Byrne discusses facilities - PART 2

In an exclusive interview with Aggie Websider, Bill Byrne continues to discuss the future facilities for Texas A&M athletics. Byrne specifically addresses why track and field is so important to the A&M athletics program in part two of this exclusive series.

Now that the Texas A&M basketball programs have their state-of-the-art facilities on the way, and with plans in the works for renovations to Kyle Field, A&M Director of Athletics says the Anderson Track facility will be in line for renovations ahead of Olsen Field.

"Anderson Track comes ahead of Olsen because we can't use Anderson track," Byrne said in an exclusive interview with Aggie Websider. "We haven't had a track meet here since 2002."

And for once, it has nothing to do with money.

"(Track) doesn't generate any revenue," Byrne said, "there are only two sports that generate revenue and that's football and men's basketball. We lose three million a year in women's basketball. But we're trying to attract athletes to come here and see us, who can run fast throw heavy implements and jump high."

And according to Byrne that means a lot to coaches across campus, not just track and field coach Pat Henry, who has guided the A&M men's track team to the No. 1 ranking in the nation, and the women to the No. 3 spot.

And with 1.5 million athletes across the nation participating in track and field or cross country events—the largets single number of sports participants of any sport in the united states—it's no wonder Byrne wants to give them extra incentive to come to Texas A&M.

"Texas is a track state," Byrne said. "We had about 28,000 people at the Texas Relays for two days and we are not part of that equation and we need to be. That's precisely why we built the indoor track facility. (Right now) all roads lead to the state capital and we needed an event here in College Station to attract youngsters. Track & field was the answer."

Last year, when Byrne made the trip to Baylor for the Big 12 Track and Field Championships, he saw just how much of an impact track programs were having for other teams in the conference, attracting some of the Big 12's top football talent to compete in sprints, discuss and more.

"I saw a lot of kids I've seen in other sports," Byrne said. "The starting tailback at the University of Texas was a sprint champion, their rush end was a discuss champion. The big forward for Oklahoma was a shot put champion. The wide receiver from Iowa State that ran away from us, I think was second place in the 400m hurdles."

In the United States right now 27% of all NCAA athletes compete in track and field or cross country—more than 106,000 athletes. Over 31 percent of female athletes, 39 percent of all minority female athletes and 23 percent of all minority male athletes compete in track and field.

That's why Byrne brought in legendary track coach Pat Henry, and that's why he's bound and determined to complete a state-of-the-art track facility that can be used in state, regional and national competitions that will attract athletes to College Station who may otherwise never set foot on campus.

Aggie Digest Top Stories