 2011-12 academic year.
"I knew Texas was well-known for its sports, but the academics were a big reason my family and I decided Texas was right for me," said Men's Basketball freshman Javan Felix, who comes to Austin from New Orleans. "Your education is what helps you after basketball."
Javan's mother, Tina Felix, offered additional reasons for her family's comfort level with Javan's decision to attend Texas.
"We stress academics with Javan, and the family-oriented atmosphere here at UT combined with their strong athletics is why Javan felt this was the place for him," said Mrs. Felix.
Celina Rodrigo, a freshman women's basketball player from Marietta, Ga., and her mother, Teresa, felt the same way about The University and its commitment to excellence.
"I think Texas is a great fit for Celina. I love Austin, and with all the help and support that Celina is going to get here, I can't wait to see how much she's going to grow," Mrs. Rodrigo said. "It's just going to be so hard not to see her beautiful face every day."
Javan, Celina and the rest of the student-athletes kick off the fall semester when classes begin Wednesday, Aug. 29.