STEPHENVILLE — Following a unanimous decision by the Student Government Association and the President’s Cabinet, all of Tarleton’s 14 intercollegiate athletic teams will unite under the Texans name beginning in August.
Three members of the women’s basketball program — Mackenzie Hailey, Hannah Hyde and Maddie Oliver — wrote the bill to discontinue the use of “TexAnns” and name all the sports teams Texans. The bill was presented to the Student Government Association (SGA) in November, then advanced to the vice president for student affairs and the President’s Cabinet.
“This legislation had been on our minds since last year, but we felt that we needed to do research and have conversations with other student-athletes and alumni before deciding to move on it,” Hailey said. “The world is changing in regards to its views on feminism, and we felt it was time for women’s athletics at Tarleton to change as well and unify with the rest of the university.”
Athletic Director Lonn Reisman said the SGA had been exploring the change and reasoned that everyone at Tarleton – male or female – is a Texan. “This was not a kneejerk decision,” he said. “The students were diligent in their research and engaged student-athletes in other sports as well as appropriate populations across campus.
“I’m very proud of our young women for bringing the issue forward and fighting for something that is obviously very important for the majority of our female student-athletes and our student body. These are relevant conversations for our times.”
Tarleton’s female student-athletes began playing on the intercollegiate level in fall 1968 after competing only in intramurals. They spent the first year under the same moniker as the men’s teams before becoming TexAnns in the 1969-70 season.
It took three seasons to decide how to permanently spell the name. TexAnns beat out “Tex-Anns” and “Texanns.”
“I couldn’t be more excited. It’s a long time coming, and it’s progressive,” said Senior Women’s Administrator and Head Volleyball Coach Mary Schindler. “When I came here as a student-athlete, I came for Tarleton, not the TexAnn name. As a student-athlete, it was something that we always wanted and we called ourselves Texans. Now for that to be the name across the board is going to be a very positive thing.”
All of the historical banners, record books and trophies will remain out of respect to the student-athletes who competed as TexAnns.
“We’re not trying to change the history of our athletics program,” Reisman said. “We have had a lot of incredible student-athletes play here and represent this university while proudly wearing ‘TexAnn’ across their jersey. We’ve had a national champion in track and field, numerous representatives in our Hall of Fame, regional champion teams, and our 1991-92 women’s basketball team finished as the national runner-up during our NAIA days.
“We are all Texans, but more importantly, we are all ambassadors for Tarleton State University any time we put on the purple and white.”
An announcement will be made Sunday, Jan. 27, on “Dale Hansen’s Sports Special.” The program airs at 10:30 p.m. on WFAA-TV (Channel 8).
“I am excited about unifying with a single name and am ready to embrace Texans as our mascot name,” said women’s basketball coach and Tarleton Hall of Fame athlete Misty Wilson. “The ‘TexAnn’ name was a way to give our female student-athletes an identity they did not feel like they had. Given the times, I think it was a powerful statement that laid the foundation for success for women’s athletics at Tarleton. It was a way to isolate the women so they could enjoy the spotlight they deserved.
“However, times have changed, and ideas on sexism and feminism have done so as well. Isolation, at the time, may have seemed like a necessary evil, but isolation now is working against what we envision for female athletes. We are now part of the solution and play an integral part in putting Tarleton in the national spotlight. With the majority of our female sports consistently competing in the NCAA national tournaments, there is no need to alienate us from all being Texans. We have arrived.”