12th Man

On Jan. 2, 1922, the heavily outgunned Aggies were facing the top-ranked Centre College Praying Colonels on the gridiron in the Dixie Classic in Dallas. An Aggie by the name of E. King Gill, a squad player for Texas A&M’s football team, was up in the press box helping reporters identify players on the field below — and what was happening on the field wasn’t pretty.

The Aggies found themselves plagued by injuries, with their reserves seemingly dwindling with every play. As Texas A&M Coach Dana X. Bible looked across his rapidly emptying bench, he suddenly remembered Gill’s presence in the stands. Bible waved Gill down to the sideline and told him to suit up. Gill ran under the bleachers and put on the uniform of injured running back Heine Weir, who had been knocked out of the game in the first quarter.

Gill returned to the sideline, where he stood ready to play for the entirety of the game. When the last play was run, the Aggies found that they had pulled off one of the greatest upsets in college football history, winning the game 22-14.

And Gill remained standing, the only player left on the team’s bench.

Gill’s willingness to serve his team in 1922 has passed down from generation to generation of Aggies for more than nine decades, as Texas A&M’s student section stands together during entire football and basketball games, a symbol of the 12th Man on the team.

The power of the 12th Man is echoed in the unity, the loyalty, and the willingness of Aggies to serve when called to so. And it is the reason that Texas A&M has earned a name that embraces Gill’s simple gesture of service: Home of the 12th Man.

To learn more about the rich history of the 12th Man, visit http://12thMan.tamu.edu/.

Statue of Gill in front of Kyle Field

Did You Know?

In 1980, the graduating class funded a statue of Gill, which is known as The 12th Man statue.

Related Traditions

Aggies Remember

Hands down the loudest and proudest student body in the nation!

- Stephanie Almeter ’08

The first time I stood as a member of the 12th Man, I was very aware that I was upholding a tradition that is unparalleled in sports. No college team can match it and no professional team can duplicate it, no matter how hard they try or how much money they spend to market it. The 12th Man is uniquely A&M because it is a tradition created by one Aggie’s willingness to do his part in supporting the team by standing ready to go into the game if called upon.

- Todd Turner ’92