College Confidential

What it means to be a Longhorn

Vince Young, national championships and the Hook ’em sign are parts of the rich tapestry that is the University of Texas.
Vince Young, national championships and the Hook ’em sign are parts of the rich tapestry that is the University of Texas. Star-Telegram archives

Being a Longhorn means you went to Texas.

And that’s all that needs be said, per Texas alum Michael Warren.

“I always say I went to Texas,” Warren said. “If they give me an inquisitive look, I follow up with ‘THE University of Texas.’”

Yes, it comes with a sense of pride, a sense of achievement, a feeling of excellence and most definitely a tinge of arrogance.

But it also comes with the responsibility of living up to being a Longhorn.

“I grew up thinking UT was the only university to go to, so being a Longhorn to me means I carry the responsibility and pride of being a graduate of the University of Texas and represent the best in higher education and sports,” said Texas graduate Jennifer Little.

Being a Longhorn means...

▪ Bleeding burnt orange: It means The Eyes of Texas. It means Texas Fight. It means championships. Being a Longhorn means “Hook ’em.” Being a Longhorn means Bevo. Being a Longhorn means Big Bertha, the biggest bass drum in the world, and the award-winning Showband of the Southwest. Being a Longhorn means a Burnt Orange Tower.

▪ Arrogance and attitude: Being a Longhorn means going up to Dallas every October to look down on Oklahoma. Being a Longhorn is not about fake army, made-up traditions or all-male cheerleaders. Being a Longhorn is certainly not being little brother and trying to measure up. Being a Longhorn means being the standard by which others are judged.

▪ Championships and achievement: Being a Longhorn means going to one of the top 20 public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. More than 15 undergraduate programs and 40 graduate programs rank in the top 10 nationally. It means 51 national champions in athletics since 1949, 507 conference titles and 2,491 All-Americans.

▪ What Starts here Changes the World: Being a Longhorn means Walter Cronkite came here. Being a Longhorn means Farrah Fawcett, Owen Wilson, Renée Zellweger, Matthew McConaughey and Richard Linklater acted here. Being a Longhorn means bestselling author ReShonda Tate Billingsley collected her thoughts here.

Being a Longhorn means knowing Michael Dell started here. Being a Longhorn means Earl Campbell, Tommy Nobis, Ricky Williams and Vince Young played here.

Being a Longhorn means knowing why Kevin Durant chose to come here.

Being a Longhorn means being Jordan Spieth and going low.

Being a Longhorn is gold-plated with Olympians Sanya Richards-Ross and Mary Lou Retton. Being a Longhorn means that the legends of Tom Landry and Tex Schramm began here well before they became famous Dallas Cowboys.

Being a Longhorn means that Darrell Royal became a legend here.

Being a Longhorn means Vice Admiral William McRaven, a Navy SEAL who planned and coordinated the attack that killed Osama bin Laden. McRaven is now the chancellor of the UT System.

▪ We’re Texas: It means living up to that motto. Being a Longhorn means representing Texas wherever you go. Being a Longhorn means holding your hand high, while extending your index and pinky fingers to form the most recognizable collegiate hand symbol in the world. Being a Longhorn is Texas. It’s big. It’s arrogant. It’s the best.

Warren summed it up: “It’s pride of being a part of a Tier 1 university, the largest in the country, and having an instant bond wherever you see those Horns displayed all over the country and world. Hook ’em Horns!”

Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760

Twitter: @clarencehilljr

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