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All Sports Banquet

May 1, 2017

Good Evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. After watching our athletes in competition through the year it’s a pleasure being with all of you tonight as we celebrate another exciting year of Maverick athletics, honor achievement and successes, congratulate our graduating student-athletes and thank all those – students, parents, alumni, friends and supporters – who have helped make this one of the very best athletic programs.

Let me start by thanking Jim, our coaches, and the entire athletics staff.  Could I ask that all of the athletic staff please stand so that we can recognize the wonderful way in which you are building a program that will be second to none, just as the University of Texas at Arlington aims to be one of the very best educational institutions in the nation? Jim, thank you for your leadership, and thank you to all of you for all that you are doing for our student-athletes, the athletic program, and for UTA.

Let me also extend a special welcome to our new volleyball head coach, JT Wenger, and his staff; and our women’s golf team which is now building to full strength and getting ready to play in competition next year.

As we celebrate your achievements this year – individual performances and records, team achievements and championships – it’s a thrill to look back on all that you have accomplished. I won’t go over a list since the records are too numerous. The individuals whom I should mention are many, and all teams deserve special recognition. Lisa and I enjoyed watching you compete. We were thrilled when you won, we bit our nails and sat on the edge of our seats in close games until you pulled through, and we shared your disappointment when we lost. But through it all, both of us were very, very proud of each of you because you gave it your all – win or lose – and you represented UTA with pride, our colors flying high each time you competed.

Excellence has a special meaning for student-athletes at UTA since you are called upon to excel in the classroom and on the fields of competition. You are expected to do well in class, to uphold the highest standards of academic integrity and the highest levels of sportsmanship and accountability while performing at the very highest levels on the fields and courts of competition.

You excelled in class being named All-Americans, winning Academic Honors in the Sun Belt and nationally and you won individual and team championships. This combination of commitment, sportsmanship, intelligence and collaboration makes you role models for your peers, ambassadors for the entire University, and guardians of the proud legacy of Maverick Athletics. I couldn’t be prouder than I am of each of you.

While I’m so proud of all of our student athletes, I’d like to take a moment to recognize our graduating seniors – congratulations on the successful culmination of a journey. You have served as leaders and role models while pursuing excellence as athletes and as students and each of you will leave here with academic accomplishments that will serve you now and every step along your life’s path. Your teams have contributed to building school spirit and pride and you leave the University, and our community, a better place through your being here. As you begin the next chapter of your lives – as UTA alumni – and continue to achieve success throughout your careers and as leaders in your communities, you will continue to advance the University’s reputation. Please stay in touch with your alma mater, get involved in alumni activities, and come back and cheer for your fellow Maverick athletes.

For those returning for one or more seasons after this, I leave you with just one thought: it’s your turn next. You are ready to take on the mantle of leadership, to lead teams to new heights of excellence, and all of us are looking forward to seeing you in action.

Let me end with a quote from one of my favorite authors, Richard Bach – one that drove me when I was a student-athlete years ago: “Heaven is not a place and it is not a time. Heaven is being perfect. And that isn’t flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn’t have limits. Perfect speed, is being there.”

Here’s to that perfect moment in time – on the field of play and in life. Good luck to all of you and remember that we all bleed blue tonight and ever after – Mavericks forever.