By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (May 29, 2015) — Investments are made with the future in mind, and the future will be driven by those who are currently in their youth.
That includes college student athletes, such as the hundreds who represent Tarleton State University on playing fields and courts both close to home and across the country. They are the leaders of tomorrow, and the Texan Club is investing in them today.
One of the largest NCAA Division II athletic booster clubs in the nation, the Texan Club is kicking off its 2015 membership drive Monday with goals of again topping the 200 corporate member plateau and continuing to increase individual memberships.
“If you’re looking to invest in the future of this community, this state and even this nation, you need to invest in our leaders of tomorrow,” says Tarleton athletic director Lonn Riesman. “That’s what the Texan Club is all about is investing today in the success of young men and women who will be the leaders of tomorrow.”
The Texan Club annually raises funds through membership drives, the Plowboy Shootout golf scramble and more to benefit the general athletic scholarship fund at Tarleton. Every year the club makes available additional athletic-scholarships not otherwise possible through traditional funding. That means providing a college education to leaders of tomorrow.
The club also provides countless networking opportunities for individual and business members, as well as for the student athletes and their families.
Kyle Masters, sales manager at the Bruner Motors General Motors store, came to Stephenville 15 years ago to play football for Tarleton, earning All-American honors as a tight end. As a former student-athlete who now works for one of the largest supporters of both the Texan Club and Tarleton, Masters has a unique perspective of the group.
“Of course, I see all sides of the Texan Club now, and I realize how it benefits all sports and helps so many student-athletes achieve their dream of playing competitive college athletics while earning the education they need to be successful in life after sports,” says Masters. “Back when I was playing, the thing the Texan Club did that stands out the most to me was build the David Tomlinson Pavilion at the football stadium. The parents of the players who didn’t know anyone else at the school had somewhere to hang out before and after the game where they could interact with other parents and supporters and enjoy a meal. It became a big deal. My parents still talk today about friends they made under the pavilion getting ready for a football game, and it carried over on the road, where those parents would even make it a point to get together before games. Those relationships may never have come into existence without the Texan Club.”
Each of the 11 different membership levels – five for individuals, six for corporate members – include tickets to athletic events, Texan Club lapel pins and more based on donation. Individuals can join for as little as $100 or for $2,500 and more, while businesses can join for anywhere from $750 to $10,000 and more.
Some of the changes to this year’s club include the new Young Alumni Club, a $100 membership level open to individuals who have graduated from Tarleton within the last five years. Additionally, reserved parking for Tarleton football games is available to individuals in the Athletic Director’s Club and the Championship Club and businesses in the Texan, Texan Rider and John Tarleton corporate levels.
Some levels even include free admission to baseball and softball games, which will no longer be free to the general public beginning in 2015-16.
Members of the Texan Club take pride in helping Tarleton athletics reach unprecedented levels of success. In 2014-15 alone, Tarleton won regional championships in men’s basketball, women’s golf and softball, a regular-season conference championship in men’s basketball and a conference tournament championship in volleyball.
The softball regional title and volleyball conference tournament titles were first for Tarleton as a member of the Lone Star Conference. The regional golf title was the eighth in nine years for the TexAnns, who finished fourth at nationals. The regional basketball championship was the third for the Texan basketball team, which ultimately reached the national semifinals at the Elite Eight.
Then came track and field, and with it came national champions. Euphemia Edem wore the block-T across her chest while capturing the national championship in the long jump and earning third in the triple jump. And the team of Terrance Gross, Cameron Krc, Clarencio Guerrero and Gilson Ummanakwe raced to the championship in the men’s 4×400-meter relay. Edem is Tarleton’s first female national champion in any sport, and the men’s foursome won the first relay title in school history.
“We have reached a level across the board where we have never been before and where very few Division II schools in the country have ever been,” said Reisman. “All our sports are competing not only on a conference level, but on a regional and national level, and the Texan Club is a big part of the foundation that success is built on.”
Detailed information concerning each level of the Texan Club is found below. For more information, visit TarletonSports.com or call 254.968.9178.