Forty Acres Insider: June 16
Sep 18, 2023
Important news happening in and around Texas Athletics compiled by Vice President and Athletics Director Chris Del Conte. [Forty Acres Insider archives]
Well folks, it's time to put a bow on the 2022-23 athletic year, and what a gift it has been. Like the glorious victories, championships and steadfast Texas Fight of the fall and winter, the spring seasons delivered so, so much, too. And it doesn't get any better than the sensational performance of our NCAA Outdoor Championship Women's Track & Field squad last weekend right here on our home turf at Mike A. Myers Stadium. When all was said and done, Coach Flo and our Longhorns capped things off in style by Lighting the Tower Orange after a title-winning performance for the ages. There were so many record-setting efforts on the track and in the field in a dominant team effort. As we descended on the infield for the trophy ceremony, the pride and winning tradition of our Longhorns was on full display and had us smiling brightly as we belted out chants of 'Texas…Fight' alongside our victorious squad in a jubilant celebration of the show they put on deep in the heart of Texas! And how about the world class effort our staff put on hosting that great meet. They are why We Are Texas and here's to the we not me work of each and every one of our athletics department teammates, they're endless hours of selfless commitment that allowed us to shine a spotlight on our magnificent facility, campus and city!!
So about that gift that just kept on giving this year, as my guy Sgt. Joe Friday said, here we go with just the facts, folks. Women's Track & Field joined Volleyball to make it a pair of National Championships on the year, and nine in the last three years. There were two runner-up finishes, 10 programs finished among the top-five, and 13 in the top-10 at the NCAA Championships. The 10 top-five's and 13 top-10's were the second-most in our rich and storied history, and now, looky here, our three-year tallies climbed to 31 in the top-five and 40 top-10 finishes. We were the one and only Division I school to qualify ALL of its NCAA-eligible sports for their respective NCAA Championship events AND have its football team play in a bowl game. And wait, there's more, your Longhorns were one of only two schools (Tennessee was the other) to reach the postseason and a bowl game in Baseball, Football, Men's and Women's Basketball, Softball and Volleyball. All I can say is, how 'bout them Longhorns?!
We came up just short of the LEARFIELD Directors' Cup trifecta, but we were right in the hunt and put the heat on Stanford until the very end. And it sure was a close race as we crunched numbers with Baseball and Track & Field closing out the year. In the end, we garnered enough points to finish solidly in second. With the prestigious all-sports titles the past two years, the trio of first, first and second-place hardware is our best-ever three-year run in the standings that honor the finest all-around athletics programs in the land. And the icing on the cake was a sweet dozen conference titles on the year, as well. As a matter of fact, there's a lone school that's claimed at least 12 Big 12 Championships in a year, and that would be us … AND, we've done that SIX times! Our 36 Big 12 crowns over the last three years are more than twice as many as our closest challenger (OU & Oklahoma State, 15) and more than the next two highest totals in the league combined (30). That's A WHOLE LOT to be proud of, and we couldn't have done it without all of you, and all you do to support our programs!
It wasn't just the courts, fields, track and pool, our Longhorns were doing big things in the classroom, the community and beyond, too. It was another spectacular graduation ceremony at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium as we saw more than 100 student-athletes walk the stage to receive their diplomas this spring, making it 139 graduates in 2022-23 commencements. And talk about what starts here changing the world, on a day at the White House celebrating collegiate student-athletes nationwide – including our National Championship Volleyball squad – our very own Logan Eggleston stole the show as she eloquently spoke for them all as the featured speaker. A first-team All-American and Academic All-American, she'll be celebrated as a finalist for the Honda Sports Award next week as the winner of that honor for Volleyball, is up for NCAA Woman of the Year and getting her much-deserved recognition. She is the epitome of a student-athlete, and we were so darn lucky to have here competing in the Burnt Orange & White, and now representing our great university professionally on so many platforms and stages everywhere.
It's a great example of what I love most about this place. As much success as we have in the arenas of competition, which is a lot, it's the people our student-athletes are and how they grow while they're on the 40 Acres that's the most impressive thing. They achieve in every aspect of their lives with the foundation of that being in the classrooms of this incredible university. In the fall, our Student Services department moved into our beautiful newly renovated UFCU Student-Athlete Academic Center. It's a perfect example of how you all help us to help them, and it's the hub of advising, tutoring, study hall, and our 4EVER TEXAS program. Get this, Student Services hosted more than 7,000 (I would put that in caps if it weren't a number) individual tutoring appointments this year. We onboarded 207 new student-athletes between summer and Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 and offered each of them "Transition to Texas" programming to help them adjust to college academics structure and university life. More than 135 student-athletes are projected to graduate by August 2023, and below are just a few of the outstanding accomplishments by our entire group. The numbers are just incredible, and a huge Hook 'Em goes to all of them and our amazing Student Services staff.
• The overall cumulative GPA for all sports following the Spring 2023 semester is 3.3
• Over 70% of our student-athletes hold a cumulative GPA above 3.0 after Spring 2023
• 385 student-athletes were on the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll in Fall 2022
• 104 student-athletes in fall and winter sports earned Academic All-Big 12 honors with the spring sports still to be released by the conference
• 11 student-athletes were named to College Sports Communicators (CSC) Academic All-District Teams, including five on first teams
Speaking of how much you all help us, what a year it's been for our capital projects, and we have so much more to look forward to. That's simply all thanks to you and your never-ending support. From the openings of the aforementioned UFCU Student-Athlete Academic Center and the Basketball and Rowing Training Facility to upgrades of our DKR South End Zone and field level video boards, along with coaches offices at the Disch, resurfacing at the track, the projection system at the Mood, and even the new scoreboards at the Texas Tennis Center that are so near and dear to the heart of our boss man Jay Hartzell, it all comes back to your generous gifts. What's next you ask? Well, we've got several things going on at DKR as we speak that will be done before the season, including the installation of new LED lights so many of you have asked about that will make our already fantastic game experience even bigger and better! We've also got upgrades to the concession stands on the upper concourse of the west side that will feature more grab and go options than ever, and you'll notice impressive new lettering and signage inside the bowl for all of our historic numbers and honors. A little further down the road, before basketball season, we'll have two new video boards at Moody that will hang under the scoreboard to give everyone optimal viewing. Then before the end of the year will be an incredible renovation to the upper back part of Moncrief Athletics Complex that will be one of the finest football recruiting spaces in the country, along with the replacement of the right field video board at the Disch, a major needed bulkhead replacement at the swim center, and a Broadcast Production Control Room housed inside DKR that will be a stepping off point for all of the incredible content our staff will produce and supply as part of the SEC Network.
The closing months of the academic year were active ones across the board. There was the opportunity to spend time with our future foes and colleagues at the SEC Spring Meetings and our 2024 SEC Football opponents were announced. But in the coming days and weeks with media days, off-season training, updates and countdowns to kickoff, we will continue to prepare to head into our final year in the Big 12 Conference. We are laser-focused on competing at the highest-level and finishing strong as we take the final lap in a league that we've had great success in for nearly 30 years.
2023 football season tickets sold out!With that, it's so great to see all of you on board for the ride with our Football season ticket allotment already sold out! That's the second-straight year you all have set the all-time season ticket record! Just amazing, and we can't thank you enough. Demand across all sports is at an all-time high, and your support through the Longhorn Foundation continues to be tremendous. You allow us to provide the best help for our student-athletes to be at the top of their games in every way and are the reason we're able to consistently perform at a championship level. For those of you still looking to become season ticket holders or other ticket options, fill out our football ticket interest form TODAY to get notified when tickets become available. Also, three-game mini plans and group ticket packages will go on sale mid-July, and if available, single-game tickets will go on sale in August. It certainly is something special to spend time cheering alongside you at all of our events, and we can't wait to see the Burnt Orange and White back at DKR on September 2 marking the beginning of a historic season. For that, here's to you and an emphatic Hook 'Em Horns!
While we continue to focus on the present, we also prepare for the future. And what an exciting future it is that was brought that much more into focus as the SEC revealed opponents and locations for our 2024 Football schedule. A full schedule will be released later in the year, but you could just feel the energy as our new friends at the SEC Network unveiled which teams would be heading to Austin and where our Horns will be traveling. The end result – Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi State will all be right here at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, and we can't wait to put on our Burnt Orange best to welcome them! Think about this, Florida has only been here twice in 1924 and 1939, Georgia once in 1958, Kentucky once in 1951, and compared to that, Mississippi State feels like yesterday in 1992 with the other time for them being the oldest of all in 1921! We've definitely got some catching up to do! Then on the road, we'll travel to our old friends at Arkansas and Texas A&M, along with playing Vanderbilt in Nashville for the first time since 1925! We'll also stay on track in our Red River series with OU on Dallas as the designated visiting team that year. All of that, and the other piece of news is that we added a non-conference game against ULM to round out our schedule that includes home games with Colorado State and UTSA, along with a trip to the vaunted Big House to face Meeechigan. I'm getting goosebumps already!
NIL UpdateGovernor Abbott recently signed HB 2804, a bill that enhances our ability to better support our student-athletes in the ever-evolving world of name, image and likeness. One important component of this new state law allows for current Longhorn Foundation donors to receive loyalty points for contributions made to the Texas One Fund after July 1, 2023, when the law goes into effect. Additional detailed information regarding this opportunity will be forthcoming. Also, I am sure you heard about the release of the recent memo by the IRS about the tax exempt status of NIL collectives under the Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). The Texas One Fund has been granted tax-exempt status as an organization under the Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3); however, we encourage donors to consult a tax professional should you have any questions about tax deductions for your specific donations to Texas One Fund.
Light the Tower Orange, Women's Outdoor Track & Field are National Champs!Let's just say it – we know, y'all know, now everybody knows, Flo Knows! Coach Flo and our Longhorns came, they saw and they conquered, protecting our house at Myers Stadium. Our sprinter extraordinaire Julien Alfred led the way in an epic final meet as a Longhorn, posting a historic triple that few have accomplished with victories in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m. She didn't lose a finals race all year and set the stage with blistering first legs on the 4x100m relay that set and broke the collegiate records multiple times this year. Her 22.5 points played a big part in our 83-point explosion that was the most we've ever scored at an NCAA Outdoor Championship. Another member of that 4x100 turned in one of the biggest upsets of the meet as Rashidat Adeleke left everyone in her dust in winning the 400m in a meet record and the second-fastest time in NCAA history (49.20). History was made in the field, as well, with Ackelia Smith leaping past the defending champion on her final attempt of the long jump, then securing a second-place finish in the triple jump to secure 18 points while becoming the first-ever Longhorn (man or woman, indoors or outdoors) to finish in the top-two of the horizontal jumps at the same NCAA Championships. Those were her coach's specialties back in the day, so I know that had Coach Flo pumped. Then there was Leo Neugebauer, who was the master of many events, and we can now call collegiate sports' greatest athlete with his triumph in the decathlon. Leo set not only set the meet and Texas records, but the NCAA collegiate record and a 39-year national record of his native Germany with his score of 8,836 points. The six-time All-American set seven personal bests out of 10 events. Just an incredible two days of grit, determination and Texas Fight. And I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Longhorn Nation for showing up and showing out. Your presence, cheers and energy all four days played a critical role in our teams' performances. We are forever grateful for all you did to share in the celebrations, hugs and high fives we saw on the track, in the field, and as the team raised the National Championship Trophy – the first in Women's Outdoor Track since 2005.
Julien Alfred caps spectacular career with historic NCAA ChampionshipWe've got us a Longhorn Legend, and she absolutely solidified that status last weekend at Mike A. Myers Stadium. Julien Alfred accomplished feats of epic and historic proportions, is in rarified air among collegiate track greats, and of course you know her NCAA titles led us to the team Natty! How about this for greatness? Julien joined the legendary Carlette Guidry (1991) and Juliet Cuthbert (1986) as the only Longhorn women to sweep the 100 and 200 titles at an NCAA Championship and is just the third woman from any school to do that in the last 25 years. Take it another really fast step and ponder this one, what she did with her blazing first leg of the collegiate-record setting 4x100m relay makes her the first woman nationally to pull of the 100/200/4x100 triple since Carlette the Great more than 30 years ago (in 1991) and only the FIFTH woman anywhere to ever to complete that trifecta. And it gets better, with the 60m and 200m championships indoors, she captured five titles in a jaw-dropping senior year that was the talk of the track & field world. She not only left a mark on Texas, but in NCAA collegiate history, and like we say, what starts here changes the world! Julien leaves the Forty Acres on a two-year undefeated streak in the 100m dash, went undefeated in the 200m outdoor and back-to-back in the 4x100 with NCAA wins. And to remind you about her extraordinary indoor seasons that led us to an NCAA Indoor runner-up finish, guess how many times she broke the indoor 60m collegiate record? 6 TIMES, THIS SEASON ALONE. She also broke the indoor 200m collegiate record on the way to her second NCAA title of the year! Did I mention, she doesn't even like to run the 200m?! Now back to outdoor, Julien has three of the top-five fastest times ever in the 100 and has the top three fastest all-conditions times ever run by a women's collegiate athlete! Just last week she set the all-conditions fastest 200m time here on The Forty at 21.73 and is No. 2 on the all-time wind legal list at 21.91. Don't even get me started with the 4x100 relay she's on that broke the collegiate record 4 TIMES this season, twice on our home track! And she rewrote the record book of our rich and storied history of Texas Track & Field! Julien's a 14-time All-American, a 12-time Big 12 Champion, 4-time Big 12 Performer of the Year, the 2023 USTFCCCA Indoor Track Athlete of the Year, owns the top-11 60m dash times in Texas history, is top-two in both the indoor and outdoor 200m, was part of the 4x400 UT indoor program record team, owns the 100m UT record and the four best performances, and helped Texas set collegiate records in the 4x200 relay and the sprint medley relay this season! Safe to say – she has left her mark! Yeah, she's super-fast and an all-time great, and we're unbelievably grateful she's a Longhorn, and so excited to follow her career in the years to come!
Flo Knows!The facts definitely support that our guy Flo Knows! In the 16 NCAA Men's and Women's Indoor and Outdoor Championships since taking the reins of our Track & Field program for the 2019 seasons, he's led our Horns to two NCAA Titles (Women's Outdoor 2023; Men's Indoor 2022, our first-ever men's title in Track & Field), four runner-up performances, and 12 top-10 finishes. On a conference level, Flo's led our Longhorns to a dozen Big 12 Championships in 18 indoor and outdoor meets. That includes winning the coveted men's and women's indoor and outdoor double in back-to-back years in 2021 and 2022.
In closing, I wanted to make a couple of special shoutouts. First, we have an amazing tradition here and just an awe-inspiring list of national players of the year across all of our sports. I'm so happy that Eliot Spizzirri, who just brought home that honor in Men's Tennis, is joining the group. If we listed all of his accolades from just this year alone, you'd all be sending me emails complaining that you sprained your index finger from scrolling! The Cliffs Notes are that this a guy who represents everything it means to be a Longhorn – an All-American in both singles and doubles, one of just six men's tennis first-team Academic All-Americans (better than a 3.8 GPA in FINANCE), NCAA Doubles Championship finalist, and led our team to a No. 1 ranking for much of the season, along with their second Final Four in the last three years. But more than any of that, he's an even better person. With all those accomplishments, what he did the previous year might be more impressive. For those of you who don't know, he played that entire season with the tennis equivalent of one arm tied behind his back because of a wrist injury – couldn't use his full backhand – think about that. But he told Coach Berque, 'I don't know if I'm good enough playing like this, but if you think I can help the team, I'll do whatever you want me to do.' Wow. Did he play down in the lineup? Yes. Did he take losses he ordinarily wouldn't have taken? No doubt. But he did it for his teammates. I'm telling you, the water works get flowin' every time when I think about what he said in an interview this year – 'I don't think there's another college team in the country in any sport that loves each other more than ours.' Amazing. Now he's the national player of the year, and no one deserves it more! Congrats Eliot, aka Spizz!
Finally, we're so excited continue to build our latest and greatest sport of Beach Volleyball. With that, we're thrilled to be adding to our illustrious group of elite coaches here at Texas with just an awesome coach and person in Stein Metzger. He built the program from the ground up at UCLA, has had extraordinary success, won many championships in short order and is so highly respected in his sport. Like Coach Elliott's indoor program, we know Coach Metzger will build our beach program into a force to be reckoned with, and he's already put together a great staff, so welcome to Angie Akers and Will Buchanan, as well! We're so lucky to have them!
As the countdown to kickoff continues, fire up those grills, cool off in the pool and get some vacations in as summer season commences. We'll be back together on the Forty cheering on our Horns before you know it. In the meantime, here's to you and our Longhorn Family. It's indeed a glorious time to be a Longhorn!
Hook 'Em Horns,Chris Del Conte
P.S. – You know we had to have a little good-natured fun with our new SEC brethren!
P.S. – My man Leo had himself a couple of days!
P.S. – Hey Herbie, thanks for stopping by!
P.S. – Love the connection from the past to the present!
P.S. – Great job Jeremy, congrats on a well-deserved honor. Lucky to have you in the Longhorn Family, my friend!
Volleyball's Eggleston receives McLendon Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship
Volleyball announces 2023 schedule
No. 10/7 Softball makes history with All-Big 12 selections
Baseball season ends in heartbreaking Super Regional
Baseball wins Big 12 Championship
No. 20 Baseball lands eight on All-Big 12 teams
Men's Tennis' Harper and Spizzirri finish as NCAA Doubles Runners-Up
Three from Men's Tennis earn ITA All-America honors
Spizzirri, Harper named to CSC Academic All-America Men's Tennis Team
Women's Tennis tabbed No. 7 in final ITA national team rankings
Terry named Clarence "Big House" Gaines Division 1 National Coach of the Year
Terry announces Men's Basketball staff adjustments
Huff on 2024 ballot for College Football Hall of Fame
2023 NFL Draft recap and notes
Four named to All-Big 12 Team from No. 3 Women's Golf
No. 11 Women's Golf advances to NCAA Match Play quarterfinals
No. 7 Women's Golf captures Big 12 Match Play Championship
Men's Golf's Maas earns PING All-America honors
Men's Golf's Maas and Stark earn Big 12 postseason honors
Men's Outdoor Track and Field finishes 13th at NCAA Championships
No. 10/1 Track & Field earns three Big 12 end of year honors
No. 1 Women's TF wins fourth straight Big 12 Outdoor title
Rowing places fourth at NCAA Championships
No. 2 Rowing's Knifton named Big 12 Rower of the Year
Women's Basketball season tickets on sale now
Soccer releases 2023 fall schedule2023 football season tickets sold out!NIL UpdateLight the Tower Orange, Women's Outdoor Track & Field are National Champs!Julien Alfred caps spectacular career with historic NCAA ChampionshipFlo Knows!HEADLINESVolleyball's Eggleston receives McLendon Foundation Postgraduate ScholarshipVolleyball announces 2023 scheduleNo. 10/7 Softball makes history with All-Big 12 selectionsBaseball season ends in heartbreaking Super RegionalBaseball wins Big 12 ChampionshipNo. 20 Baseball lands eight on All-Big 12 teamsMen's Tennis' Harper and Spizzirri finish as NCAA Doubles Runners-UpThree from Men's Tennis earn ITA All-America honorsSpizzirri, Harper named to CSC Academic All-America Men's Tennis TeamWomen's Tennis tabbed No. 7 in final ITA national team rankingsTerry named Clarence "Big House" Gaines Division 1 National Coach of the YearTerry announces Men's Basketball staff adjustmentsHuff on 2024 ballot for College Football Hall of Fame2023 NFL Draft recap and notesFour named to All-Big 12 Team from No. 3 Women's GolfNo. 11 Women's Golf advances to NCAA Match Play quarterfinalsNo. 7 Women's Golf captures Big 12 Match Play ChampionshipMen's Golf's Maas earns PING All-America honorsMen's Golf's Maas and Stark earn Big 12 postseason honorsMen's Outdoor Track and Field finishes 13th at NCAA ChampionshipsNo. 10/1 Track & Field earns three Big 12 end of year honorsNo. 1 Women's TF wins fourth straight Big 12 Outdoor titleRowing places fourth at NCAA ChampionshipsNo. 2 Rowing's Knifton named Big 12 Rower of the YearWomen's Basketball season tickets on sale nowSoccer releases 2023 fall schedule