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RecLife SPRING 2013

DeWare Fieldhouse

P.L. Downs Jr. Natatorium


Howdy, All of the most recent brainstorming about the expansion of the Student Recreation Center has brought back memories of when I arrived on campus back in 1977. The photo on the cover of this issue reminds me of my first office located in the Intramural Department, which at that time, was housed in DeWare Fieldhouse. Back in the day, DeWare was considered a top-notch facility and included office space for 6, one gymnasium, a weight room, fourteen handball/racquetball courts, an ID check-in and equipment check-out office, men’s and women’s restrooms and a large men’s locker room. The weight room was located on the south end of the DeWare Fieldhouse, and was shared by both the athletic department and the student body. Just to the west of DeWare was the P. L. Downs Natatorium. This facility included the one pool, an additional men’s locker room, a women’s locker room and a seating area that filled an entire side of the facility to accommodate visitors as they would come to watch events in the natatorium. Reminiscing back to the original facilities we had in 1977, to accomplishing all the growth and success that we have today, could not have been done without all of the hard work and participation from our students and staff. Since 1973, our current Executive Director, Dennis Corrington has seen his vision and the vision of his staff and students become a reality! Currently, we are in the design process of adding on to the Student Recreation Center! For updates on the process, please visit our website: Last, but not least, on behalf of the Department of Recreational Sports, I would like to thank all who have supported the department and especially thank our students and donors for all of their support over the years. Without you, we wouldn’t be the success that we are today. You are greatly appreciated. Thanks and Gig ‘Em,

NOTE: The photo on the cover of this magazine was taken pre1952, so dated because the MSC had not been built.

James M. Welford

Additionally, the outdoor pool located on the corner of

Director of Development Department of Recreational Sports

Welborn Road and Joe Routt is not shown in the picture.

contents Professional


















Tailgate Schedule


Communications Intern - Dani Wilkins Guest Writer - Joe Pederson Graphic Artist - Kendra Spaw Communications Coordinator/Editor - Kelly VonDrehle Marketing Director - Michelle Briggs Director of Development - James Welford

Professional Drew McMillen’s Life with Rec Sports

A guy with a smile that you can’t look past and a sense of humor that lights up the room. A dedicated staff member, loyal Aggie and passionate friend, Drew McMillen has been a proud staff member of the Department of Recreational Sports for almost 30 years.

48 activities, 300 student staff, 2,200 teams and over 13,000 unique participants per year. Although these numbers are very impressive, Drew says, “The greatest accomplishments are hearing students say it was the best job they have ever had.” Prior to his Associate Director position, Drew was the Coordinator for Intramural Sports, the Assistant Director for Intramural Sports and the Assistant Director of facilities among a long list of other accomplishments and titles.

Starting early in his college career, Drew began working as an intramural official his freshman year at Texas A&M University. Throughout his time as an undergraduate student worker, Drew’s position advanced from Intramural Sports Official, to Intramural Supervisor and by his senior year, Drew served as the student assistant for the Assistant Director of Intramurals, which at the time was Tom Reber. Throughout all of this, Drew pursued and completed an undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering; the not-so-easy major if you know what I mean. But it didn’t stop there, Drew decided to then pursue an MBA at Texas A&M University; his undergraduate experience at Rec Sports is what he said helped make that decision. Even though Drew completed an incredibly difficult undergraduate degree and received a MBA in Business Management, he commented, “the first plan doesn’t always have to be right!”

Not only is Drew’s Rec Sports background impressive, he is also very involved outside of Rec Sports. In 2005, Drew was chosen as a Fish Camp namesake and has been a part of the Fish Camp support staff ever since. Even a five minute conversation would make you realize how much of a ‘People Person’ Drew really is. In addition, Drew has been involved in a variety of Student Affairs affiliations including, LeaderShape Cluster Facilitator, Department of Student Life Student conduct panel member, Texas A&M Leadership Institute, Texas A&M Howdy Camp namesake and much more. On top of all of that, Drew serves as the current statistician for Texas A&M’s Department of Athletics in volleyball, basketball and football.

Today, Drew McMillen is the Associate Director of Intramurals and Sport Clubs. Holding this position for the last 7 years has been an amazing experience for Drew, and as he says, his main goal is to “do the most good that I can for the most number of people that I can.” His current position is very prestigious, as he develops staff assignments for the Intramural Sports program that consists of approximately

When asked what the best advice he could lend to students working at Rec Sports, his first response was, “Get back to work!” Although with that comment, he loves to side it with “use time carefully, devote time to things more valuable and helpful to you and don’t graduate with a list of things that you didn’t get to do. Learn how to balance it all. School, work, fun and participate in Rec Sports!”


Sport Clubs national champions National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs (NAIGC) Men’s Gymnastics --Overall Team National Champions Women’s Gymnastics --Overall Team National Champions Eli Richardson --Men’s All-Around National Champion --1st Place, Parallel Bars

USA Taekwondo Collegiate National Championships Dee Huggan --Heavy weight, yellow belt

U.S. Collegiate Archery Association Championships (Individual & Overall Team National Champions)

Jennifer Hardy --Female Recurve National Champion Male Recurve Team - National Champion --Matt Requa, Aaron Henslin, Ryan Fortenberry Male Compound Team - National Champion --Adam Wruck, Simon Rousseau, Torrey Bonham Female Compound Team - National Champion --Tristan Skarvan, Elizabeth Sweet, Mackenzie Keiborz Male Bowhunter Team - National Champion --Hunter Teel, Chase Finch, Ashley Bui Mixed Recurve Team - National Champion --Jennifer Hardy, Matt Requa Mixed Compound Team - National Champion --Adam Wruck, Tristan Skarvan

National Collegiate Judo Association (NCJA)

Renee Meraz --National Champion Nov. F-52

SUPPORT Men’s Volleyball Alumni Come Together As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. That definitely applies to Texas A&M Men’s Volleyball team. A club that started in 1979 to promote men’s volleyball within the state has grown to become one of the most competitive teams in the nation. It’s seen a lot of change over the years, but one thing that remains constant is continued success, and a group of alumni that are very proud to be a part. John Bundren ‘14, current President, believes that beyond just the fundamental skills of volleyball, members gain more than just learning how to play great volleyball. Often times members join because they love the sport and the competitive nature of the group, but in the end, they gain countless leadership skills and the ability to motivate others. Overall, it is just an awesome community of good guys that are fun to be around and spending every Monday and Wednesday together as well as tournaments, fosters a tight knit environment fueled by a passion for the sport. This passion is displayed regularly, being seen in bi-weekly practices at G. Rollie White Coliseum and/or at the several tournaments in which the team participates. In addition to promoting the sport of men’s volleyball in the state, these committed Ags set the example for collegiate volleyball in the state of Texas. Since 1990, the team has only lost seven conference titles, and only one since 2004. In 2012 at the Southern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (SIVA) national championship, the team came back from behind to clinch the game, and reclaim the trophy from their biggest rival, the University of Texas. As the team continues to change throughout the years, their commitment and dedication has allowed them to be successful. Ryan Sitton ’97, says that staying focused has been key to the success of this team. Focus leads to playing at the height of their ability and representing “Texas A&M and our state as true leaders.” Bundren comments on the fact that it is a major commitment to add to an already busy workload. Team members aren’t only leaders on the court, but off the court as well. Being able to communicate as a team, motivate each other and prioritize aren’t just skills useful here at A&M, but beyond. Volleyball is a true team sport; everyone must play well together to be successful. Sitton played on the team for several years and is now the President and CEO of Pinnacle Asset Integrity Services. His favorite memories include road trips, playing for hours at other schools and then coming home exhausted but still celebrating late into the night. Bundren’s is similar; while at Nationals in Kansas City, the entire crowd belted out a rendition of “Sweet Caroline” at the championship game. Not only does this team play great ball, they have a great time doing it. As they continue to grow as a club, their hopes are to increase the number of out of state tournaments they attend as that’s their best competition. While it’s always bigger in Texas, it’s always better at Texas A&M University, especially with Men’s Volleyball.

2012-2013 Sport Club National Titles can be found at: national_champions.stm


ACCOMPLISHMENT Spring 2013 Scholarship Recipients

Phylea J. King ‘14

Matthew Wilson ‘13

Esther Densmore ‘13

Facilities Supervisor

Facilities Supervisor

Group RecXercise/ Specialty Class Instructor

David and Mary Chovanec Rec Sports Facility Staff Scholarship

Undergraduate Student staff Scholarship

“Respect is important because it shows that you acknowledge a person’s value and that they do matter.”

“I have learned how to treat those I supervise, respect those above me, and to work with both to accomplish tasks in an effective way. I would not trade my experience for anything in the world.”

Undergraduate Student staff Scholarship

“[My Trainer’s] encouraging words convinced me that one bad day on the job was not representation of my future forecast as an instructor, and that she believed in my potential as a great instructor.”

Rachael K. Wall ‘13

Robert Irving ‘14

Joe Pederson ‘13

Facilities Supervisor

Strength & Conditioning Head Attendant

Sports Management

Undergraduate Student staff Scholarship

“While I was interviewing for potential internships for this upcoming summer, I have used countless examples of things I have learned at the Rec Center, and I firmly believe this helped me land an internship this summer.”

Undergraduate Student staff Scholarship

“I have learned to handle stressful situations and how to diplomatically find solutions to resolve issues professionally and without complaint.”


graduate Student staff Scholarship

“The Rec Sports family is built on the values compassion, trust, and service. Through leadership, culture, and humor, Rec Sports has situated me for future success.”

COMMITMENT Ashy’s Development from Student Leader to Professional At Rec Sports, the end of each spring semester symbolizes a changing of the guard amongst student staff and sport clubs, as those graduating to the next phase of life make way for the new wave of Aggies ready to fill their shoes. In Spring 2013 alone, over 150 Rec Sports employees and sport club members graduated. While a goodbye is never easy, bidding farewell to one particular student marks the end of an era for the entire Department of Recreational Sports. Josh Ashy got his start at Rec Sports as a sophomore in Fall 2008 as a facility receptionist. Nearly five years later, after earning a Bachelors in Business Management and a Masters in Sport Management, Josh embarks on the beginning of his professional career. During his tenure, Josh held 9 different positions and reported to 8 different supervisors, with job titles ranging from intramural graduate assistant to cheer camp staff. He played on over 20 intramural teams with his fellow staff, and had 3 co-workers as roommates. While accumulating hundreds of lifelong connections as part of Rec Sports family, Josh also gained a breadth of professional experience that undoubtedly helped him land his new job as a financial analyst in Houston, Texas. If that isn’t enough, this spring Josh proposed to his long-time girlfriend and former Rec Sports student employee, Bri Soler. We sat down with Josh to get the full story of exactly how Rec Sports introduced him to the woman of his dreams. How did you first meet Bri? And when did you first start dating? When I started as a receptionist I remember Bri was one of the first member services staff that would come over talk to me. It was really nice and refreshing, so I kind of got to know her a little bit then. By our senior year, Bri was a facility supervisor and I was working member services. We were working the closing shift one night talking about relationships, what we liked and what we didn’t. I don’t know how I worked up the courage, but I told her, “I think me and you should go on a date sometime.” Instead of laugh it off, she legitimately said, “Yes, I’d like that.” From there, we kept talking throughout the semester. Finals came around and we started studying together. By semester’s end, I’d study for every single one of my classes at her house. In 2011 we both graduated undergrad, and Bri took a Job in Houston while I stayed here to get my masters.

When did you finally decide it was time to start shopping for an engagement ring, and how did you eventually propose? I started formulating my plan in October 2012. I knew I was 100% committed and knew I wanted to propose, I just didn’t know when. I wanted to wait until I was closer to finishing school. I got the ring in February, and had to hold onto the ring for almost two months, which was nerve racking because I just wanted to give it to her. I finally proposed on April 19 at my brother’s house. He had just put in a new pool and it was a really nice environment. [Bri’s sister] and I hung up like 70 photos on clothespins near the fire pit right around sunset. When Bri first saw everything set up, she froze. I had to sort of guide her over to where everything was set up. I said a few things, took out the ring and got down on one knee. I don’t even think I finished my sentence before she was taking the ring out of the box. I still joke with her today that she was taking it before I even offered it to her but, she keeps telling me it was hers anyway.

After nearly five years, what would you say is the most unique thing about of being part of the Rec Sports Family? It’s a combination of a lot of things. I know I’ve met some of my best friends here. The guy I’m getting Aggies season tickets with worked with me as a supervisor. I’m moving in to start my real world career with a guy that I worked with at Rec Sports for three years, and I move in with him next week. And then, obviously, I met my fiancée here!

How did Rec Sports impact your personal/professional growth? As far as growing professionally, I would not be the person I am today or have the job that I got if it wasn’t for what I did through Rec Sports. From Sikirat bringing me out of my shell, and Ashley helping me with conflict management; all of that stuff has added up to make me who I am today.

How has Rec Sports been helpful when applying for jobs? Both Jerrod and Ashley were amazing references during the hiring process I just went through. I know one thing that set me apart is the fact that I’ve worked my way from the bottom to the top of the Rec Sports employee ladder in terms of everything you can do as a student employee here.


SUCCESS 2013 Distinguished Achievement Award Life is full of making big choices. Tom Reber was in one of those cases, but his future legacy at Texas A&M University almost wasn’t his final decision. After graduating from college, Reber had the choice to take a job in minor league baseball or to work at Texas A&M Rec Sports. After interviewing at the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, also known as NIRSA, with such infamous characters such as Dennis Corrington, Paula Opal, Rick Hall and James Welford, the decision was easy. It was the “same family, the same atmosphere and the same enjoyable people I had always wanted to work with.” Reber started at Rec Sports as the Coordinator of Intramural Programs, shortly after he was promoted to Assistant Director, then Associate Director and finally earned Senior Associate Director, a position he held for 10 years. In February 2004, he was asked to move across the tracks for a ‘7 month’ stay with Student Activities, and Dennis agreed to let him go. As passionate as Reber was about his position at Rec Sports, he realized he could make more of an impact in Student Activities. After his seven-month interim stay, Reber’s move to the Office of the Vice President turned permanent, starting as the Assistant Vice President and now the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs. In his current position, Reber is supervising 5 departments including Recreational Sports, Becky Gates Children’s Center, Rudder Theatre Complex, University Art Galleries and the University Center Complex. In addition, Reber also oversees the division’s business affairs and human resources and also supervises the University Bands (not including the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band). Even though Reber’s position oversees a variety of departments, one of his favorite parts of his job now-a-days is the short times he gets to interact with students on the Student Fee Advisory Board. This unique group gives Reber the opportunity to brainstorm and engage with bright, motivated and intelligent Aggies. In March, Reber was awarded the 2013 Distinguished Achievement Award for Administration. This prestigious award has been given out since 1955, and celebrates professionals who exceed Texas A&M University’s standard of excellence. It’s also a big accomplishment for the Division of Student Affairs, as it’s been some time since anyone in the division has received this award. Reber was honored to receive this award, “I didn’t win this award by myself. Those around me continually support me.” Even though it was hard for Reber to have left Rec Sports after 22 years, he says, “I love my job here. I think I just ended up in the right job at the right schoolgreat students, great staff. The staff in the Vice President’s Office is a second family. I couldn’t ask for more.”

honor Staff Members Win Prestigious Awards



President’s Meritorious Service Award

Randy Matson ‘67 Association of Former Students Award

Jason was awarded the President’s Meritorious Service Award for his steadfastness to Texas A&M Rec Sports, and the Outdoor Adventures Program. This prestigious award has been given for 27 years, and is awarded annually to 15 incredible individuals, and one outstanding team. As highly as Jason’s peers, student workers, and directors think of him, Jason claims himself to be a “product of this department.” Many will say that the Department of Rec Sports is an incredible place to work, but to Jason, it’s his tribe, his second home and a family. Congratulations Jason Kurten, and thank you for everything that you do!

Congratulations to Sikirat Kazeem for winning the Randy Matson ’67 Association of Former Students Award. This prestigious award recognizes staff members who have created an environment that perpetuates the mission of Student Affairs at Texas A&M University. It honors staff members who have gone above and beyond normal expectations of one’s own position. We are honored to have a staff member like Sikirat Kazeem on our team, and would like to again thank her for all her hard work and dedication to Rec Sports and congratulate her for earning this prestigious award!


appreciation Rec Sports Family Member for Life Patsy Kott, the connoisseur of outdoor cuisine, the hiking enthusiast, the kayak role officianato... we could go on forever. But, to Rec Sports, Patsy is not just a kind, dedicated, amazing and outgoing individual, but the originator and creator of Texas A&M Rec Sports Outdoor Adventures. It all started out in 1982, Patsy began her career with Rec Sports while she was attending graduate school at Texas A&M University. In the fall of 1985, Patsy decided it was time to take advantage of all the equipment donated from the MSC Outdoor Rec Committee and officially started the Rec Sports Outdoor Program. But it was not until the spring of 1986, when Patsy’s program officially took off and ran the first canoeing and back packing trips. Patsy’s main goal for the newly established outdoor program was to introduce the Texas A&M community to outdoor recreational opportunities. She also established goals to build a qualified student staff that would later lead them to be confident leaders in outdoors. Today the program that Patsy created is now proudly known as the Rec Sports Outdoor Adventures and includes trips, clinics, educational programs and more. Last spring, Patsy officially announced her retirement from Texas A&M Rec Sports. The time she has spent here has definitely planted the seed for passion for the outdoors and hopes that they will continue to grow. On April 27, 2013 a gathering of former student staff, colleagues from across the country and friends gathered to recognize Patsy for her dedication to the Outdoor Recreation profession and say thanks for all she has done personally and professionally. At this gathering the Department of Recreational Sports announced the establishment of a scholarship endowment honoring Patsy Kott. This scholarship will provide a current student staff member working in the Outdoor Adventures Program the opportunity to receive a $1,000 scholarship. At the gathering, Patsy received the news of the newly established endowment. There she expressed how very humbled and honored she is to receive this honor.

To Patsy: Thank you for all your time and dedication to Rec Sports. We will miss you dearly and are very excited to offer this scholarship in your honor. You will always be a member of the Rec Sports family. Best of luck in all your future adventures. To support the Department of Recreational Sports Student Staff Scholarship honoring Patsy Kott make your check payable to The Texas A&M Foundation, note Honoring Patsy Kott on the memo line. Send your donation to Attn: James Welford, Director of Development, Department of Recreational Sports, 4250 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4250. You can contact James at

DEDICATION Frank Thomas’ Passion For Archery

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed.” In the case of Frank Thomas, his involvement in archery began as simply an accident. Although he participated in sports in his undergraduate career, his time spent in archery was only a mere two weeks during his senior year. When he was accepted to Texas A&M University in 1979, he was asked to fill out a simple form with 5 blank lines of courses that he thought he could teach. The courses he listed included tennis, intermediate tennis, badminton, golf, and on the last line, archery. This simple response turned into observing the next semester at 12:00 noon, and then teaching at 1:00. Whatever was taught at 12:00, he simply repeated at 1:00. At the end of that year as Frank finished his masters degree, an opening became available and Frank Thomas became the archery teacher, and head coach of the Archery Club. For the first few years, Frank learned how to shoot a bow, rather than teach how to shoot a bow. As time passed, Frank had to choose between the two and decided it was time to start teaching. He learned that when you’re training, you have to be single minded, focused upon yourself. When other students need your attention, it’s a little difficult to be focused on improving your skills. It was then Frank realized, “I’m not going to get any better at shooting myself, but I can become a better coach. In my mind, it turned out to be a good decision.” (Followed with, “Who knows, I could’ve become the next Robin Hood.”) As the years progressed, the Texas A&M Archery Club, and the individual archers started getting better, and people began to notice. In the early 1990’s, Sheri Rhodes and Lloyd Brown, two Olympic coaches invited Thomas to the Olympic Festival, and on international trips as their assistant coach. In 1997, Frank added international archery coach to his already flourishing resume, and cumulated in 2004 at the Athens, Greece Olympic Games as the Head Archery Coach to the U.S. Men’s Team. It’s not only the success that he has had within the world of archery; his successes are noted here in College Station. As the Associate Department Head and Chair of the Physical Education Activity Program since 1997, Frank has been instrumental in the administration of KINE 198 and 199 courses, as well as overseeing 40 instructors and 20 graduate assistants. His biggest professional accomplishment? A $20 million plus building that will allow for incredible accommodations for specific parts of the PEAP program such as defense, dance, yoga, and a gym space large enough to park a 747 across it. There is no better word to say than “legacy” at this point of his career. Having worked with so many students, faculty and other coaches both abroad and at home, Frank has been able to achieve two major accomplishments just within one semester. In fact, this April, it was announced that there will now be a Frank Thomas Archery Club Scholarship that will forever be awarded once a year to a member on the Archery Club. This incredible honor was a complete shock to Frank, and will be “a great thing for the archery team.” Secondly, Frank was also presented with the Emma Gibbons Legacy Award, which celebrates superior faculty for their dedication, contribution and service in not only their job, but the welfare of the department as well. The ever-humble Frank concludes by saying that he couldn’t have ever done it without the support and help of those around him. The archers who chose him to be their coach, his loving wife who allowed for him to go on 30 international trips while she raised their three children, and the faculty, staff, and students who pushed him further in his career.

“If you’re ever able to stand tall, it’s probably because you’re standing on somebody’s shoulders that has helped you get there.” -Frank Thomas



Fall 2013


Leave Your Mark


WALK OF CHAMPIONS: The Walk of Champions is a part of the Department of Recreational Sports Brick Campaign and was created to give former and current students and employees the opportunity to have their name engraved on a brick that is placed in front of the Student Recreation Center. The campaign is used to fund an endowment that ensures that Texas A&M continues to have the best recreational facilities and programs in the country. The Walk of Champions is a way “to honor everyone’s dedication to leadership, fair play, honesty and integrity, which are all part of the Aggie Spirit”. Located in the front walkway of the Student Recreation Center, the Walk of Champions allows patrons to become a permanent part of the facility, as well as to benefit the future of Rec Sports and its members. To learn more about getting your own brick in the Walk of Champions, contact James Welford at

CIRCLE OF EXCELLENCE: The Circle of Excellence is dedicated to the hard working student staff of the Department of Recreational Sports. Every year, an awardee from each sub-department is recognized for their outstanding service and contributions to Rec Sports. Each winner receives a brick engraved with his or her name that is placed in the Circle of Excellence. In addition, each recipient is given a lapel pin or charm. Significant department donors are also eligible to receive this award based on their distinguished level of support.



Sat, Aug. 31


Sat, Sept. 7

Sam Houston State

Sat, Sept. 14


Sat, Sept. 21


Sat, Oct. 19


Sat, Oct. 26


Sat, Nov. 2


Sat, Nov. 9

Mississippi State

For the fall of 2013, the Rec Sports Reunion is set to take place on Saturday, Nov. 9 when Texas A&M University takes on Mississippi State. REConnect with Rec Sports alumni.

RETIREMENT Best of Luck to Bob and his Future Endeavors Bob Marcotte began working for the university in 1984 and joined the Department of Recreational Sports in 1995. His 17 years of loyal service is just one reason Rec Sports is recognized as a leader in university recreational facilities. When Bob came to Rec Sports the fields were slightly better than lawns and sport club teams had to line their own fields with chalk. Bob developed a program of maintenance and service that brought our standards up to a level that many college athletic departments wish they could have. Penberthy Rec Sports Complex is one of the best facilities of its kind and is recognized by the awards presented to Bob and his crew. Awards Include: • Pioneer Manufacturing Company: Field of Excellence 2003 • Division of Student Affairs: The Award of Distinction, Recreational Sports Ground Crew 2011


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


P.L. Downs Jr. Natatorium

RecLIFE Magazine | Spring 2013  

A blast from the past! In this issue we bring back memories and talk about the history of Rec Sports. We also included updates on what we...

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