A sign of achievement
Rings are often used to commemorate large achievements. Whether it is a class ring from high school or the National Championship ring that was produced to honor the 2005 Texas Longhorns, rings often have meaning behind just their physical attributes.
One ring that is as special as it is significant is the T-Ring, which is awarded to every Texas football letterman who earns his degree. It is that much more special for a player to receive their T-Ring while still on the active roster, but in Dallas Griffin's case, there isn't a lot about his academic pursuits that is normal.
Griffin, who will begin studying in the Red McCombs MBA program this fall, earned his T-Ring prior to his senior year of eligibility by graduating this spring with a degree in honors business with a major in finance. He was presented with it on Tuesday.
"I think this T-Ring is a symbol of hard work and dedication and serves as an all encompassing reminder of what we as student-athletes are here to do," explained Griffin, who was recently named to the Outland Trophy list for the nation's best interior lineman. "I don't want to take anything away from the National Championship ring or other season rings, but this ring embodies the whole college experience for me. That is why it is so special."
The T-Ring was first introduced to Texas athletics by Darrell Royal in 1957, his first season as head coach. Royal created the unique award to recognize the student-athlete. He designed the gold ring with an orange stone, capped with a white "T" and presented the ring as a personal gift to any Longhorn football player who lettered and achieved his degree.
Head coach Mack Brown embraced that tradition when he arrived at Texas in 1998 and has continued to stress its importance, often stating that the Texas experience is not complete without the T-Ring.
"We're really excited about how hard our guys work in the classroom," said Brown. "Seeing them earn their degrees and pick up their T-Rings is as rewarding as all of the victories they've helped us get on the field."
Griffin, who was named the Anson Mount Scholar/Athlete, which recognizes the nation's premiere scholar-athlete, agrees with Brown.
"I'll always remember certain games during my career at Texas," said Griffin, "but this ring will remind me of not only those games, but of my time in the classroom, the relationships I've made and all the hard work that was put in on and off the field. I couldn't be prouder to have it."