The Big Yell drew in an enthusiastic crowd Wednesday night at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium
Students gathered at DKR Stadium Wednesday night to ring in a new football season with exercises of classic and new UT Traditions.
Hundreds of students gathered in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium Wednesday evening for the sixth-annual Big Yell, hosted this year by the Texas Exes Spirit and Traditions Council, Texas Athletics Council and Longhorn Network.
Students took in lessons about the histories behind a number of UT Traditions — some old, some more recent — from presenters down on the field and in videos displayed on the stadium’s “Godzilla-tron” screen.
“There’s a myth out there that Bevo took his name on account of being branded by a group of Aggies,” explained UT alum Jim Nicar in a video produced by the Longhorn Network. Nicar routinely researches UT history and is widely considered an authority on it.
What really happened, Nicar explained, is that in the December 1916 issue of the alumni magazine, The Alcalde, editor Ben Dyer stated about the longhorn mascot, “His name is Bevo. Long may he reign!" The four Aggie pranksters didn’t brand the longhorn until February of 1917.
Harley Clark, who was head cheerleader in the 1950s, also appeared in a video in which he explained how the “hook ‘em horns” hand sign came to be — he introduced it at a pep rally before the 1955 football game against Texas Christian University — and how then-Dean of Student Life Arno Nowotny didn’t initially appreciate that the cheerleaders had taken the liberty of establishing an “official” university hand sign without administrators’ authorization.
The program also featured student leaders of Longhorn Band, Orange Jackets, Alpha Phi Omega, Cowboys, Silver Spurs, Spirit and Traditions Council and Texas Cheer, who explained many of the signature traditions, songs and yells that visitors to the stadium can expect to see at any given home game.
“Put a fist up in the air,” cheer captain Trey Harrell instructed the crowd, as hundreds of arms shot up. “Now raise your index finger … now raise your pinky.”
The program ended with a town hall-style question-and-answer event featuring Longhorns head football coach Mack Brown. Several students who had previously submitted questions to Brown via Twitter were selected by Athletics staff to posit their questions to Brown directly. As he was answering questions, Brown reminded audience that the members of the Longhorn team were students just like them and that they needed their fullest enthusiasm throughout the season.
The Big Yell, first held in UT’s Etter-Harbin Alumni Center in 2007, is held annually around the beginning of the fall semester.
The following is a list of The Horn’s favorite takeaways from Big Yell:
- When the "Eyes of Texas" is playing, your “hook ‘em horns” should remain still in the air until the words "Til Gabriel Blows His Horn."
- Bevo XIV is not actually “drugged” during games. He is simply very docile and well-behaved, thanks to excellent training by the Silver Spurs.
- While performing the “hook ‘em horns” sign, the hand should face forward. The middle and ring fingers should together form a small circle while the index and pinky fingers point straight up. Displaying the hand sign upside down is an abomination comparable to enrolling at the University of Oklahoma.
- Longhorn Band is rolling out a few new songs and yells that you can chant along with. (We recommend doing so.)
- Longhorn athletes are students too. You can talk to them in class, say hi on campus and wish them good luck in their games.