Aug 20, 2013
By Michael Eldridge | UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas - UT Arlington celebrated the achievements of current and former athletes Tuesday by awarding 156 student-athletes their letter jackets at the inaugural UTA Letterwinner Association presentation at College Park Center.
Student-athletes that met the criteria based on competiting in a certain percentage in their respective team's events and finished the year in good academic standing were eligible to receive their letter jacket.
"It's building a tradition and culture to build the pride with our kids," UT Arlington Director of Athletics Jim Baker said. "I want them when they leave to know that we took care of them while they were here. I want them to look back with great memories and be proud wherever they end up that they graduated from UT Arlington."
Baker said that he looks forward to a cold winter day when he can see all of the athletes in their letter jackets.
"It makes all of them stand out and bring more attention to them," Baker said. "It shows that they are a student-athlete and it will bring the culture of people caring and coming to games."
UT Arlington President Dr. Vistasp M. Karbhari echoed Baker in that the student-athletes serve as ambassadors on campus.
"The campus community looks up to you and they should," Karbhari said. "You are gifted and walk the straight and narrow to set the example of UTA."
Heading UTA's Letterwinner Association, former women's basketball assistant coach Kris Wood said that he is excited to help develop the tradition that the association is looking to create.
"Our alumni were really strong 10 years ago," Wood said. "So founding the letterman's association and giving these items is an integral part to develop tradition and pride for our athletes moving forward."
Wood said the Letterwinner Association is being built on a four-year plan for the student-athletes. Mavericks will receive a UTA blanket in the second year, a watch in the third and a letterwinner ring after graduation.
Other traditions beginning with the program will be a reception for letterwinners at Homecoming and each sport hosting a reunion around games or matches.
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