RecLIFE FALL 2013
HOWDY, We have all heard the saying, “Time flies when you are having fun.” Well, for Dennis Corrington, Executive Director of the Department of Recreational Sports, September 1, 1973 must seem like yesterday. It was on this date that Dennis began working for the students of Texas A&M University as the Director of the Intramural Program. Housed in DeWare Fieldhouse, Dennis and his small staff began the task of developing the intramural program into what is now one of the premier Recreational Sports Departments in the country. Celebrating the completion of his 40th year of service to the students of Texas A&M University, Dennis continues to develop opportunities for the University’s community. His dedication, vision and input from students has provided quality programs, services, facilities and employment for Aggies. Looking forward to the future of Rec Sports, Dennis saw the need to give former student staff and former sport club members the opportunity to give back to the department and to sport clubs. He established the position of Associate Director of Development to start the process of staying connected with former students that worked in Rec Sports and sport club participants. I currently have the honor to serve in this position. Therefore, I want to thank all of our donors who have supported our Department. Your donations to our endowments have provided scholarships, leadership development opportunities and other benefits for sport clubs and individual Rec Sports staff members. During this season of giving, now may be the time to consider making that gift to your former sport club and/or to the Department of Recreational Sports scholarship endowment. To the Aggie Family, we wish you all a merry holiday season and a happy new year. Thanks & Gig ’em!
James M. Welford Director of Development Department of Recreational Sports
40 Years of Service
Communications Intern - Matt Robinson Graphic Artist - Kendra Spaw Communications Coordinator/Editor - Kelly VonDrehle Marketing Director - Michelle Briggs Director of Development - James Welford
Greg Houston’s Loyalty to Rec Sports
Greg Houston is the architect of the renovation and expansion of the Student Recreation Center that will begin in the spring of 2014. However, his history with Rec Sports dates back much further. Greg’s roots stretch all the way from his time as a student at Texas A&M, to the original design of the current Rec Center, to his three children attending Texas A&M University and working with Texas A&M Rec Sports! Upon arriving as a student at Texas A&M, Greg was thrilled to learn about the intramural programs that Texas A&M Rec Sports had to offer. He formed a team with other residents in his Crocker Hall dormitory. His team played everything from football and basketball to horseshoes (a skill that Greg mentioned he is still very thankful for). It was through the intramural program, where Greg met some of his best friends like Jeff Brown, who was the best man at his wedding. During a particular flag football season, Greg’s team lined up in the championship game against an opponent Greg would later call teammates, but in a much different facet. In this controversial game, Greg’s team successfully defeated the twenty-year old version of current Rec Sports staff, including Executive Director Dennis Corrington, Senior Associate Director Rick Hall and Development Director James Welford. This original encounter on the intramural fields served beneficial to Greg when his team at Marmon Mok pitched their design of the 288,000-square-foot Rec Center in 1993. Marmon Mok was originally drawn to Texas A&M University because of the many Aggies that worked with them. They were waiting for the perfect project to take on and jumped at the opportunity to build the Student Recreation Center. They assembled a terrific consulting team and prepared a very impressive presentation. It was during GREG HOUSTON ‘79 their presentation that Greg encountered Dennis and Rick again after their controversial game. They immediately reminisced about the past and decided that their partnership would be extremely beneficial for the betterment of Texas A&M Rec Sports. Greg told us that the theme of the new design is the same as the old: exuberance. One way this is accomplished is by the open, energetic, and inviting nature of the entrance. Another way Greg and his team at Rec Sports will interpret exuberance is to take advantage of the views outside of the Student Recreation Center, by the views of Blue Bell Park Olsen Field. For Greg, it is most important that, when people walk in the doors of the Student Recreation Center, they get the impression that this is the best recreational center in all of the United States. When the Student Recreation Center was first built in 1995, Marmon Moc knew that a future development would be necessary, based upon future growth of Texas A&M’s student population. The difficulty of the task was being able to correctly predict how the campus would evolve over the next twenty years. Greg and his team planned for the eventual expansion of the weight room and the possibility of the need for more aquatic space. Even though it seemed unfathomable that, back then, the brand new 288,000-square-foot Student Recreation Center would eventually need an expansion, Marmon Mok mapped out the predicted growth and planned accordingly. Now, almost 20 years later, just as Marmon Mac predicted, the Student Recreation Center is in need of an expansion, and there is no one better for the job than Greg Houston. Greg is enthused by working in recreation because it fulfills the purpose and mission of helping people stay well and healthy. However, this project is especially important to Greg because of the special place that Texas A&M holds in his heart, as it is another opportunity to give back to the University that gave him so much. When Greg finishes this project, it will be special to him “because of the relationships I have made with the people who work at Rec Sports.” Lastly, Texas A&M Rec Sports will always be special to Greg because of the way it has impacted his children’s lives. His son Jonathan, and daughter, Shannon both worked at the Student Recreation Center, in different capacities. Greg is convinced that Rec Sports was where both Jonathan and Shannon had their best experience growing their leadership capabilities in a collaborative environment. Greg also mentioned that it was the swimming pools in the Student Recreation Center’s Natatorium where his sons Jonathan and Mark could get away from their hectic schedules and spend time together. “The Rec not only brings friends together but also family members.”
CHALLENGE Wrestling for Success
We are all born wrestlers. It is the struggle to overcome trial and circumstance. The very nature of wrestling has been written on the hearts of all and displayed throughout the story of our lives. The sport coincidently, has also been on display since the beginning of time. Wrestling was performed in the first Olympics. The match concluded when one of the athletes admitted defeat. The sport based on endurance and grinding an opponent into submission began its own battle with the International Olympic Committee when it was dropped from the 2020 Olympics last February. The greatest wrestler to ever live, Dan Gable, once said, “Once you have wrestled everything else is easy.” Gable became a major advocate for getting wrestling reinstated.
twenty to thirty guys showing up on a nightly basis. Server is no stranger to making his vision into a reality. After his freshman year in high school his family moved away from his successful wrestling team to an area that did not have a wrestling program. Server went on a mission to start a team at Samuel Clemens High School. During his junior and senior season he was able to get a team together that would eventually compete in all tournaments except the UIL. The year after Server graduated, the team was instated into the UIL. “I missed my chance to wrestle for state and have a good program; it put it in me that I didn’t want to see someone go through that ever again. I am glad to know that if anyone from my high school wants to wrestle they can and win state.”
Just like the sport itself, Texas A&M’s Wrestling Club has had its course of ups and downs. It started nearly fifty years Server has a vision to make the Texas A&M ago and became endowed wrestling team grow. He contacted other eighteen years later. In 1998, schools to get an idea of what has been most the Texas A&M wrestling club effective for them. He then decided Texas claimed their sole national A&M wrestling could improve by emulating championships. In 2005, it their successes and staying away from failed to bring a single wrestler their shortfalls. Specifically, he envisions a to the NCWA Conference stronger leadership structure. He wants to Championships. In fall 2011, find permanent coaches that will produce there wasn’t a booth to stability and minimize turnover from year advertise the club on campus. to year. Some of the problems he observed Current club president Will at other schools were the majority of club Server recalls walking into members were upperclassmen and when the MSC Open House and not they graduated no one would be there. He TEXAS A&M WRESTLING CLUB being able to find anyone from plans to get the word out to younger students the wrestling club. “I had to speak with the Rec Sports booth, and they that will become dedicated athletes for the four years they are in school. were able to give me contact information, but I had no luck reaching anyone.” “I saw a reflection of my high school when I came here. There was not much leadership or guys committing. I want to build it up, so in five to Server eventually found out where the wrestling team met. He saw six years if someone comes here and wants to win nationals, then he that the club was informal and lacked a structure that would allow will have the opportunity to it, and it won’t be because I let him down.” it to grow. Throughout the 2012-2013 season, leaders such as Renee The wrestling club is heading in the right direction. Members of the Reza, Austin Souders, Nick Barz, Kevin Hernandez and Server decided club are hard-working, dedicated and committed to continuously that the wrestling club could be pushed to the next level by making it improving their own set of skills. Meanwhile, they are also preparing more professional and efficient. The clubs core members grew from to leave a legacy of growth and renewal. It will not be easy, but these just four wrestlers in the beginning of the 2012 season to a room of men are wrestlers.
WELCOME New Rec Sports Staff
Intramural Sports Graduate Assistant Masters in Sports Management
Sport Clubs Graduate Assistant Masters in Sports Management
“I love the family style atmosphere that Rec Sports provides. It really made my transition into the masters program here very enjoyable and I greatly appreciate the support. This will definitely help with my transition into the real world.”
“Working with 34 different sport clubs really has allowed me to learn about how all of the different clubs operate and how we as staff can help to accommodate and support our clubs to achieve their goals.”
DENNIS CORRI T
his year marks the 41st year of service for Executive Director of Texas A&M Rec Sports, Dennis Cor skill set but do not bring to light the kind of man he is. Dennis is a friend, mentor and visionary to ma Welford who has been working alongside Dennis for thirty-four years and speaks highly of his colle is respected by his family and also by his Rec Sports family. Here at Rec Sports, the basic thing I respect ab it.” He does not micromanage but allows others to excel at their job. He is not afraid to say yes and take ris form their own opinions and express them to create a collaborative work environment. This allows everyo how decisions are made.
Texas A&M Rec Sports staff taken in 1980
Dennis’ beginnings at Rec Sports date back to his time playing basketball at Morningside College in Sioux C not want to coach. He went to Iowa State to get his master’s in education while working as a graduate assistant The Director of Intramurals at Iowa State, who later became the president of what is now the National Intra (NIRSA), was doing a study on injuries in intramurals. He paid Dennis to run statistical analysis on the study travel to UCLA to attend his first NIRSA Conference in 1969; he has been to every conference since then. T a new graduate assistantship at The University of Texas. He was there during the first years of intramural f contact blocking. This is now the standard for intramural flag football. In 1973, Dennis interviewed at Texas as the Director of Intramurals. At the time, Rec Sports consisted solely of intramural sports, with four full budget. Today, Dennis has expanded Rec Sports to thirty-three full-time staff members and a $15 million bu leadership, Rec Sports has grown to meet the increasing demands of students with premier facilities, exc and dedicated staff.
In 1973, Intramural Sports, now known as Rec Sports, reported to the Department of Health and Kinesiolo watched as intramural sports bloomed. At that time the program’s three sports: softball, basketball and flag attracted well over 100 teams each. But, a persisting problem was the lack of facilities available for recre Dennis proposed that facilities be built to accommodate the rapid growth of the intramural sports progra After facilities were built, Dennis gained permission in 1980 to attend weekly meetings held for directors in student services that reported to Vice President Dr. John Koldus. He was drawn to student services as the ultimate home for Rec Sports because it would provide better opportunities to advance his program into the department that it would ultimately become. As Dennis actively sought the switch to the Division of Student Affairs, it was not until 1992 that the transition occurred. Shortly afterwards, Rec Sports obtained the funding to construct one of the best student recreational facilities in all the United States.
James Welford and Dennis Corrington taken in Fall 1980
A referendum was scheduled to ask the student body to fund a new facility. The referendum passed by an overwhelming margin because of the heavy involvement in intramural sports. The student body was asking for a major improvement in recreation facilities. This did not happen, however, without much tactful maneuvering and difficulty. For example, Dennis made extensive efforts for the students’ voices to be heard and for adminstrators to understand that students were completely on-board with the idea. This included a $50 fee that would be charged to every student. However, because of an error in drafting the legislation, the law only called for a $35 fee, which would make the creation of the Student Recreation Center nearly impossible. Dennis was able to negotiate a way to get the fee back up to $50 by agreeing to add a natatorium instead of a solely recreational pool. With the deal in place, the university went back to the legislature in 1991 to secure a $50 fee. Newly elected District 14 House Member Steve Ogden authored the new bill and asked for a show of support from the student body. The student body president ‘wowed’ the room with an impressive presentation. That day, the bill made it out of the committee and all but ensured a victory for Rec Sports and Texas A&M. In 1995, the doors to the Student Recreation Center opened. Now as Rec Sports continues to grow, it is time for the Student Recreation Center to expand again. With guidance from Dennis, the new expansion will take place from April 2014 to January 2016. The renovated and expanded facility will feature a weight room expansion, two-court gymnasium addition, three more activity rooms, and other additions that have not yet been finalized. The Student Recreation Center will grow from 300,000 square feet to over 420,000 square feet, helping to accommodate the expected future growth of Texas A&M University without the necessity of a student fee increase.
Texas A&M Rec Sports staff, Fall 1991
One thing remains certain: Dennis is the same respected leader today as he was when he started with Texas A&M forty years ago. Rec Sports has evolved and developed over the past four decades in an exponential manner. As Dennis will tell you, “It took a lot of teamwork and staff to make Rec Sports into what it is today.” However, what he may not tell you is that it takes the precision of a dedicated leader like himself to make all of those big things happen.
40 YEARS OF SERVICE
rrington. His impressive accomplishments speak volumes about his any of the staff at Rec Sports as well as the program itself. James egue, “Dennis is a friend, a coworker and a family person. He bout Dennis is that you have a job to do and he lets you do sks. Dennis is a calculated leader. He expects his staff to one to be on the same page and understand why and
City, Iowa. Upon graduation he decided he did t within the intramural sports department. amural-Recreational Sports Association y, which allowed Dennis the ability to The year following, Dennis began football’s implementation of no A&M University and started l-time staff and a $50,000 udget. Through Dennis’ ceptional programs
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SUPPORT Grand Opening of PEAP Building
Former Intern Now at Facebook
Rec Sports staff was very excited to attend the official grand opening of the Physical Education Activity, PEAP, Building on October 25, 2013. This brand new facility will be a great resource for Rec Sports in accomodating the loss of G. Rollie White due to the renovation of Kyle Field.
In the fall of 2010, the marketing intern and project manager for the RecLIFE Magazine was Emily Miller. Her supervisors at Texas A&M Rec Sports described her as warm, hardworking and extremely bright. Emily was extremely grateful for her opportunity to work as the marketing intern and thrived in her work. She has since graduated and successfully began her career working for the Facebook Corporate office located in Austin, Texas. Where are you currently working and in what capacity? Emily: “I currently work for Facebook in the Austin office; so, I am an official Aggie that has recently transitioned into an Austin-ite. Currently, I am an analyst on our SMB team, which means I work with small and medium businesses that advertise on Facebook. This includes supporting everything from tactical day-to-day questions, all the way to campaign strategies for how [the companies] want to use Facebook [in areas] such as product launches and ways to drive sales on their website or foot traffic in their stores.” What is the story behind getting your job? Emily: “I started out as a contractor [a team hired by Facebook]. At the time [Facebook] was looking to expand and grow. To be totally honest, I went through a rigorous interview process. Once [Facebook] ended up finalizing a permanent headcount, I got offered a full-time position! So, I applied on my own and didn’t know anybody in the office prior to starting here.” What did you take away from your marketing internship with Texas A&M Rec Sports that has helped you with your current job? Emily: “I think one of the biggest things was learning how to work in a fairly fast-paced environment, while working with multiple people at the same time. I also learned how to maintain a high level of quality throughout the process, while being able to balance different priorities at the same time. Every day, I felt like something jumped into first place of what needed to be prioritized. Having the skill set of being able to reach out to multiple people in a short period of time helps when you have a series of businesses that you support on a daily basis. With James and Kelly, there was no shortage of people to reach out to.” Emily’s success in her career can be attributed to her creativity and ability to engage with people. Rec Sports was honored by her hard work and dedication and wish her the very best in her future endeavors. Emily Miller “[Facebook] is a fast paced work environment and very challenging. I feel like I am learning something new every day and would probably never trade the work environment, the collaboration and team mentality for any other job.” Texas A&M Rec Sports likes this. 6
APPRECIATION Rec Sports Family Members Reunite At every Texas A&M home game the Department of Recreational Sports has its very own tailgate. Hundreds of people stop by every fall for fun, games, and great food. All former and current staff are welcome to come by and visit with old friends. Rec Sports provides all the tailgate essentials, from meats and beverages to big screen TVs and washers. However, once a year, there is a tailgate that goes above and beyond: the Rec Sports Reunion. This year saw a great turnout with over 150 former and current staff making up a fantastic reunion. The reunion represented Aggies young and old, as the class years ranged from the 1960s through 2017. The folks at the reunion got to hear from Greg Houston, the architect of the Rec expansion, among others such as Executive Director Dennis Corrington and Development Director James Welford. This year at the reunion, Sport Clubs legend Lindsay Craig was in attendance. Lindsay started the women’s club soccer team back in 1986 after failing to make the varsity squad. She then set out to make her dream of playing soccer in college a reality. At the tailgate, she was reunited with longtime friend and teammate Kenya Collins. They picked up right where they left off, telling stories of their days on the soccer field together. They reminisced about the stresses and triumphs of starting a new sport club. Most of all, they were filled with joy remembering the fun and relationships forged through club soccer. This is just one example of many similar encounters that took place throughout the year. We extend an invitation to you and hope you will join us next year at the Rec Sports tailgates and reunion!
“It’s always great to visit with members from the Rec Sports family! Thanks and gig ‘em!” -James Welford | Director of Development
LEADERSHIP Making a Lasting Impact The Director of Strength and Conditioning in the Department of Recreational Sports is an absolute expert in the field. Jerod Wilson poses an excellent mix of leadership characteristics such as trust, passion and exuberance for not only his job, but also the people he works with. Jerod is quick to build others up and has learned how to bring out the best in his staff by giving opportunities to those who have earned them. Jerod’s extensive knowledge of health, fitness and strength and conditioning dates back to his time as a football player at the University of Northern Iowa, also known as UNI. He played football there in his first two years of college and then decided to become more involved in the field by working as a student assistant strength and conditioning coach for UNI athletics, while at the same time also working as a student employee for recreational sports. Due to his education, work experience and skill sets, post undergrad, Jerod worked as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL. A few years later, Jerod decided to return to his Alma Mater, UNI, for his master’s degree while working full time for both athletics then recreational sports. Jerod’s current role as Director of Strength and Conditioning has many facets that require vast responsibility. Before Jerod arrived at Texas A&M University thirteen years ago, the Strength & Conditioning area was no one’s “special project” as Jerod calls it. Today, he has made this program his own and currently leads a staff that maintains what he says are his “ridiculously high standards.” As director, Jerod has a real passion for excelling at what he does best. His everyday vision is to make the Texas A&M Rec Center’s weight room and personal training program the best collegiate program and facilities in the nation, and this couldn’t have been done without his dedicated student staff. Although it would be easy to lose contact with former student workers, Jerod makes staying in touch with his alumni a priority. When he was asked about whom he is still in contact with, the list was extensive. Jerod’s excitement to talk about his former student employees is evident and shows clear signs that his work extends beyond the walls of his office. The development of his students is just as much a passion of his as health and fitness. “Working for the Department of Recreational Sports was perhaps the best thing that happened to me in my time at Texas A&M,” says Josh Adams, one of Jerod’s most memorable supervisors and personal trainers. “His influence helped cultivate my interest in health and fitness into a true passion and future career. I will forever consider Jerod to be a mentor and true friend, and I am thankful for having the opportunity to learn from him and all that he has done for me.” Another student worker that really stood out to Jerod was Johnston Dietz. Jerod described how Dietz treated his work at Texas A&M Rec Sports like it was the career he had always wanted, despite the fact that he was really striving to be an Ocean Engineer. Jerod and Dietz bonded over their time working together through Dietz’s undergrad and master’s degrees. “I can honestly say I am the man I am today in large part to [Jerod’s] influence throughout my employment with Rec Sports,” says Dietz. “He taught me not only how to be a professional within work, but also how to be a better man outside of work. He doesn’t let the walls of the Rec Center define his boundaries at which he operates within. He cares for everyone on a personal level and not just what they offer as an employee.” Their friendship still continues to grow despite the fact that Dietz has moved on to other phases in life. Ryan Keller, another influential student worker of Jerod’s, was described as his “right hand man” for almost five years. Throughout that time, Keller worked three years as his undergraduate student worker, and then was later re-hired for two years as the graduate assistant for the Strength and Conditioning area. Throughout Keller’s time working with Jerod he states, “I honestly have to say that Jerod was my biggest influence in college. It was a blast being around him, and he always challenged me at work, in the weight room, and in life, which helped me grow a lot as a person. His influence was so powerful that I just had to follow in his footsteps, and I still work in campus recreation today.” Following his time at Texas A&M, Keller was hired by Florida State University’s Recreational Center as a Strength and Conditioning coordinator. However he and his wife missed Texas and moved back when Keller was offered the opportunity to work in a similar role at Texas Christian University. Jerod’s efforts at Texas A&M Rec Sports not only make the weight room one of the best in the nation, but he has established working habits that will serve these young men and women for a lifetime. As Dietz mentioned, “Jerod Wilson as a boss is intense, critical, passionate, forgiving, and most importantly a friend! He is one man I will go out of my way to keep in contact with for the rest of my life.”
ACCOMPLISHMENT Sport Club Scholarships Earned Through Commitment
“I love the competitive spirit and push to develop myself to become a better player.” -Ryan Coelho | Rugby Club Most students’ athletic careers end when they graduate CHRIST FRAZIER, CONNOR WILSON, RYAN COEOLHO, ROBERT CHILTON high school. The thrill of Friday night lights or the brilliance of teamwork becomes a distant memory. Students replace their sleepless nights dreaming of victory with stresses of tests, work and new patterns of life. However, for a select few their dreams are not a distant memory, but live on through sport clubs.
so much on their plate. Often these athletes use their club as a way to get solace from a grueling school year. “Soccer is always the thing you can come back to when life gets tough. I can come out here and forget the world,” says Soccer Club member Kyle Friedman.
This year, out of the thirty-four Texas A&M Sport Clubs, Rugby, Wrestling, Soccer and Judo were able to provide twenty-four scholarships to their current athletes. All of this was and still is made possible through the dedication and generosity of the clubs’ alumni. These scholarships provide a great relief to athletes who already have
Next fall, hundreds of club members will practice at the Penberthy Rec Sports Complex and the brand new Physical Education Activity Program (PEAP) building. Texas A&M Rec Sports is honored to be able to award future scholarships to these outstanding individuals for all of the hard work and perseverance, .
Former Rugby Club president and scholarship recipient, Chris Frazier, was able to learn a sport he had never played before and has become exceptional at it. Chris expressed his thankfulness for the leadership opportunities that being a part of the rugby team provided.
LOYALTY Leave Your Mark WALK OF CHAMPIONS: Walk of Champions is a part of the Department of Recreational Sports Brick Campaign. It 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 quality student leadership development opportunities. 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 front of the Student Recreation Center, the Walk of Champions allows patrons to become a permanent part of the facility, and benefits the future of Rec Sports and its members.
WALK OF CHAMPIONS CONSTRUCTION UPDATE: Due to the expansion of the Student Recreation Center, bricks ordered after 9/1/2013 will not be placed into the Walk of Champions until construction is completed in 2016. Bricks ordered between now and the completion of the Rec construction will be displayed the weekend of graduation inside the lobby of the Rec Center. After graduation, all bricks will be stored until construction is finalized, at which time they will be placed into the ground. To learn more about getting your own brick in the Walk of Champions, contact James Welford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SHANNON HOUSTON ‘13
Department of Recreational Sports Texas A&M University 4250 TAMU College Station, TX 77843-4250
NONPROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID COLLEGE STATION PERMIT NO. 215
Published on Jan 13, 2014
This fall we were proud to announce Dennis Corrington's 40th year with Texas A&M Rec Sports. Throughout this copy, Dennis talks about how t...