Note: As many of you know, former Head Coach Guy Morriss passed away today. Russ and I send our thoughts, prayers, and condolences to Coach Mo’s family. In many ways, if he had not encouraged me over a decade ago, this site might not even exist. We will have more on this later. RIP Coach Morriss.
“Let Our Voices Loudly Ringing,
Echo far and near,
Songs of praise thy children singing,
to they memory dear,
Alma Mater, Alma Mater,
Loud her praises ring,
Hail to thee, our Alma Mater,
Hail, all to…..thee?!”
Yeah, I hate it too.
Thee?! I know our school has some strange traditions but this is not one of them.
As we move into the Division I era of athletics at Texas A&M-Commerce, there have been some changes for sure. However, the biggest change came in 1996 when our school joined the Texas A&M University System. We were no longer East Texas State University. We became Texas A&M-University-Commerce. It could have been handled better, but when you have people who are looking for change for the sake of change, well there becomes issues.
The first thing the TAMUC system did was a slap in the face to all East Texas State grads. I remember the letter my Dad got, asking him if he wanted a new diploma that read “Texas A&M University-Commerce” rather than the East Texas State that was on his diploma since May of 1967. That did not go over particularly well.
Then, there was the botching of the name. Tarleton kept their name, West Texas kept theirs, why couldn’t we keep ours? Now, I will say this.
I was born in Dallas but I moved to East Texas when I was 3. I know what East Texas is. Pine Trees, lakes, bottom land, hilly terrain, and a part of the country that is evergreen with trees and grass. Also, culturally East Texas is far and away very different. Commerce, the city, the school, the immediate area, is NOT East Texas. Blackland prairies, ever present north winds, Oak trees, flat topography are all marks of geographic North Texas. East Texas is just 30 minutes away, but then again, you can say the same about towns like Forney, Corsicana, Ennis, Terrell, and Bonham. East of Dallas does not mean East Texas, and by the way, Commerce and Hunt County is considered part of the DFW Metroplex and has been for 60 some odd years, but geography aside, there is importance in a name of a school.
Some people consider Dallas and points eastward to be East Texas. I get that and back when our Alma Mater Dear was founded it was truly, but barely, in East Texas. All the geographic arguments aside, we were named East Texas State and should have done everything to keep that identity. We lobbied to have our name changed to East Texas A&M. Fail. We even countered with Northeast Texas A&M (perfect, right?!) Fail. Daddy A&M just pushes us around and tells us what we can and can’t do.
But one thing we can do, and should do, it change the final line back to the original line. The reason you see me hashtagging #HailET all the time is to get people to realize that is what we did for the first 108 years of existence, and guess what else? When you sit in the section where ET graduates sat, they still sing “Hail, all Hail ET!” to end the song line.
I have used this example, when Texas Tech, who used to be called the Matadors, sings their school song, they get LOUD when they hit that final line of “STRIVE FOR HONOR, EVERMORE, LONG LIVE THE MATADORS!”
But they are not the Matadors anymore, just like we are not East Texas State anymore, but our roots are still East Texas State in the name. They remember where they come from, and so should we.
When Russ and I sing the school song, we still sing “Hail, All Hail ET!” because we love, respect, and revere traditions. With so many of them already under attack or having been changed or people wishing to change them, it’s time to push back and make this change, back to where it should be.
Don’t Mess with our traditions.