Silver Spurs Bevo Center: Honoring the legacy of the UT mascot
Austin attorney Howard Nirken remembers that it was about this time two years ago that Bevo XIII was going to be put out to pasture.
"Bevo XIII was the longest-running Bevo," said Nirken of the 20 years Bevo XIII had a place at Texas Football games.
As then-president of the Silver Spurs Alumni Association, Nirken spoke of finding a replacement and also noted the intrigue regarding Bevo XIV.
"It's kind of like James Bond," he began. "It may be Roger Moore or it may be Sean Connery in the role, but it is still James Bond."
Just as the Texas mascot is still Bevo.
"There was an amazing amount of interest then," Nirken began. "Even the news media was calling the Silver Spurs about Bevo."
Nirken explained that the Silver Spurs are involved in UT's Neighborhood Longhorns program as an ongoing project. Numerous UT student-athletes spend time volunteering in the program.
He also said the Silver Spurs have endowed scholarships through the Texas Exes and they also handle the care and future care of Bevo.
So it was at the contest against North Texas in 2004, with Bevo XIII at the game that the Silver Spurs began to collect donations for the care and future care for Bevo.
"Hat in hand," Nirken said of the stadium collection. "We raised $20,000 at the home games that season. This was a great start, but to create an endowment for the care and future care of Bevo was quite an undertaking."
Fast forward to 2005.
Nirken reported the Silver Spurs Executive Committee met and discussed finding a space on campus that would feature information about the history of Bevo and also could be used as a catalyst to help in raising the $2 million to $2.5 million endowment for the care and future care of Bevo.
Enter Men's Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds.
"It was February or March of last year that I met with DeLoss and told him what we were doing and what we wanted to do," Nirken said. "DeLoss was interested, and he gave us the lobby area on the east side of the stadium. He just gave it to us. It was a wonderful gesture on DeLoss' part."
Nirken said the Silver Spurs Bevo Center -- the official name of the east side stadium lobby today -- will feature pictures and artifacts. He added items as far back as 1908 have been collected.
"We're about two-thirds through the construction and should be done in September," Nirken reported as August came to a close. "Sometime during the season we'll do a formal dedication.
"We plan to have a fully interactive, year-round Bevo exhibit."
Nirken quickly added that a tremendous number of people have been involved in making this happen and he noted the work on the lobby area done by Ross Rathgeber and Bill Zapalac, a former standout for the Texas Football team. Nirken cited the design work of Rachel Mast, a 1993 UT alum.
He also lauded Ricky Brennes of KVET-AM, the radio home of UT sports, for "Bevo Blvd.," a pregame party area where money is raised for the care and future care of the Bevo endowment.
"The philanthropy that has come together for this is really wonderful," Nirken said.