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Sunday, November 20, 2022

The Texas Aggie's 12th Man tradition -- and its connection to Kerrville's Schreiner University

An early photograph of Schreiner Institute's 'Administration Building.'
Click on any image to enlarge.

Though I was raised to be a Texas Longhorns fan, because both of my parents attended the university in Austin, even I have heard the story of the 12th Man at Texas A&M University.

What I didn’t know was the 12th Man story’s connection to Schreiner University. 

My business neighbors Lee and Don Voelkel, of Voelkel Land Surveying, both Aggies, gave me the scoop.

Here’s the story of the 12th Man tradition at Texas A&M, for those who might not know:

On January 2, 1922, the Aggies were playing the Centre College Praying Colonels. The Colonels was the top-ranked team in the 1921-1922 college football season, and had three All-Americans. They were undefeated, and coached by the Aggies’ former coach, Charley Moran.

During the first half, the Aggie team suffered many injuries. They lost 2 running backs to injuries in the 1st quarter, followed by a fullback, halfback, and even a quarterback. The Aggie coach, Dana X. Bible was running out of players.

E. King Gill, an Aggie student, had been on the A&M team as a backup running back, but had decided to focus on basketball, and so he left the team in the middle of the season. He happened to be at the Aggie-Colonels game, because it was in Dallas, his hometown. One of the sportswriters covering the game, Jinx Tucker, of Waco, saw Gill, and asked him to be a spotter up in the press box. Gill was helping Tucker keep track of the players for his story covering the game.

After losing so many players to injuries, the Aggie coach, Bible, saw Gill up in the press box. He waved Gill down to the sideline. According to legend, Bible told Gill “Boy, it doesn’t look like I’m going to have enough players to finish the game. You may have to go in there and stand around for a while.”

W. C. Weir, in 1941
Gill ran under the bleachers, and put on the uniform of one of the injured players: W. C. “Heine” Weir, an Aggie running back who suffered a broken leg in the first quarter of the game. Gill returned to the sideline, ready to aid the Aggies if needed. Gill was the ‘12th Man.’

The Aggies won the game, 22-14.

Since then, it’s become a tradition for the Aggie student body to stand during football games, ready to join the team if called upon. The entire student body is the symbolic ‘12th Man.’

But what does this have to do with Schreiner University?

If you have ever visited the Schreiner University campus, you will have noticed the tall building in its center. In many ways, that building is one of the symbols of the school.

It was one of the first three buildings constructed for the school. When its cornerstone was dedicated, in 1922, Captain Charles Schreiner was in attendance. Schreiner gave the land and money for the school, and it is named in his honor.

For many years that tall building was known as the Administration Building. In 1970, a new building was constructed on campus, the Tom Murray Building, which became the administrative offices of the school.

The building now known as the
"W. C. Weir Academic Building."
In May, 1970, the trustees of Schreiner Institute chose to honor a long-serving instructor and administrator by renaming the old administration building the “W. C. Weir Academic Building.” William Calvin Weir came to Schreiner Institute in 1937, as athletic director, and became commandant at the school in 1943. He became dean of students in 1948. In 1969, Weir was named administrative dean. For most of those years, Weir was also a professor of mathematics. I’ve always known the tall building as the Weir Building, but didn’t know for whom it was named.

In January, 1922, when the Aggie’s 12th Man, E. King Gill, ran under the bleachers to put on an injured football player’s uniform, he put on the uniform of W. C. “Heine” Weir, a man who spent most of his career guiding students at Kerrville’s Schreiner Institute.

If Dean Weir had not have been injured in that game, it’s possible the tradition of the 12th Man would never have had its start at Texas A&M.

Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who once attended the UT-A&M game. It’s true. The students stand up for the entire game. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times November 19, 2022

You can help by sharing this story with someone, by forwarding it by email, or sharing it on Facebook. Sharing is certainly caring. (Christmas gift idea: I also have two Kerr County history books available online, with free shipping!)


  1. Kerrville has another connection as well. My grandmother Agnes Stacy founder of Camp Mystic was married to D. X. Bible when he was the head coach at Texas following his stint at A&M.

  2. I had never heard the rest of the story! Thank you for sharing this wonderful connection to Kerrville. As a side note, The 12th Man does sit one time during most games and that is when the other team's marching band takes the field at halftime.

  3. Thanks, Joe. I am happy to learn the history of the "12th Man" and especially to know its connection to Schreiner. I'm also happy to learn that football has returned to Schreiner. I spent a lot of time sitting with George Baker (descendant of Sidney Baker) in the band at Schreiner football games in the 1950s. Unfortunately, George passed away September 30. I would have loved telling him this.


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