When Liberty University beat Baylor on Sept. 2 their Monday classes were cancelled for celebration. UTSA did not cancel classes Monday following their upset win against Baylor, but make no mistake the San Antonio community is rowdy with pride–‘Runner football’s opening season win energized the campus and the city.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg shared his excitement on Twitter after the ‘Runner victory and sent a shout out to number 55 with the hashtag TauaefaForever. Texas newspaper headlines were littered with UTSA’s win in Waco.
One win isn’t enough to define a program, but it is enough to rally a city behind the winning team. Coach Frank Wilson circulated his “all hands on deck” message on airwaves earlier in the school year. He asked for all members of campus and San Antonio to promote a supportive environment for the football program. “W’s” are the ultimate bargaining tool to accomplish that goal. If the program maintains this momentum, San Antonians will be seeing more orange and blue outside of the Northwest.
What does that mean for UTSA? It’s another jab at our inferior neighbor Texas State, whose football program is more than 100 years our senior and has fewer bowl appearances than UTSA. But more optimistic opinions say it means more.
A relatively young university in a city as large and promising as San Antonio has a lot to gain by distinguishing itself as “San Antonio’s university,” a moniker President Taylor Eighmy attached to UTSA in a KSAT12 interview.
One way to grow with San Antonio is to connect UTSA research with the city via Eighmy’s “urbanomics” approach, a method of fitting UTSA into the way San Antonio operates and thrives as a city. Another is through community engagement in a well marketed and succesful sports program.
An arguable fast track to fame for our university would be to own the football-state reputation Texas boasts. Football generates energy into a community whose common appreciation is for that sport. The Alamodome walls are actually painted orange and blue. With more wins we can expect River Walk banners and Roadrunners on license plates. You can see that kind of investment in Austin and College Station. Why not here?
UTSA stakeholders want San Antonio forever in our corner. A top-notch football program would give us leverage in the bargain. We’re already San Antonio’s university; let’s remind everyone with a winning season.