As we head into the final stretch of games in our longtime home and historic Frank Erwin Center, Monday night was one for the ages and the ol’ memory bank. Wow, Longhorn Family, y’all brought it BIG-TIME. The house was rockin’ from the opening tip to long after the final whistle, and Coach Beard and the guys responded with a resounding 79-76 victory over No. 8 Kansas. It was one of those nights where you just feel that amazingly powerful force that Longhorn Nation provides, and the pride, passion and determination our team displayed in getting the W was truly awesome. This team has no quit and neither do you! I couldn’t be prouder, am beyond excited, and am extraordinarily grateful for all of you and your support. It’s a great day to be a Longhorn!
With the joy and jubilation of that victory fresh in our mind, it’s a great time to reflect, as well. On Friday, I had the privilege of joining Lowell Galindo at the Longhorn Network studio for our annual Texas Athletics Town Hall. Due to last week’s winter storm, we had to push things back a day, but I continue to be amazed by the resiliency of our community when we face adversity, including our latest bout with mother nature. The Town Hall is what we call our “stakeholders meeting” for Longhorn Nation, the best fans in the nation, and we were able to share all of the excitement that’s happening on the Forty Acres. It was great timing, too, as we had the chance to talk past, present and future at a time when all of our teams are competing or in the midst of intense off-season workouts, and we have so much to look forward to as we plan for the 2022-23 Texas Athletics season.
It certainly was a year for the ages in 2020-21 that included winning the Learfield College Directors’ Cup for the first time in our illustrious history and dethroning Stanford’s 25-year reign. What a phenomenal accomplishment anchored by three national championship teams (Men’s Swimming & Diving, Women’s Tennis and Rowing), as well as 13 Big 12 championships and 13 Top-10 team finishes. I have so much pride in our student-athletes, coaches and staff for putting us in a position every day to compete and win at the highest level.
During our Town Hall visit, Lowell and I talked about the changes we’re making to the seating configuration of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium this upcoming season to create the best home-field advantage for our student-athletes. Not only do we have seven home games for the first time since 2010, beginning this year, the student section is moving to the northeast corner of the lower bowl from Section 16 through Section 27. This move helps us create a more raucous environment for our players and also helps us meet seating guidelines when we make our future move to the Southeastern Conference. I want to apologize to our loyal season ticket holders whose seats were impacted by this change and greatly appreciate your flexibility as we make this move in our seating. Also, for those of you who were reassigned seats due to the move, you will have an opportunity to move your location or upgrade to a higher tier location during the upgrade process that will take place in April. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Ticket Sales & Services team at 512-471-3333. We can’t wait to see everyone back at DKR on September 3 for the home opener.
While we continue to face financial challenges stemming from the 2020-21 athletics season due to COVID-19, we are on a solid track to meet our goals. The generosity of our Longhorn Foundation members has been spectacular, and we can’t thank them enough for their support that built the new south end zone. It is a tremendous facility for our football student-athletes and coaches, as well as all of Longhorn Nation on gamedays! This year, we’re in the midst of building the new Basketball and Rowing Practice Facility located just south of the Moody Center. The continued investment in our capital projects by Longhorn Foundation members is paramount to our success.
And speaking of the Moody Center, it’s almost here! Before we move into the finest arena in college sports, we are in the final days of celebrating Texas Men’s and Women’s Basketball’s amazing 45 years in the Frank Erwin Center and hope everyone can join us for our remaining games in the historic arena. Current Men’s and Women’s Basketball season ticket holders will receive more information on the season ticket renewal process for the Moody Center later this month. We went through the decoupling process for Football and Men’s Basketball season tickets during the Town Hall. What that means is priority seating gifts will now be separated between those sports, so moving forward, all Men’s Basketball season ticket holders who also have Football tickets will be required to make separate seat gifts for Men’s Basketball. The main reason for this is to create a basketball-centric fan base at the Moody Center. We’re moving from a 16,500-seat arena to a 10,000-seat arena next year, so seating will be at a premium and we’re laser-focused on filling those seats with fans who are passionate about attending every game and helping us create a big-time homecourt advantage and electric hoops environment.
Friday’s Town Hall also coincided with the launch of 2022 Texas Football season ticket renewals! I am so excited to welcome you back to the Forty Acres this fall as Coach Sark and our student-athletes are hard at work and getting ready for an awesome season.
For those who are renewing their season tickets, here are some key points:
• This season, we are building an even stronger home-field advantage by creating a contiguous and larger student section by moving it to the northeast corner from Section 16 through Section 27. The Longhorn Band will also be repositioned within this new area, further amplifying The Showband of the Southwest throughout the stadium for all fans to enjoy!
• We have added a seventh home game for the first time since 2010. While this game adds a little bit to the overall ticket cost, as a renewing season ticket holder, your seat-related gift remains unchanged for as long as you renew your current season tickets.
• Two new LED screens are being added to the left and right of the giant video board in the south end zone, and we are also performing a sound study to improve audio in the stadium.
• Ticket requests for the AT&T Red River Showdown versus Oklahoma, away game ticket requests, and purchasing seatbacks will take place beginning in April.
• Fans who want the easiest way to renew Football season tickets moving forward can opt in to our new auto renewal program.
This season, one of our themes is “It’s Personal” and that’s what it will be indeed. We can’t wait to gather together on gamedays Horns Forward!
The deadline to renew your season tickets is March 18 and you can do so online at TexasSports.com/Renewals or by calling us at 512-471-3333. Keep an eye on your mailboxes in the next week for more information.
For those who don’t have season tickets currently but want in, season ticket deposits are on sale now for $199 per seat. This guarantees you access to be first in line after season ticket holders to choose seats later this spring. Don’t wait, as we’ve already seen a tremendous number of Longhorns who have made commitments to join us this fall.
Make those plans now to join us on Saturday, April 23, for the Orange-White Game presented by Living Spaces. It’s all part of ‘Made in Austin’ Weekend on the Forty Acres, and I can’t wait to share details on all of the weekend’s activities as we get closer.
Amidst all of the competition and events, we continue to celebrate Black History Month this February and were honored to have Jimmy Blacklock, our Men’s Basketball’s MVP in 1970-71 who that year became our first African-American starter in that sport, with us at the game. I got chills when we introduced Jimmy, the crowd went wild as he flashed his Hook ‘Em, and then he kissed the Erwin Center court. Talk about a heartwarming moment with a guy that truly epitomizes the pride and winning tradition of The University of Texas! I was also so fortunate to host members of the Precursors, UT-Austin’s first undergraduate African Americans, at the game on Saturday. They truly are History Makers and were an absolute joy to spend some quality time with. You can join the conversation all month long as we amplify the stories and voices of our Black student-athletes across all of our athletics platforms as part of our Let’s Talk series.
One of the most discussed topics in intercollegiate athletics today is the rise of Name, Image and Likeness (NIL). In this new era, it is extremely important to remember that our student-athletes have the opportunity to come to Texas and get one of the very best educations in the world and are able to change their paradigm by attending this fine university. Our team and colleagues across campus are working hard to provide all the necessary tools our students need to navigate this new world, including agent training, financial literacy training and “dress for success” training. This entire process has been eye-opening but exciting!
I hear from our fans regularly on when custom player jerseys will become available, and those will come online in the fall. We wish it could be sooner, but supply chain challenges with our partner at Nike have delayed the rollout of this program. Stay tuned though for some exciting options for Baseball and Softball later this spring.
I always love to hear from all of you and am so appreciative of all of our fans who submitted questions this past weekend. If you want to hear more and didn’t have a chance to catch the Town Hall on Longhorn Network, you can watch it on TexasSports.com.
Another Big Week Ahead:
We’re right back at it this week Longhorn Fans! Women’s Basketball looks to bounce back as it travels to Texas Tech tonight (7 p.m. CT/ESPN+), before returning to the Erwin Center on Saturday to face our Red River Rivals (7 p.m. CT/LHN). Fresh off the victory over No. 8 Kansas, Men’s Basketball gets a little break before traveling to Waco to face No. 10 Baylor in a Saturday morning matinee (11 a.m. CT/ESPN2). Women’s Tennis begins ITA Team National Indoor Championship competition with round of 16 play on Friday in Madison, Wis., while Men’s Tennis hosts Rice on Friday (5 p.m. CT) and UCF on Sunday (Noon CT) at the Texas Tennis Center. Softball opens the 2022 season at the FGCU Invitational, and Track & Field will send split squads on the road for indoor meets.
While I’ve got you, Football is always a hot topic. Coach Sark closed out a talented top-five recruiting class last week and the team is hard at work in preparation for the spring season that begins in late March. Be sure to get those season ticket renewals in, and we’ll see you all at the Spring Game on April 23. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m., but we’ll have a full day of festivities, so stay tuned to all of our platforms as those details will be rolling in soon.
Speaking of Texas Football, we certainly are being well represented by our future and current Longhorns in the NFL. I want to give a huge shoutout and emphatic Hook ‘Em to two of our Horns headed into the NFL in Josh Thompson and Cameron Dicker who played in Saturday’s prestigious and historic Senior Bowl. The same congrats are in order for three guys at the absolute top of their game in our Longhorns who earned a spot on Sunday’s Pro Bowl Roster in Quandre Diggs, Devin Duvernay and Justin Tucker. That marked the 21st-straight season that one of our Longhorn Legends has been selected to the Pro Bowl, way to go guys! This week it’s THE Super Bowl, and two of our very own will be there as the Cincinnati Bengals compete for the World Championship! Trey Hopkins in his third year as the starting center for the Bengals, and Joseph Ossai has unfortunately spent his rookie season on injured reserve, but will be right there supporting his team at SoFi Stadium on Sunday. It’s the 17th-straight year we’ve had one of our letterwinners make it to The Big Game, so congrats, Hook ‘Em and kudos to Trey and Joseph for representing Longhorn Nation on Super Bowl Sunday!
Talk about strutting into a new week! Monday night was epic, Texas Fight is an amazing thing, and y’all are the absolute best fans in the nation. Here’s to another great week Longhorn Nation! Let’s do this!!
Hook ‘Em Horns,
Chris Del Conte
Chris Del Conte
P.S. — So grateful for our friends at Truist (the Official Bank Sponsor of the Texas Longhorns) and their multi-year commitment to be the presenting sponsor of the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays!
P.S. II — Well said Coach!
P.S. III – We see ya Rocket! Longhorns for Life x3!!
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