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FALL 2016



HOWDY, Appreciation and thanks are again expressed to all that have donated to some aspect of the Department of Recreational Sports. Your contribution supports the development of our students in the areas of leadership, conflict resolution, time management, communication skills, and the tools needed to work with many different individuals. Thanksgiving is over but all that we at Rec Sports are thankful for will never end. Our students are the reason the department exists, and helping to provide support for them is vital. For those former student staff and sport clubs alumni that are considering donating, pick your passion and support it. Since my last Howdy! remarks, many positive experiences have occurred in Rec Sports. The construction at the Rec is ongoing but will soon come to an end. All are excited about the new opportunities the renovation and new facilities will provide for our students. The Tailgate Program continues to grow; the largest alumni tailgate took place this past October when Judo and Archery joined together to host. Over 150 guests from those two clubs attended, and many are supporting their passion. The Rec Sports Family Reunion saw over 110 attendees this year, and next year’s reunion date has been set for November 4, 2017. This is the time of the year when alumni families are finalizing their individual gift-giving plans. It is not too late to make a donation through the Texas A&M Foundation and fulfill your personal giving goals. No donation is too small, and all donations will be tailored to meet the needs of the donor. If you have an interest in giving and want to visit about the process, do not hesitate to contact me or the Texas A&M Foundation for assistance. The Department of Recreational Sport wishes you and your family a Happy Holiday Season! Thanks and Gig ‘Em,


Director of Development Department of Recreational Sports


CONTENTS Anna Taggart: Full Time Innovator


Welcome to the Family


The Department of Recreational Sports Tailgate


14th Annual Rec Sports Family Reunion


Lasting Friendships


Giving Back and Why It Matters


Where Are They Now: The Wilcox Sisters


Sport Clubs Achievements


Walk of Champions



Kylie Kinnett


Maggie Talbot

Director of Development - James Welford Marketing Director - Michelle Briggs Assistant Director of Communications - Kelly VonDrehle Cover Photo (Left to Right) - Kourtney Martin, James Welford, Ivan Marquez, Katelyn Kunz, Dennis Corrington, Bishop Turon, Megan Normansell, Kasey Heath, Rhaudell Cordova


FULL TIME INNOVATOR PICTURE THIS: a die-hard Virginia Tech alum moves to College Station and immerses herself deep into the heart of Aggieland—traditions and all. This odd concept became Anna Taggart’s reality upon becoming Rec Sports’ very first Fitness Coordinator.

for this position, she puts emphasis on building and growing with one another. “You are only as strong as your whole team is together—you are stronger together,” Taggart says. With the Rec undergoing a massive expansion and renovation, it only seems natural for its staff to push their limits in the same direction, which is exactly what Taggart is doing in her newfound leadership role. The concept of growing and learning from one another is seen throughout Anna’s way of working, and that is refreshing to see.

Taggart says she was drawn to the spirit that Texas A&M exudes, and that very spirit is what allowed her to feel so welcomed in her new position here at Rec Sports. The pride Aggie students have was very apparent upon her arrival to the university. “Texas A&M is a very close knit community,” Taggart says; she knew she would be in very good hands.

Along with her leadership role, Taggart also teaches a Group RecXercise class, where she works with students. She says teaching these classes is one of her favorite parts of the job; “I love interacting with the students and watching them grow.” Anna has hopes of teaching more classes in the future.

With the Fitness Coordinator being a brand new position, Taggart came in full speed ahead with innovative and creative ideas to push the department in new directions. Collaborating with other departments and coming up with new events is one of Anna’s main goals in this position; a goal she hopes will promote student wellness and even touch on issues such as body image.

The passion that Anna Taggart displays in everything she does—from wanting to help students grow to coming up with fresh and original ideas for Rec Sports—is just one of the many reasons as to why this new full-time hire is an amazing addition to the Rec Sports family.

Taggart’s way of pushing the boundaries by collaborating with her fellow staff to brainstorm new ideas is also encouraging teamwork. When speaking on her goals




WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF WORKING AS A GRADUATE ASSISTANT? “I love the community and family aspect of working within Rec Sports, where I have the incredible opportunity to help lead and promote student development!”

Ashley Heriot, Strength and Conditioning “I would say experiencing another department’s operational style. Learning different methods to handle similar situations is great.”

Charles Jason, Facilities “Definitely the atmosphere and culture that I’ve just jumped into at TAMU Rec Sports. The passion for excellence is contagious, but we know how to have a good time. If you’re a part of the Rec Sports staff, you’re automatically part of the family, and I’ve been ‘adopted’ quickly!”

Matt Holmquist, Intramural Sports “My favorite part of working as a Graduate Assistant for Rec Sports is being able to work in a field that I love and am passionate about, and gaining the experience needed for a professional position in campus recreation.”

Carl Stancheski, Aquatics “The opportunity for student growth and leadership is such an important aspect of the Department of Recreational Sports and I want to be able to pass on my experiences to new student employees as best I can.”

Dhalston Cage, Sport Clubs





LOOK IN ANY DIRECTION ON A SATURDAY IN AGGIELAND AND YOU WILL SEE A VARIETY OF THINGS HAPPENING. In one direction, a group of Aggie alumni poses for a picture together with their thumbs up proudly. In another direction, a young boy and his father throw the football to one another and laugh playfully. The smell of barbecue and potato salad fills the air and the A&M game day swings into full force.

The atmosphere of this tailgate is unlike any other. The sun, fresh air, and conversations of friends, both old and new, all come together and allow one to sit back, take in their surroundings, and smile. A running theme of family and support is prevalent throughout this tailgate. Members from every area of Rec Sports are invited to come out, eat some food, and relax with one another. This is important because that is exactly what Rec Sports is all about. This tailgate allows all of the students and employees who find a home at the Rec to come together and celebrate.

Every Saturday, when there is a home game, the Department of Recreational Sports sets up tents and chairs right outside of the Rec Center. This tailgate has one purpose: to allow familiar faces, friends, and colleagues of Rec Sports to come together and celebrate game day in true Aggie fashion. Every kind of food you would imagine to be at a tailgate is there, and people gather together to eat and celebrate the events that will soon unfold on Kyle Field.

When you think about Texas A&M, one of the first words that comes to mind is family. Family is one of the most prided traditions at this university, and the Rec Sports tailgate upholds this tradition. In an environment that seems so vast, this tailgate brings people together and allows the Aggie spirit to remain as loud as ever.




REUNION WHAT BRINGS PEOPLE BACK TO THEIR OLD STOMPING GROUNDS? It could be memories of the fun times one experienced while attending Texas A&M University. It could also be the chance to see how much growth has occurred since the last time one stepped foot on this campus. However, if you were to ask any of the people in attendance at this year’s Rec Sports Family Reunion, most would probably answer with a single word: family.

stay more involved with the university after leaving than any other student. There is something to be said about that. The people who connect with one another while they are here really do create bonds that extend beyond the four years they are enrolled here as students. “That’s just what it is,” Schafer says, “it’s a family.” A reunion’s purpose is to bring people together who once shared something special with one another. The friendships that were forged years ago are able to spring back right to where they left off and people feel as though it was just yesterday when they last saw one another. The Rec Sports Family Reunion is a wonderful tradition that brings everyone in the Rec Sports family together again.

On the weekend of the New Mexico State football game, Rec Sports hosted its 14th annual reunion. This is an event where everyone, past and present, who has been employed by the department is invited to come together and celebrate the bonds they have formed with one another. People from classes dating all the way back to 1970 were in attendance this year, and a certain sense of happiness filled the air. Friends, both old and new, came together and enjoyed games, barbecue, and conversation while remembering their time spent at Rec Sports. The main question of the day was: what keeps you coming back? The answer, for numerous people, was the same. Although it is fun to return to where you made your memorable college experiences, the bond these people have forged with one another goes a little bit deeper. When speaking with Bill Schafer ’83 about his time spent working at the Rec, he stressed the fact that it was more than just a student worker position for him. “Rather than being just a student who worked here, I really got to know and befriend the people on staff,” Schafer says. Being able to come back and see what everyone has been up to is one of Schafer’s favorite parts of the reunion. Keeping up with the people he not only worked with at one point, but truly developed friendships with, is such a special thing this department gave to him. At the start of the event, Dennis Corrington, Executive Director of the Department of Recreational Sports, opened his speech by sharing with the crowd that those who get involved with the department in some way while here at Texas A&M actually 7



SOMETIMES, THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENS. Sometimes, the unexpected sweeps us off our feet and leaves us feeling a little broken. With the passing of Bud and Peggy Kenney’s son, Danny Kenney, in 1999, those broken pieces were picked up by the people closest to the Kenney family. A large portion of those people came from Danny Kenney’s sport club soccer team here at Texas A&M University.

to raise more money and bring this cause to the forefront of sport clubs alumni’s attention. With their goal in sight, Kenney mentions how imperative it is to give back to the school that gave so much to Danny, and that is exactly what this scholarship is doing.

In an effort to allow Danny to be remembered and honored by his Aggie family, the Danny Kenney Memorial Scholarship was formed in 2000. This scholarship was created with the intention of honoring Danny’s fierce love of A&M and the soccer team, with the money raised going to the Soccer Club to help fund various things the players need. The scholarship reached $25,000 within the first year and was endowed from the very start. When speaking with Peggy Kenney, she credits the scholarship’s initial success largely to the friends Danny made here at A&M. Kenney says, “I think the foundation of this scholarship is based on the friendships that matured as they played soccer together throughout the years.” Those very friendships are with some of the people who play leadership roles on the scholarship committee today.

I think that is just part of being an Aggie. Supporting one another and lifting each other up through a cause like this is part of the tradition that is so deeply rooted in A&M, and especially here at Rec Sports.


These impactful friendships have allowed the scholarship to grow into what it has over the last sixteen years. The players who shared the field with Danny all those years ago still feel that same connection they felt when they all played together. This scholarship has allowed those feelings to flourish and grow into something no one quite imagined when it was first started. “I think that is just part of being an Aggie,” Kenney says. Supporting one another and lifting each other up through a cause like this is part of the tradition that is so deeply rooted in A&M, and especially here at Rec Sports.

Danny Kenney’s life, his passion, and his love for A&M and the Soccer Club will forever be remembered, due in part to this scholarship. The friendships this club produced and nourished are a beautiful by-product, and the fact that the Department of Recreational Sports was able to give that to a community of people is a wonderful nod to this department and everything it stands for.

With the scholarship currently residing at $80,000, the committee is extremely close to achieving its goal of reaching $100,000. Their annual golf tournament is held in an effort 8


THE REASONS AS TO WHY GIVING BACK IS IMPORTANT MAY VARY AMONGST DIFFERENT PEOPLE. For Mike Morgan, giving back to the organization that did so much for him is imperative. Morgan, who participated in the Judo Club here at Texas A&M, knows how essential it is to continuously support the club and help it grow. For Morgan, the Judo Club looked a tad bit different when he was a part of it. “It was a pretty rag-tag organization,” Morgan says. The team consisted of about ten members and their coach was also a student. They organized practices, tournaments, and

everything in between on their own. The program was shaped around its members, and its success was really dependent on how much effort the team members put into organizing it. This is one of the main reasons Morgan thinks it is so important for him to donate to the club today. When reminiscing about his time on the team, he describes how having more money and a hired coach could have helped them progress further. Today, Morgan says he is astounded by the way the club has developed: “you would not believe the extent to which the program has developed and the quality of the club now.” This is, in part, due to the fact that people have donated to this organization and helped build it up. When a club is given more resources it is able to thrive into something new. That is exactly why giving back is so significant; helping those who now share this similar experience with you will give them opportunities to push even further. Morgan talks about how anyone who has benefited from an organization, such as a sport club, probably gained so much from that experience, and he feels that being able to give the current students a little bit more to work with is an honor. “I want to give them the opportunities that we had, and then some,” Morgan says. That’s the special part about giving back; when you have a connection to the organization to which you are donating, you truly feel as though you are making a difference in other people’s lives. Mike Morgan hopes to do just that with his donations to the Judo Club. As time progresses, new facilities, coaches, and experience all contribute to the advancement of Texas A&M Sport Clubs. However, the donations individuals make really do make a world of a difference when it comes to how the program grows. The idea that someone’s life was so impacted, like Mike Morgan’s was, by a sport club here at Texas A&M is a compelling notion as to why giving back matters. The help that someone else provides can propel current students’ experiences in their sport club to new levels.



The Wilcox Sisters says when describing what Rec Sports meant to her. The atmosphere created in these offices is one that allows its workers to really feel as though they are a part of something much bigger than themselves. Welford really came to know this family, and when asking any of the Wilcox sisters what role he played in their lives, the answer would not be a boss, but a friend, a mentor, or a fatherly figure. Both Haley and Ashley have grown up a lot since they were employed at Rec Sports. Haley—now Haley Vincent—is the lead accountant at the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic and uses some of the very same skills and lessons learned at Rec Sports in her career today. “More than anything, that job taught me how to work with all different personality types,” Haley says, which comes in handy in her job today. Ashley—now Ashley Halpain—is a General Pediatrician at a private practice clinic. Ashley talks about how the confidence she gained while working with Welford has carried over into her job today and has allowed her to feel confident when pursuing new things. The Department of Recreational Sports has employed numerous people throughout its years of existence. These student workers leave A&M and go on to experience new adventures and conquer their goals. If there is one thing that can be said about what the staff of this department does for its student workers, it would be that they truly do help shape and equip them for the next stage in life. They help them realize what they are capable of, and even more, they create an environment that leaves a lasting impression on everyone that passes through these doors.

KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY TAKES ON A WHOLE NEW MEANING FOR THE WILCOX SISTERS. Today, three of the four sisters in the Wilcox family are able to tell stories about their time spent working at Rec Sports. Haley, Ashley, and Kaci all took on the role of James Welford’s student worker, with their main focus being the Walk of Champions brick campaign. Each had a different experience while here at Texas A&M; however their connection of all working in the same position brings them closer together. With the Walk of Champions being the primary aspect of their job, a lot of emphasis was put on a skill set that would allow them to succeed. Time management, leadership, and conflict resolution are all benefits the girls acquired and were able to carry with them into their careers today. When speaking with two of the sisters, Haley and Ashley, they both seemed a bit nostalgic when talking about James Welford and the role he played in their lives. “He made you feel as though you were responsible for so much and wanted you to really take charge of your own projects,” Haley says. Welford wanted his workers to feel like they were really creating something on their own when it came to the work he would give them. This very concept of their job allowed the girls to gain confidence in their abilities, and that is a lesson they each have cherished since working here at Rec Sports. The common theme when talking to both Haley and Ashley was the idea that this position provided not just a job, but a family. “It truly was a home away from home,” Ashley

TOP: Ashley Halpain with her husband, Daniel Halpain, and dogs on vacation. BOTTOM: Haley Vincent and her husband, Chris Vincent.




Cullen Parker: Men’s Overall National Champion

SCCCC Mountain Bike Champions

Jade Hanson: Women’s Overall National Champion

WOMEN’S RUGBY Qualified for USA Rugby Sweet Sixteen in Rugby 15s

MEN’S WATER POLO CWPA Texas Division Champions


Qualified for Nationals for 1st time in eight years.

Placed 3rd overall at the SEISA match

LOYALTY Leave Your Mark

CATHRYN CARRANZA & DELVIN LIVELY WALK OF CHAMPIONS ENDOWMENT BRICK CAMPAIGN: The Walk of Champions features bricks engraved with the names of students, employees, and friends of A&M. Together we can ensure that the values of leadership, fair play, sportsmanship, honesty, and integrity are instilled in all Aggies. Part of the funds from the brick campaign go to the Walk of Champions Endowment. To learn more about getting your own brick in the Walk of Champions, contact JAMES WELFORD at JWELFORD@REC.TAMU.EDU.


Department of Recreational Sports Texas A&M University 4250 TAMU College Station, TX 77843-4250



RecLIFE | Fall 2016  

Find out what's happening at Texas A&M Rec Sports in this issue of RecLIFE Magazine.

RecLIFE | Fall 2016  

Find out what's happening at Texas A&M Rec Sports in this issue of RecLIFE Magazine.