Forty Acres Insider: August 29
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Forty Acres Insider: August 29

Jun 18, 2023

Important news happening in and around Texas Athletics compiled by Vice President and Athletics Director Chris Del Conte. [Forty Acres Insider archives]

Longhorn Nation,

Absence makes the heart grow fonder my friends, and I know our hearts and souls are so ready that game week is finally here! Coach Sark and the guys have been putting the pedal to the metal for months, they're looking great, and I can't wait to see the latest edition of our all gas, no brakes Longhorns. As we have our eyes on the prize in our final year in the Big 12, we've got an old Southwest Conference football rival in Rice (2:30 p.m. CT/FOX) to start things off. We can't wait to see y'all pregame on Bevo Blvd, Smokey's Midway, Hook 'Em Hangout and Longhorn City Limits as we rev things up before heading into DKR-TMS to get the party started.

The Forty has been bustling since students and classes commenced a week ago, we had a spectacular welcome back event with our student-athletes last Monday at Moody Center, and believe me, the buzz around our great campus and city is undeniable. We know you're fired up, and that's evident by another all-time record for season ticket sales AND a record pace for student Big Ticket purchases. The fun has arrived, we're ready for some Texas Fight, and I know you are, too! So, get your Longhorn-best laid out ready to go, let's fill the streets around DKR to celebrate as a family, then let's rock the stadium as we cheer our Horns to victory!! Be sure to be decked out in Burnt Orange and White wherever you are on Friday as we show our Texas Spirit on the annual College Colors Day.

And wait, there's more. Saturday's football frenzy is sandwiched between a pair of top-10 matchups for our Volleyball squad, the first tonight at No. 5 Minnesota (7 p.m. CT/Big Ten Network) followed by a big-time matchup in the home opener at The Greg versus No. 2 Stanford on Sunday (11:30 a.m. CT/ESPN2). Soccer takes to the pitch, too, with a Thursday night match against UTRGV (7 p.m. CT/LHN) before hosting SMU on Sunday (5 p.m. CT/LHN). We look forward to seeing you all week and know you'll be bringing the heat, holding those Horns up high, and helping the ladies bring home those victories.

Before we get into the news, notes and updates, I'd be remiss if I didn't send an emphatic Hook 'Em to Lois and Richard Folger for their amazing support. Their $10 million endowment positions us to launch new initiatives and enhance the excellence of Texas Athletics for years to come. I am humbled and honored to proudly represent their name as the first person to hold the position of Lois and Richard Folger Athletics Director. They are an incredible family, and I will work every day to uphold the values and Texas pride and passion they represent so well. The donors and benefactors of our great institution are the absolute best!

Stay Cool and HydratedCaptain Obvious here, but it will be HOT on Saturday afternoon in Austin. With that said, your health, safety and enjoyment are 'priority uno' for our staff. We need you and your guests to please prepare accordingly by hydrating prior, during AND after the game. Texas Athletics has implemented several initiatives to keep you cool and hydrated on Saturday. We have 16 "water monsters" located throughout the stadium for FREE water on gameday. Please ask an usher for assistance in locating the "water monster" nearest to your seat location. All fans are allowed to bring one (1) factory-sealed plastic bottle of water into DKR (up to 1 liter). No other outside beverages or containers are allowed. In addition, we'll have four St. David's HealthCare cooling stations available, and those will be located near Sections 32, 106, 118 and 124 and feature fans, cooling towels and water.

Still need a ticket for Saturday?Although season tickets and 3-game mini plans are sold out for the 2023 football season, a limited number of single-game tickets are still available for our home opener versus Rice on Saturday! Tickets can be purchased online at Fans who wish to receive information about season tickets in future years can fill out a ticket interest form.

Don't forget to download your mobile tickets before you head to DKRFor the fourth straight year, we are using a mobile ticketing system with required entry gates to reduce congestion and wait times. Please take the time this week prior to Saturday morning to download and save your mobile ticket to your smartphone's digital wallet. On gameday, our staff will open the Gate 8 box office at 10:30 a.m. for any mobile ticketing support needs and will follow by opening additional support locations at 12:30 p.m. at Gates 2A, 25 and 32 when all gates open. Click this link to learn how to download, manage, access or transfer your tickets! And a friendly reminder that all transactions at our merchandise and concession locations will again be cashless and contactless. For our fans who don't carry or use credit or debit cards, we'll have cash-to-card kiosks available outside Sections 7, 28 and 114.

Best pregame experience in the nation opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday!All the action Saturday kicks off on the Forty Acres at 10 a.m. with the best pregame experience in the country, including Bevo Blvd presented by H-E-B, Smokey's Midway and Hook 'Em Hangout! You don't want to miss our two signature moments – Bevo XV's arrival at 11:30 a.m. for the Bevo Parade presented by Texas Farm Bureau Insurance, followed by greeting Coach Sark and our team at the Stadium Stampede at 12:15 p.m. This is your chance to give all the Hook 'ems, cheers and yells of support to our players and staff as they head to the locker room to prepare for kickoff.

Over at Smokey's Midway outside the north end of the stadium, you can enjoy free carnival rides, games and all the fare of the Texas State Fair, including the brand-new Uproar Demolition Ride attraction! We'll again have a full slate of activities for you to enjoy on Bevo Blvd, including giant LED screens to enjoy other college football games around the country and our Soccer team will be signing autographs at 1 p.m. across from Gate 5.

Make sure you get to Hook 'Em HangoutIf you're looking for the best food and craft beers, get over to Hook 'Em Hangout outside the northwest corner of the stadium in Winship Circle. There you will find Big Beertha, our giant draft beer truck with 10-plus craft taps, and grab a bite from your choice of over 10 of Austin's finest food trucks. And catch the games under tents with plenty of shade.

Pat Green headlines Longhorn City Limits presented by Still Austin Whiskey Co.The best live music on gamedays returns to the LBJ Lawn with season five of Longhorn City Limits presented by Still Austin Whiskey Co.! And how about this for a season-opening treat? Texas country legend Pat Green will headline the FREE gameday concert with live music beginning at 11 a.m. Green will be joined on the lineup by special guest Gus Clark. This is a show you don't want to miss!

New Dulce Vida Tequila Bar and more grab 'n' go stands highlight concessions upgradesOur partners at 1883 Provisions Co. continue to make upgrades to provide you with the best stadium food and beverage experience all season long! Located inside Gate 32, the new Dulce Vida Tequila Bar joins our featured beverage experience lineup, which includes the Tito's Lounge (Gate 8), Bud Light Back Forty (Gate 25) and Still Austin Terrace Lounge (sixth floor near Section 14). In addition, more grab 'n' go and self-checkout stands have been installed throughout the stadium including multiple locations on the west side's upper deck. Fan First Pricing returns for a sixth season, including 15 items at an average discount of 30% all game long! In addition, fans with premium seating in the Longhorn Lounge will be able to enjoy the new Big Hat Longhorn Lounge located on the sixth floor near Section 19. Visit our full concessions map to get you ready for game day!

Recognizing Derrick Johnson during Saturday's gameMake sure to be in your seats during the first half as we recognize Longhorn legend Derrick Johnson for his upcoming induction into the College Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2023. Johnson (2001-04) was one of the greatest defensive players in Texas Football history and part of an elite group of Longhorns to earn consensus first-team All-America honors multiple times. The Nagurski and Butkus Award winner and NFL first-round draft pick will be the 25th Longhorn inducted into the Hall of Fame in December.

Honoring our Champions at HalftimeYou definitely want to be in your seats at halftime, as we'll get the opportunity to recognize the 2022-23 Texas Longhorns programs that won national championships and Big 12 Conference championships. Our NCAA team champions last year were Volleyball and Women's Outdoor Track and Field, while we claimed TWELVE Big 12 Conference regular season and tournament titles. In addition, all of our female student-athletes will be honored for winning the Women's Capital One Cup for the second consecutive season.

Here's your complete Saturday schedule

For a full list of activities and everything you want to know about all-things gameday, please visit our Football GameDay headquarters page.

Volleyball faces pair of Top-5 opponents this week The reigning National Champions, our No. 7 Volleyball team got the season started last week and split a pair of matches in California. The Longhorns dropped the opener to Long Beach State but bounced back in a big way with a sweep of Loyola Marymount. Madisen Skinner, the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year, will lead Texas into a matchup at No. 5 Minnesota tonight (7 p.m. CT/Big Ten Network). Our ladies then return home for the home opener against No. 2 Stanford on Sunday (11:30 a.m. CT/ESPN2). Before Sunday's match against Stanford, we'll unveil the 2022 National Championship banner at The Greg. It's sure to be a great celebration followed by a epic match between two storied programs!

Soccer scoring goals and notching hat tricks In four matches to begin the season, our No. 9 Soccer team has logged hat tricks from BOTH Trinity Byars and Lexi Missimo en route to a 3-1 record while outscoring its opponents, 17-6. Following Sunday night's 6-0 win over Iona, head coach Angela Kelly and our Longhorns will continue their seven-match homestand with matches against UTRGV, SMU, Stephen F. Austin and Gonzaga. The highly-prolific offense led by Byars and Missimo, who have combined for 11 goals on 28 shots on goal, is ranked sixth in the country in scoring offense and fifth in total goals. Through the first two weeks of the regular season, Texas has already picked up a conference player of the week award (Byars, Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week), two Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week honors (Byars and Missimo) and a College Soccer News National Player of the Week award (Byars). Let's keep finding the back of the net!

Track and Field shines at the World ChampionshipsOur current and former Longhorns certainly rose to the occasion in Budapest over the last few weeks at the World Athletics Championships. Longhorn legend Ryan Crouser took home his second gold medal in the shot put while representing Team USA with an impressive World Championships-record throw of 23.51-meters. Our guy simply does not lose on the big stage! Next up, Tara Davis-Woodhall brought home the silver medal for the Red, White and Blue in the long jump, and Stacey Ann Williams ran the anchor leg for Jamaica in the 4x400 relay for another silver medal.

Julien Alfred represented St. Lucia and continued her historically fast season by reaching the sprints doubles finals. Alfred finished fourth in the 200m and fifth in the 100m. Man was she speedy this year! Rhasdiat Adeleke reached her first Major Championships for Ireland in the 400m and finished just off the podium in fourth. And Leo Neugebauer, the big man from Germany, had the crowd wrapped around his finger in the decathlon. The man keeps setting records and posted the second-best day one in history before finishing fifth overall. That's a whole lot of Burnt Orange in the top-five of the WORLD!

Light the Tower!This week has been deemed "Championship Week," an initiative created from our head coaches retreat to put a spotlight on celebrating team and individual championships from the previous year. In addition to recognizing our champions at halftime during Saturday's football game, we will light the University of Texas Tower in Burnt Orange tonight to commemorate the five individual National Award winners from Texas Athletics during the 2022-23 season. Those five outstanding National Award winners are: Julien Alfred (Women's Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field), Logan Eggleston (Volleyball), Leo Neugebauer (Men's Outdoor Track and Field), Bijan Robinson (Football) and Eliot Spizzirri (Men's Tennis). Throughout this week, Longhorns that won team and individual NCAA Championships as well as Big 12 Conference team titles in 2022-23 will be honored with displays in the Frank Denius Family University of Texas Hall of Fame.

Texas Athletics announces 2023 Hall of Honor ClassWe announced this in mid-August, but it definitely warrants another mention. We're so excited to induct 11 former UT student-athletes into the Texas Athletics Hall of Honor on Friday, Sept. 15. These 11 individuals in the Class of 2023 are truly Longhorn Legends and the best of the best. The ceremony will start at 7 p.m. in the LBJ Auditorium and Conference Center on the UT campus. Tickets are available now for $25 per person. We'll also give the newest members of the Hall a special salute during the Football game versus Wyoming on Saturday, Sept. 16.

We lost a great man and Longhorn Legend with the passing of Bill LittleWe have a heavy heart heading into our football season opener of an iconic figure with the recent passing of Bill Little. Bill was truly an iconic figure in Texas Athletics history, and nobody knew more about the history of Texas Athletics or was more passionate about our Longhorns. He was an incredible man in every way. From the time I came to UT, Bill was always ready and willing to help, share his wisdom and serve as council on so many fronts. He is a Longhorn legend, we will treasure his memory and have all his great stories as reminders of a life well lived. We send our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to his amazing wife, Kim, three children, 10 grandchildren, family, friends and the many he impacted. Bill will be missed but never forgotten, rest in peace my friend. A Celebration of Life service has been set for Sunday, October 1 here on the UT Campus.

Exciting future at the site of the Frank Erwin CenterBig things continue to happen all across our great campus, not just in Athletics. A few weeks ago, our friend and Board of Regents Chairman Kevin Eltife announced what the future will look like at the site of the Frank Erwin Center, and it's truly world-class! Our former basketball arena will be demolished by fall 2024, and we expect groundbreaking for the UT Medical Center in 2026. This medical district will start with two new hospital towers – The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and a UT Austin specialty hospital. Just another great example of "What starts here changes the world" and why we're all so blessed to be a part of this incredible university.

Check out the debut of our "Between the Horns" podcastWe're fired up to be diving into the podcast space with "Between the Horns" launching on Wednesday. Hosted by UT senior finance major Akhilash "AK" Parimeru and junior journalism major Payton Wilson, our podcast aims to tell the story of our student-athletes, coaches and staff in a new way. Episode one features Soccer star Trinity Byars and will be available on our Texas Longhorns YouTube channel and wherever you get your podcasts.

Hook 'Em Horns,Chris Del Conte

P.S. - Goosebumps. Can't wait for Saturday!

P.S. – As good as it gets!

P.S. – The chemistry between Trinity and Lexi is off the chart!

P.S. – We see you Eliot!

P.S. – Well said, Scottie!


Video: Steve Sarkisian press conference (Aug. 28)

No. 11/12 Football preview: Rice

Spizzirri advances to third round of U.S. Open Qualifying

Tickets on sale for Men's Basketball vs. LSU in Toyota Center on Dec. 16

What it means to be a Longhorn: Gia Doonan

Video: Vic Schaefer media availability

Women's Golf adds Director of Operations/Assistant Coach Maddie Luitwieler

Women's Basketball to host UConn in Jimmy V Women's Classic on ABC

UT recommends Chris Del Conte contract extension

Video: Rowing at the Henley

Thankful isn't even the right word: Christian Jones

Alfred & Bizimana named Big 12 Track and Field Scholar-Athletes of the Year

Former Softball All-American Jefferson guides Texas Smoke to WPF Championship

Knifton named Big 12 Rowing Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Spizzirri named Big 12 Men's Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year

What it means to be a Longhorn: Quan Cosby

Stay Cool and HydratedStill need a ticket for Saturday?Don't forget to download your mobile tickets before you head to DKRBest pregame experience in the nation opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday!Make sure you get to Hook 'Em HangoutPat Green headlines Longhorn City Limits presented by Still Austin Whiskey Co.New Dulce Vida Tequila Bar and more grab 'n' go stands highlight concessions upgradesRecognizing Derrick Johnson during Saturday's gameHonoring our Champions at HalftimeHere's your complete Saturday scheduleVolleyball faces pair of Top-5 opponents this week Soccer scoring goals and notching hat tricks Track and Field shines at the World ChampionshipsLight the Tower!Texas Athletics announces 2023 Hall of Honor ClassWe lost a great man and Longhorn Legend with the passing of Bill LittleExciting future at the site of the Frank Erwin CenterCheck out the debut of our "Between the Horns" podcastHEADLINESVideo: Steve Sarkisian press conference (Aug. 28)No. 11/12 Football preview: RiceSpizzirri advances to third round of U.S. Open QualifyingTickets on sale for Men's Basketball vs. LSU in Toyota Center on Dec. 16What it means to be a Longhorn: Gia DoonanVideo: Vic Schaefer media availabilityWomen's Golf adds Director of Operations/Assistant Coach Maddie LuitwielerWomen's Basketball to host UConn in Jimmy V Women's Classic on ABCUT recommends Chris Del Conte contract extensionVideo: Rowing at the HenleyThankful isn't even the right word: Christian JonesAlfred & Bizimana named Big 12 Track and Field Scholar-Athletes of the YearFormer Softball All-American Jefferson guides Texas Smoke to WPF ChampionshipKnifton named Big 12 Rowing Scholar-Athlete of the YearSpizzirri named Big 12 Men's Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the YearWhat it means to be a Longhorn: Quan Cosby