Author Archives: Kyle Carpenter

UT Club Sports: Baseball

By percentage, the Longhorns are the winningest program in college baseball history and hold the records for most appearances in the College World Series (33) and most individual CWS games won (82). They have won six National Championships (1949, 1950, 1975, 1983, 2002, and 2005)  and have appeared in the Championship Game/Series six other times (1953, 1984, 1985, 1989, 2004, and 2009). Texas has won 75 regular season conference championships and 15 conference tournament championships in baseball.

The University of Texas Club Baseball team

But they aren’t the only baseball program in town, nor are they the only ones to win an National Championship in the past decade. The UT Club Baseball Team also hold that honor with the inaugural championship of the National Club Baseball Association in 2001.

Earlier I wrote about the UT men’s soccer club and the fact that they were the highest level of soccer at the University. While the UT Club baseball team is not, you have to consider that the aforementioned stats about the NCAA varsity program. In perspective, being the third most talented catcher on the 40 acres might mean that you are somewhere below two All-Americans and future professionals.  Not too shabby.

Club team catcher Woody Apfel

t the plate for the Longhorns

Woody Apfel, the Vice President of the club and it’s starting catcher, is no slouch. He’s been playing for nearly 16 years. His counterpart on the Longhorn baseball team is Cameron Rupp, who is on the pre-season Johnny Bench award watch list and was named to the College World Series Tournament team last season. Apfel wasn’t offered a scholarship by the University, coming from the small town of Alvarado, Texas, but did receive a spot after walking on. However, Apfel wouldn’t have a scholarship and realized he may not ever see the field, so he opted to seek out the club team.

That team plays in the Gulf Coast Region of the NCBA – A division of CollClubSports. The League is comprised of 119 Division I teams & 61 Divsion II teams, from all across the country and they all take America’s favorite pastime pretty seriously. This isn’t some Intramural league. It culminates in the NCBA World Series in May, with both divisions producing a champion. The organization has only been around since 2001, but Texas is one of just 6 teams to win the Division I championship.

According to the NCBA’s website, the two types of institutions that field club teams are schools that either can’t sponsor NCAA varsity baseball (often due to Title IX restrictions) and schools that do have a varsity team, but also have enough demand to field a second team. Texas obviously falls into the latter.

The team versus the rival Aggies

Coming off a season where they finished ranked #19 in the nation and narrowly missed out on making the big tournament – the Longhorns are currently ranked #18 and hoping to make it to the world series. In order to do that they must win their Regional, where they would face the other 7 regional champions in Ft. Meyers, Florida.

So come out and support your fellow Horns. The team plays around 25 games during the regular season, and plays their home games at Zaragosa Park, about 10 minutes from campus. They have 6 more home games and only a month before Regionals begin!

For Whom Tolls the Bells

A lot has changed in the world since 1967. The Beatles are done, Vietnam is over, we reached the moon (we think), Bobby Kennedy and the great Martin Luther King Jr. are unfortunately no longer with us.

But a lot of things haven’t. We still don’t know who shot JFK, England still hasn’t won another World Cup, no one cares who Justin Beiber is, and Tom Anderson still plays his 56 bells.

If that last one sounds odd to you, then you need to brush up on your University of Texas personalities. Anderson has played the Carillon for Longhorn passer-byes for 57 years (also from 52-56 as a music graduate student). And while a quick search in the UT directory won’t net you any results for Anderson, asking anyone in the know will certainly offer some insight.

A younger Anderson stands next to one of the 56 bells

“Tom is the offical University carilloneur,” said Arnell Davis, a Tower Tour Guide at UT. “He’s the best there is…And the carillon is so massive, it’s actually located on two separate floors at the top of the Tower, four flights up from the observation deck – but he plays it as though it were simple instrument.”

So maybe that sounds impressive, but consider the routine of playing the carillon. The instrument is similar to an organ, but instead of keys, it has two rows of wooden levers. Each time he touches a lever, it sends a signal through a wire to a slapper inside the bells (which weigh between 20 pounds and 20 tons). To actually play the instrument, you have to frantically multitask, stretching for levers, hopping between pedals, and all the while reading sheet music – and keeping the beat. That sounds like a task for a spry undergrad, much less an 87-year-old man. Anderson, who has finally surpassed the number of steps he climbs each day (two at a time for good measure), says he’ll keep playing until he can’t get up the 85 steps anymore.

And over his lengthy tenure atop the tower, Anderson still hasn’t lost his sense of humor. Although he said he doesn’t have a favorite song, he loves ‘Danny Boy’ and takes some pleasure in playing certain songs at odd times. Examples include ‘Let it Snow’ in the middle of August or Chopin’s funeral march on the first day of finals.

Some things never change, and we like it that way. One day Tom will retire and the University will lose an icon. But until that day, we should cherish the music and remember the man. The next time you hear the bells think of him, and maybe even tell a friend. He deserves a little bit of celebrity after all. I think he’s earned it.

Before there was a Longhorn, there were…Dogs, Pigs, and Billy Goats?

A Dog Named Pig:

Texas’ 1st mascot, Pig, courtesy of Jim Nicar.

It is a little known fact that Bevo, the beloved longhorn, was not the first mascot of the University of Texas. From 1914-1923 it was actually a dog with an unusual name.

Pig Bellmont, brought to the University when he was a seven-week old puppy by UT’s first athletic director L. Theo Bellmont, was a tan and white pitbull mix. Pig was known to have free reign over the University campus from the steps of the tower to under the steps of the co-op, where he slept at night. He was an instant hit and was quickly voted the official “Varsity mascot” by the students in 1914. (The first Bevo was introduced in 1920 by the alumni, and rivals Texas A&M didn’t get their Collie mascot “Revellie” until 1931).

The dog got his namesake from the team’s center Gus “Pig” Dittmar after teammates noticed they both walked bowlegged when standing next to each other on the sidelines.

“Every morning, Pig greeted students and faculty on his daily rounds,” according to Jim Nicar, Director of the UT Heritage Society. “He frequented classrooms, and on cold days even visited the library (now Battle Hall). Pig regularly attended home and out-of-town athletic events, and it was said he would snarl at the slightest mention of Texas A&M.”

Pig's funeral procession, courtesy of Jim Nicar

On New Year’s day of 1923, Pig  was struck by a car at the  intersection of 24th and  Guadalupe streets and died a  few days later. The campus was  shaken deeply, and a few days  later, hundreds turned out to  pay their respects to his casket  in front of the Co-op. At 5 p.m.,  the funeral procession, led by  the Longhorn Band marched to the old Law Building, where the Graduate School of Business now stands. The Texas Cowboys served as Pig’s pallbearers, and upon his grave laid a sign with the epitaph: “Pig’s Dead…Dog Gone.”

The University went without a mascot until 1932, nine years after Pig’s death, when Bevo II was introduced and has been a staple ever since.
Clark’s Billy Goat Hill:

From 1927-1974, the University of Texas baseball team played in what many consider one of the most unique and charismatic baseball fields in America, Clark Field.

Not to be mistaken with the multi-sport site operated by RecSports located

Billy Goat Hill seen in center field

between 21st Street and San Jacinto Boulevard today, this was a different field entirely. Located between 23rd and Red River Streets (near the LBJ library), it was nestled into the natural hills and landscape of the area. It’s most distinctive feature was the 12- to 30-foot limestone cliff ran from left-center to center field, which made playing the outfield quite an adventure. Center field was nicknamed “Billy Goat Hill” because the cliff could only be accessed via a goat path in left-center.

Some Texas center fielders even opted to play on top the hill to keep the ball in front of them, with the cover of left and right fielders playing away from the lines. However one thing remained a constant for the nearly 50 years the Longhorns played there – opposing teams had a tough time figuring the “Billy Goat” out.

Famous American Souther writer and former Daily Texan Editor, Willie Morris, wrote about the field in his book “Always Stand in Against the Curve.”

Clark Field seen with the LBJ school of Public Affairs in the background

“Directly across the street from the football stadium had been the most lovely and harmonious baseball field in the United States, the most unusual baseball diamond I have to this day ever known. It was called Clark Field, and it had been carved out of the earth from the limestone all around it. Its roofed grandstand and bleachers had a patina of time, and its entire surroundings were touched with an unhurried grace that behooved the best and most complex of all American games. I loved this field, and it came to represent for me the most enduring spot on the whole campus of the University of Texas. Indeed, to me its became the best place in all this frenetic, pulsating state. . . . Was there a finer place in God’s creation to spend a placid afternoon in the sunshine with one’s favorite coed and one’s best pals from Breckenridge Hall, watching the Longhorns in their burnt-orange and white embarass the loathsome Texas Aggies?”

The field was eventually destroyed to make way for campus development in the area. In the 1975 season, the Longhorns opened their new home UFCU Disch-Falk Field, where they still play their home games today.

So Few Calories, So Many Places to Burn Them

Photo:Jontunn

Nestled directly in the heart of one of the fittest cities in America, the University of Texas is in no way lacking in gym choices. According to UT RecSports, there are 12 different “workout locations.” While some of these are either very small or may be in the same general area (Gregory Gym, Gregory Gym Aquatic Complex), it is still pretty impressive and a bit overwhelming. I’ll break down and profile the major options and let you decide.

Photo:Gene

Gregory Gym/Pool: The biggest and probably most well-known gym on campus, this is also the most used. It can hold a large amount of people, and does every day. Among it’s features it boasts 7 basketball courts, a climbing wall. 10 racquetball and 2 Squash courts, a large weight room, steam and sauna rooms, and a 1/7 mile indoor track. It is located in the heart of campus and is open until 2 a.m. Sunday – Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Behind the gym is the aquatic complex, which feature 2 indoor pools, 3 heated outdoor pools, and a spa.

Rec Sports Center: Located right behind the stadium, this gym is slightly less-known and less-used than Gregory. It offers slightly smaller crowds but with slightly fewer options. It still has 3 basketball courts, 8 racquetball courts, 2 Squash courts, and a sizable weight room. For my first 2 years on campus, this was my gym of choice.

Belmont: Maybe it’s because it’s INSIDE the stadium and fulfills the dream of doing some physical activity inside Daryl K Royal Memorial Stadium, or maybe it’s because you never have to wait for a machine. Regardless of the reason, this hidden gem is the reason that I stopped working out in the Rec Sports Center.

Photo: Caribb

Anna Hiss: Known mostly for it’s dodge ball tournaments and to anyone who’s taken Ballroom Dancing, this small, hidden, wonder can easily elude you for 4 years. Built in 1931, it has a small basketball area and some exercise rooms (limited weights if any) to utilize. But the thing that caught my eye when researching was the archery range. Should’ve spent more time there!

Whitaker Fields: Where Intramural legends are born, this site contains 18 soccer or football fields (or 12 softball diamonds depending on season). It is equipped with lights and open until 10 p.m. M-F. The fields are also utilized heavily for Club team practice and games. It is a few miles from campus, but has plenty of parking and it’s own shuttle bus.

OTHERS:

Clark Field – Located just behind San Jacinto Residence Hall, this field is frequently used for pickup football games

Jamail Texas Swimming Center – Not DKR, but the swimming center houses Texas’ most feared and most successful program. Just might run into gold medalist Garrett Weber-Gale here too.

Whitaker Tennis Courts – 40 lighted tennis courts located just behind Whitaker Fields.

Penick-Allison Tennis Center – 12 tournament quality competition courts and home to the UT Tennis teams.

Where do you like to do your excercising?

The UT Tower: Lighting the Way

For reasons good or bad, it is probably the most recognizable school tower in America. It dominates the skyline of not only the campus, but much of the city. The 307 foot structure was built from 1934-37 and has stood the test of time. When architect Paul Phillepe Cret designed something to replace the old Main Building, he created something that was much more than “brick and mortar.”

Photographed by every enterprising photographer ever since, it has become a part of the culture of UT, of Austin, and of Texas. Simply googling “University of Texas tower” will yield you enough results to become a psudeo-historian, so I won’t go too much more into the history. But a plain white tower is only half of the story.

Carl Eckhardt Jr. became head of UT’s physical plant in 1931 and thererfore supervised the construction of the UT Tower. He conceived a way to accentuate achievements on the ultimate canvas, a significantly taller and visible tower using lighting. In 1937, he flooded the tower with orange light to signify a victory. He then began to develop guidelines for when the tower should be lit and what variations should apply.

Today there are 9 such variations in use.

1)

1) TOWER ENTIRELY WHITE
– Standard Tower Lighting

2) TOWER WITH WHITE TOP AND ORANGE SHAFT

2)

– Academic and Staff Achievements

  • Faculty academic achievements (Academic Convocation)
  • Student academic achievements (Honors Day)
  • Staff achievements (Staff Recognition Day)
  • Academic team achievements with #1 displayed
  • Other events at the President’s discretion

3)

3) TOWER WITH ORANGE TOP AND WHITE SHAFT
– Athletic Achievements

  • Football regular season victories, except Texas A&M
  • Non-Bowl Championship Series (BCS) victories
  • Other events at the President’s discretion

4) TOWER ENTIRELY ORANGE

4)


– Significant Athletic Victories

  • Football victories
  • Texas A&M
  • Big 12 South
  • Big 12 Championship Game
  • Big 12 Regular Season Team Championship
  • Big 12 Tournament Championships
  • Student organization sports club national championships

5) TOWER ENTIRELY ORANGE WITH #1 DISPLAYED

5)

– Athletic Championships

  • Football Bowl Championship Series (BCS) 1 vs. 2 win
  • NCAA championships for all other sports

6) TOWER ENTIRELY ORANGE

6)

– Campus-wide Accolades

  • UT’s Birthday – September 15
  • Commencement
  • Texas Independence Day – March 2
  • Other campus-wide events at the President’s discretion

7) DARKENED TOWER WITH WHITE CAP AND OBSERVATION

7)

DECK
– Solemn Occasions
Configuration: All other levels dark, including windows

  • UT Remembers (annual memorial service)
  • Tower Garden Dedication
  • Significant solemn occasions, e.g. Texas A&M Bonfire Tragedy
  • Other occasions at the President’s discretion

8)

8) TOWER TOP SPLIT ORANGE AND WHITE WITH ORANGE SHAFT
– Symbolic Campus Events

  • Gone to Texas – welcoming new students to campus
  • Other events at the President’s discretion

9) TOWER WITH SPECIAL EFFECTS OR NUMBERING

9) Celebrating Ricky Williams' Heisman

– Special Effects

Fireworks at the Tower for Divali

UT Club Sports: Soccer

It’s no secret that in Austin, Longhorn football is king. Not only does it dominate other schools in terms of revenue, but it obviously dwarfs other great Longhorn teams as well. However, the game that the rest of the world calls football (or soccer for our purposes) has taken quite a hold in the past few decades. While not threatening the top dog, it certainly has done well in it’s niche. Due to Title IX restrictions, the Longhorns do not have an Men’s NCAA soccer team, so the Club Soccer team is the highest on campus.

Established in 1964, the UT Club team has become one of the best in the country. In the 90s, it boasted 4  National Championships, (1990, 1995, 1996, 1997) and has put up a winning record every year since the mid-80s.

Photo:Yomi Olufowoshe

According to club player Yomi Olufowoshe, a majority of the roster has either played for a Division I program or had offers from Div. I programs, but passed to come to UT.

One example of this is the team’s starting GK Josh Mikulewicz. He was part of a highly ranked recruiting class at the University of Maryland, who were at the time the reigning National Champions.  Despite this, he missed Texas and eventually ended up at UT, and immediately got involved with the club team.

Think you’ve got what it takes? Official tryouts begin Wednesday, August 25th.

Getting Involved

Getting involved is something so integral to your college experience that we could dedicate an entire separate blog to

It's easy to get swallowed in the sea of burnt orage. Photo:Ernest Bludger

doing it. At one of the largest universities in the country, it’s easy to simply be a number and  fade into the crowd. It’s important to get involved in smaller groups to thrive AND survive in college.

But where the heck do you find out about all of these different groups and figure out which one suits you? The simplest, most basic way to do this is  to check out the organizational database provided by the office of the Dean of Students. You can enter the specific name of an organization, or just such something that interests you.

If the random search isn’t something you’re interested in, there are certain times when the organizations come to you. At the beginning of each semester there are numerous organizations tabling out in West Mall or in Jester and events such as Party on the Plaza.

There are also campus wide showcases such as 40 Acres Fest or Explore UT, the latter of which will be taking place on Saturday, March 6th. It is an event in which hundreds of student organizations showcase what their organization is about.

Again there are over 1,000 student groups to join and many times there are freshman specific groups including Freshman Business Association or Freshman Leadership Organization to help you get integrated for 4 years.