For over 100 years, the Yell Leaders have embodied the unique Aggie Spirit for which Texas A&M is so well known. The Yell Leaders are comprised of five students that are elected by the student body. They are the official spirit organization of the university and they lead Aggie fans in “yells” during athletic and other university events. Unlike cheerleaders, the Yell Leaders do not perform gymnastic feats. Instead they use a variety of hand signals, called “pass backs”, to direct and intensify the crowd. The Texas Aggie Yell Leaders represent the 12th Man at Aggie athletic events, serve as campus ambassadors to A&M and Aggie Mother’s Clubs across Texas and the U.S., and regularly make appearances at campus-wide events for current, new, and prospective students, former students, campus administrators, visitors, and dignitaries. Midnight Yell Practice has been dubbed a “College Football Bucket List” item and is one of Texas A&M’s most well-known traditions.
When A&M was an all-male military college in 1907, students often invited guests from Texas Women’s University to take the train to College Station and attend Aggie football games. Then as now, only a certain number of guest tickets were available, and these would be handed out based on seniority, so freshmen were rarely able to bring guests to the games.
According to legend, the Aggies were being out-scored so badly during one football game that the ladies were threatening to leave the game due to boredom. To prevent this, the upperclassmen ordered the freshmen, or “fish,” to find a way to entertain their bored guests. The freshmen raided a janitor’s closet and changed into the white coveralls they found there and began leading the crowd in yells from the track area in front of the stands. The freshmen got so much attention from the ladies that it was decided that only upperclassmen would be allowed to participate in this entertainment in the future.
Today, the Texas Aggie Yell Leaders have evolved into a team of five upperclassmen, three seniors and two juniors. Student body elections to choose the Aggie Yell Leaders are held annually, and it is not uncommon for more than twice as many students to vote for yell leader candidates than to vote in the Student Body President elections.
The Yell Leaders attend all home and away football games, all home basketball games, all home volleyball games, all home soccer matches, and post-season football, basketball, and volleyball. They can always be found on the sidelines of the playing field in front of the student section. Additionally, the Yell Leaders can be seen annually at the Texas A&M Coach’s Nights, all new student conferences, all Fish Camp sessions, and numerous campus events hosted by student organizations and university departments.
Chris Wilder ’17
Howdy! I am a junior Computer Science major from Dallas, TX, and a member of the Corps of Cadets and Company H-1. I did not grow up going to Midnight Yell and Aggie games with my family, and it wasn’t until my best friend invited me to go to a Texas A&M football game that I truly fell in love with A&M. As a student, I’ve been involved in MSC Aggie Leaders of Tomorrow, Fish Camp, and the Brotherhood of Christian Aggies. Additionally, getting the opportunity to participate in Texas A&M’s traditions such as Silver Taps, Aggie Muster, The Big Event, Midnight Yell, and others further convinced me that A&M truly is a family.
Steven Lanz ’16
Howdy! I am a senior business finance major from Carrollton, TX. I am a first generation Aggie but the moment I stepped foot on this campus I knew it was home. I fell in love with the Aggie family and the countless traditions. I remember my first midnight yell where I left so excited to stand with the 12th man the next day that I couldn’t go to bed. And I remember standing at Muster to honor the fallen Aggies from the year before. Those two traditions alone can explain why this school means so much to me and why the Aggie family is so amazing, but many more are part of the list of what makes Texas A&M so special.
Zachary Lawrence ’16*
Howdy! I am a senior Psychology major from Shiner, TX, and a member of the Corps of Cadets in Company E-1. I was raised in a family of Aggies, and my family actually dates back to this university’s beginnings. My great-great grandfather became the first student to enroll at Texas A&M. I was blessed to grow up hearing stories about the different eras of the school’s history and felt a love for this school long before I had even seen it. I joined the Corps of Cadets as a member of E-1 like my father and brother before me. Through the Corps I have made some of my best friends, and learned more about leadership than I thought possible. All of these amazing experiences have affirmed my belief that Texas A&M is the greatest university in the world.
*Head Yell Leader
Ben Ritchie ’16
Howdy! I am a senior Sports Conditioning major from New Braunfels, TX, and a member of the Corps of Cadets, in Company D-2. The most important thing about me is my relationship with Jesus Christ, everything else comes second. I honestly wouldn’t be here without Him! I live my life not for myself, but His purposes, I definitely don’t do it perfectly but I do my best. I ended up joining the Corps at my New Student Conference, and it was one of the best decisions that I have made in College. Being a part of the oldest tradition on this campus is second to none. I have fallen in love with Texas A&M and the amazing men and women that go here. I’m blessed to be surrounded by an amazing crowd of people.
Will Alders ’17
Howdy! I am a junior Animal Science major from Nacogdoches, TX, and a member of the Corps of Cadets and Squadron 17. I am a third generation Aggie with 2 grandfathers, my parents, and two brothers who have attended or are currently attending A&M. I have 9 siblings with 3 brothers and 6 sisters, all of which I love deeply. However, what I hold most dear is my faith and salvation I have in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As a student, I have had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of numerous campus organizations including the Freshman Leadership Organization – Fish Aides, SGA, Student Senate, Gilbert Leadership Conference, Abbott Family Leadership Conference, and BUILD. All of these experiences have shown me how A&M truly has so much to offer to every student.