College Love in the Lone Star State

Why students feel Pride for Texas Universities


Photo by Natalya Shelton

Texas college pride is a very important aspect of students’ lives and fans have been known to go all out with their support. Emma Cockerham (11) explained what being a fan of a Texas college meant to her. “Being a UT fan, I feel like I’m cheering on Texas,” Cockerham said. “I’m cheering on the best college in Texas and I feel like there’s a lot of Texas pride…” – Made in Canva

Texas is home to 268 colleges and universities, leaving students with plenty of options when it comes to choosing their favorite. But no matter what criteria they go by, once a student picks their favorite Texas college they go all out when supporting them.

There are many aspects that can draw someone to a specific college, but a common theme seems to be family ties. Texas Tech supporter Kora Huff (12) reflects on this connection.

“My family has grown up around [Texas Tech],” Huff said. “I had some family members go there and I’ve just grown up around that. I’m proud to be a Red Raider.”

University of Texas at Austin fan, Emma Cockerham (11), shares a similar attachment due to her own family.

“My mom went to UT and my sister goes there,” Cockerham said. “A lot of my family just loves UT.”

Full time substitute teacher and Texas A&M fan David Wickersham also had his family play a big part in his decision to support the Aggies.

“I let my kids choose [what college they wanted to go to],” Wickersham said. “My son, who was a big Longhorns fan, went to A&M and he saw the culture and everything else and he chose A&M. So I’m a big fan because both of my boys went there and got a great education and I just love the school.”

A college’s culture and atmosphere also seem to be a big source of pride for many Texas college fans, especially when it comes to sports.

“I’ve gone to two UT football games,” Cockerham said. “It was super fun and it was amazing being able to hear the band and just experiencing the whole atmosphere.”

Texas is known for its football at all of its various colleges. For Huff, it seems like the games did not disappoint.

“The football games were really cool.” Huff said. “[Texas Tech has] this horse before every football game and this woman has this fake gun and she runs out on the field and it’s really cool.”

Chemistry teacher, football coach and University of Mary Hardin-Baylor graduate Derek Sides also highlights the football program, but for a different reason.

“[What drew me to UMHB] was athletics because that’s why I went there,” Sides said. “I played football there so athletics was a big part. I love the athletic program, and love what it stands for.”

Biology teacher and University of Houston graduate Mariane Taylor highlights a less common sport that stood out to her.

“We have a big step team,” Taylor said. “I would leave my organic chemistry class which ended late at night and you could hear them practicing across the quad.”

Apart from sports, many add a college’s mascot and school colors to their criteria for which is the best. Baylor fan Jayden King (10) shares her opinions on Baylor’s colors and mascot.

“I love the colors,” King said. “I like green and gold together. And…they actually have a real bear on campus and they walk it around on a leash.”

UT at Austin also has a recognizable mascot and school colors that Cockerman wears proudly.

“I think [UT’s school colors] are very distinctive,” Cockerham said. “I don’t know a lot of colleges that have burnt orange as their color. So I feel like it’s very unique and when you see the burnt orange you think of UT. And the mascot is the longhorn, which is the Texas animal, so I think it just represents Texas the most.”

While some people liked the school’s mascot and colors immediately, for others they had to grow on them.

“In highschool I hated purple and gold because that was from our rivals [at the time],” Sides said. “But you kind of learn to love purple and gold when all that’s around you is purple and gold so I love purple and gold now. And I think [the Crusader] is pretty noticeable in Texas and its name created its reputation.”

Perhaps the most fun part of Texas college pride, though, are the competitions and rivalries that inevitably form with other Texas colleges.

“I grew up when it was the old SouthWest conference,” Wickersham said. “When all the Texas schools were in that one conference and they played each other. So I love that, I love the rivalry within Texas.”

Texas colleges that play in the same conference often have a rivalry with each other by default, and it makes those games that much more competitive.

“Our big rival was Hardin Simmons University because… they’re in our conference,” Sides said. “[Those games] were very intense, there’s a lot of emotion that goes into them. It’s kind of like the king of Texas football for division three. The championship is on the line, so it’s a lot of emotion and has a great atmosphere about it. It’s going to be physical and you’re going to get the best out of both teams.”

A rivalry that seems to be a fan favorite is the feud between the Baylor Bears and the UT Longhorns.

“I always look forward to watching the UT versus Baylor games because my dad went to Baylor and my other sister went to Baylor,” Cockerham said. “So it’s seeing which team is better.”

This specific rivalry bleeds into almost every sport the universities offer, not just traditional football.

“[I like watching] Baylor versus UT,” King said. “It’s one of those games that everyone goes to because it’s a really big rivalry when it comes to softball and baseball.”

College pride is very important to students in Texas, but no matter what college they choose to support they all have one thing in common: a sense of fulfillment as they root for a prestigious univeristy in the state they call home.

“Being a UT fan, I feel like I’m cheering on Texas,” Cockerham said. “I’m cheering on the best college in Texas and I feel like there’s a lot of Texas pride…”