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LIFE SPRING 2010 Volume 4, Issue 1

HOWDY! Here at the Texas A&M Department of Recreational Sports, we believe our success as a collegiate organization lies within the hands of our Aggie student body. From supervising our facilities to managing the sport clubs, we give students the tools they need to run our operations efficiently while under the guidance of an experienced staff. With so many excellent opportunities to get involved, students have the chance to benefit from a learning environment unlike any other. The maintenance of an atmosphere that facilitates leadership development and promotes personal growth has always been the primary focus of Rec Sports. Since its establishment, the department has taught its student staff and club members the importance of responsibility and leading fellow students to victory. We push for excellence and will continue to as new Aggies progress through our department and onto future challenges in life. Reflecting back upon your time with Rec Sports as a student, you can probably remember the impact the department had on your development as a successful individual. Whether you were a referee or facility supervisor, you learned to address the difficulties that came with being a leader. To continue offering such direction to students and aid in their educational endeavors, the department looks to the service of our scholarship program and former students for support. Aggies of all generations have a financial need and with this being known, I end my letter with a request for your continued support of the Department of Recreational Sports Scholarship Program. No amount is too small and with your funding we will be able to maintain an establishment unparalleled in distinction. Thanks and Gig’em

James M. Welford Associate Director of Development

In this issue

Rec Sports Honors // 04 History of Hatman // 05 Rick Hall // 06 20+ Years of Experience // 07 Scholarships // 08 Sport Clubs // 10 Contributions // 11 RECLife Team: Journalism Intern and Project Manager - Rachel Bertolini Graphic Layout Assistant - Jarrod Simpson Marketing and Communications Technician - Josh Collins Interim Maketing Director - Michelle Briggs Associate Director of Development - James Welford


HONORS SIKIRAT KAZEEM joined the Department of Recreational Sports in 2001 as a young and talented intramural coordinator. Since her initial employment, Kazeem has proven to be an essential part of our institution. From mentoring students to supervising the Rec Center facility staff, Kazeem is a driven individual undaunted by the challenges she faces today as the assistant director of facilities. In acknowledgement of her dedication to the Aggie student body and Rec Sports staff, Kazeem was announced as a recipient of this year’s Horace Moody Award, an honor accredited by the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) to professionals recognized for their contributions to student development.

EACH YEAR the Division of Student Affairs recognizes one graduate assistant for their hard work and dedication to their department. At Rec Sports, we have been fortunate to receive one such graduate assistant whose work has had a profound effect on our medical division. Responsible enough to manage a budget of over $150,000, supervise 20 medics and still carry a can-do attitude, Jessica Howe is more than worthy of distinction. “Jessica Howe has done such an outstanding job for Rec Sports in so many ways,” said Bill Garrett, the department’s lead IT technology consultant and one of five co-workers who nominated Howe. An honor given to those who demonstrate excellence in their work environment, resourcefulness and go outside their daily responsibilities to assist others, the Award of Distinction could not have been given to an individual more deserving than Howe.

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The Department of Recreational Sports places student development as its highest priority. With a staff dedicated to promoting growth and leadership, Rec Sports’ students are offered every opportunity to enhance their time here at Texas A&M University and with the department. This spring, we are pleased to announce that three of our employees have been recognized for their outstanding work with the student body.


It’s always special to me to be recognized by the students because it lets me know that I am making an impact. From offering networking opportunities to co-chairing conferences, Kazeem has kept student development a high priority while simultaneously monitoring the operations of a multi-million dollar recreational facility. “I think my job with training students involves empowering them to take a more active role in their own development.”

THE CURRENT MANAGER of the Rec Center’s Member Services desk and an admired co-worker, Evelyn Dorsey has been a constant source of guidance for both the student staff and facility patrons for nearly two decades. In charge of training Member Services representatives, Dorsey has shaped the lives of everyone she has come into contact with. In recognition of her dedication to the department and involvement with the Division of Student Affairs, Dorsey was one of this year’s recipients of the Randy Matson Award. Distributed to those who display a level of service beyond their position’s requirements, the award honors responsible employees like Dorsey whose contributions create change. The Randy Matson ’67 Association of Former Students Award is an honor awarded by the Division of Student Affairs. Recipients are nominated for their hard work by fellow staff members, students or an organization they have supported.

Joel Hickerson and the Many Faces of Hatman

A Look Back at the First Rec Sports Mascot SINCE THE BEGINNING, the Department of Recreational Sports has always left its doors open to the curious Texas Aggie student. With numerous internships and employment opportunities available, Rec Sports views student development as an indispensable part of its operations. We mold individuals into confident, efficient leaders and take pride in knowing many of our former students have become successful, thanks in part to the experience they received here. Rec Sports recently had the opportunity to reconnect with an individual whose presence left a distinct impression on the

pages of the department’s history. The first and only official cartoonist hired by the department, Joel Hickerson, class of ‘84 and founder of Grindog Illustration and Design, was the designer of the infamous Hatman and has since created quite a name for himself. “I was a junior at Texas A&M University and my professor, Rodney Hill, recommended me for the cartoonist job at the department,” said Hickerson. “It was my first art job ever and a great stepping off place for me.” Originally the creation of Michael Borg, Hatman became the official Rec Sports mascot and a nationally recognized emblem thanks to Hickerson’s creative genius. A participant of every recreational activity, Hatman was widely recognized for his presecence in the department’s promotional material. “I made him into a character that took on all the sports. He was a baseball player, football player, even put on a do-rag and played ultimate Frisbee,” said Hickerson. “Every time intramurals came out with a new sport, we drew a new Hatman on the flier. He was quite the diverse little guy.” Hickerson considers his job drawing Hatman the experience that started it all because he took a mere hat with feet and transformed it into a beloved paper personality. Specializing in character design today, Hickerson has since collaborated with ESPN, Warner Brothers, Disney, PBS Kids and several book publishers. Currently in the process of writing his own book, Hickerson has hundreds of character designs to his name with at least fifty books featuring his illustrations. “The Hatman’s personality really came out when I took over. I was a very athletic guy and that made it easier for me to relate to all the sporting roles (mostly humorous) this character took on. He became a part of me for a while and seemed to mirror my own personality in everything he did,” said Hickerson. “Working with Hatman for two years taught me how to avoid repetition in my work and develop fresh personalities for all of my characters.” Hickerson has put his artistic talent to work and started his own business in Austin, Texas. Grindog Illustration and Design has been the provider of multiple event and company logos, including the Crazy Cajun, X Games and several rugby tournaments. His web site alone is a monument to his outstanding work and innovative style. Developing characters similar to Hatman is still what Hickerson loves to do best. “Character design is my bread and butter. There are artists out there who can draw as well or better than me, but there is a special talent to bringing a drawing to life, and beginning all the way back to the Hatman years, that’s what I have done best!” To take a look at Joel Hickerson’s work or contact him for further information, visit his web site at or e-mail

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Rick Hall is Pretty Cool And he thinks Rec Sports is pretty cool, too.

A CAPTIVATING LIFE STORY is written by the hand of an experienced author. It is created by a person who saw chance as the door to opportunity and ambition the vehicle to adventure. Walk into the corner office of Rick Hall and you will meet an individual with such a story to tell. The book shelves of Hall’s office aren’t covered in the normal clutter you might find in the workspace of a senior associate director. Instead of neatly labeled manuals and piles of manila folders, the curious eye of the visitor falls upon a medley of family pictures, sporting memorabilia, hand-drawings from his two sons and plaques engraved in gold. The Student Recreation Center is home and Hall has every intention of staying put. “Here I am 30 years later,” said Hall with a smile. “I saw a dream develop and have one of the best jobs in the country. What a treat.” Rick Hall’s history with the Department of Recreational Sports is filled with mile markers Hall nicknames the “chap-

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ters of his life.” Beginning with a simple trip to a National IntramuralRecreation Sports Association (NIRSA) conference in 1979, Hall quickly found himself taking on a lifelong commitment that would lead to the development of a facility, its completion and everything in between. A graduate of Virginia Tech looking for a change of scenery in a growing sports market, Hall decided to head south and accept an offer with the Texas A&M Department of Recreational Sports as the assistant director of intramurals. “When I started working here as an assistant director of intramurals, I was in charge of scheduling events for 800 teams,” said Hall. “Five years later I took a position with facilities and worked on scheduling events at the G. Rollie White complex. I interacted directly with staff members and was in charge of facility reservations, both of which I found new and exciting.” Hall’s life-changing decision to switch from intramurals to facilities was one he does not regret. His constant interaction with facility staff members and students gave him insight that would prove to be useful in the near future. “Three years into facilities I started to realize how cramped we all were. Suddenly, a new chapter of my life began because this revelation helped shape what we have today: the Student Recreation Center,” said Hall, who still has a concept drawing of the Student Recreation Center hanging on the wall behind his desk. Hall took on the role of molding the university’s newest facility after being promoted as one of three associate directors in 1995. In charge of implementing policies, facility development and staffing, he became an influential figure amongst his growing Rec Sports family. Hall advanced to senior associate director in 2005 after the previous director, Tom Reber, transferred to the Division of Student Affairs. “Again, there I was part of a new, exciting movement. I thought, why leave now? I saw a dream develop and before I knew it I had made ties to the city and this university.” Although achieving this position was an important success, Hall viewed it as only a minor reason to stay in College Station. It was in this city Hall met the love of his life, raised two sons and built his story; the Rec Center became just another reason to stick around and see what chapter would be written next. “Everything in my life fit so well here. My love for refereeing, playing sports and officiating matched up perfectly with my career,” said Hall. “Also, the co-workers that have stuck around have created great relationships both on a professional and recreational level. Everyone is good at what they do and it makes it easy to want to be here.” While addressing his daily tasks of supervising multiple divisions and handling program funding, Hall never fails to vocalize his deep admiration for the student staff. This senior associate director recognizes how vital the Aggie students are to the department’s daily operations. “Both the facility staff and I have a lot to monitor around here to run things smoothly, but our students are an extension of us. We train them, trust them and empower them to go out and manage our facilities. They are the true face of Rec Sports.”






Director “Speaking as a person who has been here for a long time, I feel we have created a flexible working environment and athletic department that plays a big role in society. We are an educational institution and have the opportunity to help individuals with little to no work experience become better employees. We train leaders and offer knowledge we hope they can use in the future, something I find to be very important.”

Associate Director of Programming “The students are the past, present and future of the department. We wouldn’t have the facilities and programs we have today if we didn’t have the support of the student body. I am still at A&M because of the people that have made me part of their lives and my career can be dedicated to them and the thousands of others I have met over the years.”

Outdoor Adventures Director “After 25 years, what I like most about the department is how dynamic the work place is. We are encouraged to think creatively, which is why I envision our department continuing to act progressively for years to come. Instead of being satisfied with the status quo, we will always improve our programs, services and facilities for the Texas A&M Community.”



Associate Director of Business Services “I’ve been privileged to work with the BEST student body in the world for the past 26 years. Texas Aggies are a special breed of students, one that has successfully managed to grow, develop, participate in and nurture one of the largest recreational sports programs in the country within the past 15 years. Thanks to their help, the Rec Center is now an $80 million dollar facility! Gig that!”

Associate VP for Student Affairs “While the Corps, MSC and Student Activities are applauded for their accomplishments in student development, Rec Sports holds a back seat to no one. My home away from home for 22 years, the students and staff are passionate about providing a first-class recreational sport experience. The Rec is going on 15 years and still looks brand new.”

LAZELL CURRY, 31 YEARS Office Reception “I have been working here for 30 years and by far the students are my favorite part because I get so attached to them. My co-workers have become my family and I look forward to being here several more years. This is a fun place to be.”

The continued growth of the Department of Recreational Sports hinges on the dedication of its employees and their commitment to excellence.

JAMES NASH, 21 YEARS Associate Director of Facilities “I believe that Rec Sports gives the students of TAMU the opportunity to explore and develop personally and professionally. I have truly enjoyed working with the students over the years.”

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KENNEY/TEXAS A&M MEN’S SOCCER TEAM MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP ENDOWMENT The Daniel C. Kenney Endowment is one of the largest endowments in Texas A&M Sport Clubs history. With over $61,000 collected in seven years and at least $29,000 in scholarships awarded to student soccer players within the past five, this program is highly recognized in the Department of Recreational Sports. Created in memory of Daniel Kenney, a class of 1993 graduate who passed away in 1999, this scholarship is awarded to several soccer players each year based on their merits as a team player and outstanding student. This year we are proud to recognize six recipients. 2010-2011 RECIPIENTS: Silas Adams Colten Bingham Daniel Ray Santiago Garrido-Lecca Joseph Cutaiav Alberto Zambrano

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REC SPORTS STUDENT STAFF SCHOLARSHIP The key to an efficient department is a talented workforce, one constructed of dedicated employees whose excellence contributes to the organization’s success. In recognition of the important role students play in the maintenance and coordination of Rec Sports facilities and events, every year the Department of Recreational Sports offers its student staff members the chance to receive a $1000 scholarship to aid in their educational endeavors. This year, three of our students were identified by their superiors for their outstanding work and distinguished role with the department. 2010-2011 RECIPIENTS (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT): Matthew Altendorf Derek Nido Lindsey Serres

JUDO Since its establishment in 2005, the Texas A&M Judo Scholarship has become one of the largest and most successful scholarship programs offered to the Aggie Sport Clubs. Providing over $9000 in scholarships to date, the program offers recipients between $500 to $2000 dollars in financial aid based on their academic standing and dedication as a student athlete. 2010-2011 RECIPIENTS: Caleb Lenard Kevin Porter Gabriel Tellez Benjamin Van Dam

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SPORT CLUBS THE DEPARTMENT OF RECREATIONAL SPORTS is home to 33 sport clubs that participate at the state, regional and national level. Directed by our very own Aggie athletes, these students are offered the chance to compete against clubs from across the country in hopes of obtaining a championship title at National competitions.


2010 HIGHLIGHTS VOLLEYBALL On April 3, 2010, the Texas A&M club volleyball teams made Aggie history. Competitors in the 2010 AE NCCS National Volleyball Championships in Dallas, the men’s club volleyball team and both of the women’s teams rose to the occasion and claimed first place in all brackets. Rivaling volleyball clubs from around the nation, this well-deserved accomplishment has been a long time coming.

HANDBALL Kayla Jones made Aggie handball history on


February 28 after taking on 42 opponnets for the title of Women’s Division A collegiate champion. Jones powered through the opposition and returned home with the honor of being number one after competing in the national competition hosted by the United States Handball Association at the Downtown Houston YMCA.

GYMNASTICS On April 10, the Texas A&M Women’s Gymnastics club claimed yet another title after competing in the 2010 NAIGC National Championships. In an event that hosted over 50 schools from around the nation and at least 500 competitors, the Aggie gymnastics club had a formidable challenge ahead of them. Determined to win, the weekend ended with a win at the national level for the fourth year in a row. Additionally, the men’s club placed second in their national divsion.


POWERLIFTING The Aggie powerlifting clubs dominated nationals this year in Orlando, Florida. The Texas A&M Women’s Powerlifting team was distinguised as national champion after competiting against 12 collegiate clubs. In addition, TIffany McKinney received her fourth title as individual national champion and representing the men’s club, Dustin Witte was honored with his first.

POLO On April 10, the men’s Aggie polo team attended the 2010 USPA Intercollegiate Nationals and, after facing the University of Virginia on their home turf, returned national champions. Their sixth time to receive this honor within the past fourteen years, the men’s polo team now carries a reputation to be challenged.

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Tom and Margaret Loftus Academic Leadership Rugby Scholarship A Former Student Gives Back


TEXAS A&M SPORT CLUBS rely on the support of former students and staff to continue moving foward. This year Dr. Thomas Loftus, a former student and founder of the Austin Neurosurgical Institute and Minimally-Invasive Spine Surgery Center of Austin, donated $25,000 to the Texas A&M Men’s Rugby Team through the Tom and Margaret Loftus Academic Leadership Rugby Scholarship. Created in honor of his parents, Loftus finds this opportunity to donate his way of giving back to an organization that enhanced his college experience. A former Texas A&M rugby player and class of ’94, Loftus established the fund to provide one or more scholarships to full-time students participating on the Men’s Rugby Team. Recipients are required to maintain at least a 3.25 GPA while pursuing a degree at the Texas A&M University in College Station, TX, and play at least one semester of rugby.




AS FORMER STUDENTS AND STAFF, your generosity to the department ensures that current and future Aggies will have the finest recreational opportunities available. Whether you are an established contributor or have an interest in supporting our endeavors, a small amount can go a long way. Here at Rec Sports, we take dreams and make them a reality with your help. There are several programs available for contributions, including: •The Walk of Champions Brick Campaign •The Department of Recreational Sports Endowed Scholarship •Individual sport clubs funding and endowment programs

THE CIRCLE OF EXCELLENCE Award Program is a unique part of The Walk of Champions brick campaign. An honor dedicated to the department’s hard-working student staff, a recipient from each sub-department is recognized for his/ her outstanding service to Rec Sports. Award winners receive an engraved brick to place in the Circle of Excellence, along with a lapel pin or charm. Prominent department sponsors are also eligible to receive this award based on oustanding levels of support.

STAY IN TOUCH WANT THE LATEST UPDATES on what’s happening with Rec Sports? Stay connected! Visit our website at and select ‘Reconnect with Rec Sports’ under the Development and Sponsors tab to start receiving information on events, clubs and more. You can also e-mail us directly at to connect with our associate director of development James Welford.

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

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RecLIFE Spring 2010  

In this edition RecLIFE reviews the Rec Sports honors and the history of "Hatman." It also debuts Rick Hall and what staff members have acc...

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