In light of the first home game, the Texas Tech Alumni Association, hosted it’s first full capacity event exclusive to alumni members and their families which featured food, drinks, raffles and indoor seating to watch the game.
In the last year, the Frazier Alumni Pavillion and the Mckenzie-Merket Alumni Center went through an expansion just before COVID-19 restrictions went into place. Alumni Association President and CEO, Curt Langford, said that they expanded the facility to accommodate the crowd just before they were limited to 25% capacity.
“We've been looking forward to hosting alumni in the pavilion again for, gosh, 12 months, eight months, I guess,” Lanford said. “ I'm very excited, very optimistic because our fans and our alumni, we are a social people, especially within the alumni association.”
Langford said that many of the alumni come to the associations events to connect with others. During the pandemic, members had to RSVP to attend the events and the association was concerned that loyal members would have to be turned away at the door because of the restrictions in place.
Despite the challenges of those restrictions, Langford said that the association was able to find creative ways to keep students and alumni connected with the university such as virtual events and ceremonies.
“Our legacy program actually thrived and prospered because of COVID-19, but it was up to us to look for those opportunities,” Langford said.
Alumni George Mcmahn, said he and his wife are very excited about this year and that even during COVID-19 they attended every game. He said that he invested quite a bit into the expansion and he looks forward to being in the Frazier Pavillion and being able to connect with the alumni again.
“Last year, with COVID, you know, it wasn't good. But this year, it's going to be back to normal and by 5 or 5:30 it's going to be elbow to elbow in here,” Mcmahn said.
Mcmahn and his wife went to Texas Tech in the 60s and he said he believes in Tech because it’s such a strong economic engine between the education, medical and agricultural industries. They have lived in Lubbock for the last 59 years and said what kept them here is the people. Not only can the Mcmahn family be found supporting Tech, but also the local schools and community.
Fourth-year biology major from Coppell, Varshini Suresh, works in the Student Alumni Association and she also said that the friendly culture of Lubbock and Tech is a big part of why she loves it here. For the first time in a year it feels like COVID-19 doesnt exist anymore, she said. With it being her last year as a student she said she feels lucky to be able to have the full gameday experience again as well as connect with alumni in person.
“For me, the biggest thing was kindness. I think that connection, just their kindness and willingness to talk to you and be there. It's still so interesting to meet them (alumni) and hear their stories,” Suresh said.
Langford said that he is a big believer in Matt Wells and that he is a good representation of Tech culture in how he handled last week's game. He said it is good to see that not only are we committed to winning but we are also committed to winning the right way. Last week's game had very few penalties, he said, and that in and of itself is a reflection of the discipline that Wells had implemented into the team.
He said that within the Alumni Association, it’s really about companionship and belonging, and that every gameday is a reunion. People come from around the country to be able to reunite with their peers and celebrate with one another, one family flew down from San Diego, he said.
“One of my goals with the alumni association is to help our people to celebrate our traditions and our stories in a way that a lot of people don't know,” Langford said. “ Texas Tech is a remarkable story that our alumni can be proud of, as well as our students.”