Lettermen’s Playbook #1
December 10th, 2019 by Cam Fenton
Welcome from the Director
Welcome to Lettermen’s Playbook – a new initiative by the TCU Lettermen’s Association to communicate, in detail, the latest news about the Association. Our hope is to provide you a clear picture of the Association, Board of Directors actions, our efforts to improve our events and assets along with news about you, our members.
Being that this is Playbook #1, we have a lot to cover and this edition is full of updates. Since being named Executive Director last May 30th, I have been working with our Board of Directors and our internal staff at TCU to lay out plans to enhance the benefits of Lettermen’s Association membership and move the Association forward.
The points of focus are:
- Building Membership, especially among our younger lettermen and women letter-winners
- Protecting and improving the Association’s assets, including the TCU Lettermen’s Hall of Fame and Gameday Tailgate
- Increasing visibility and exposure for the Association
- Improved communication with the Board of Directors and the membership
- Initiatives to support our current Student-Athletes through mentoring, career planning and support
- Increased revenue for the Association on an annual basis as well as building the Lettermen’s Legacy Fund.
We need your help. Please pass on this newsletter to any TCU Letterman who you know and encourage them to join the Association.
Our goal is to send out the Lettermen’s Playbook six times yearly. We are looking for story ideas. Send us your photos and stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your continued support!
Lettermen’s Association Adds Current Student-Athlete Letterwinners
As of Monday, August 26th, the TCU Lettermen’s Association now acknowledges and includes all current TCU student-athletes who are awarded letters. We had a great group of TCU Lettermen with us who welcomed the current TCU student-athletes to the Association as they came to pick up their letter awards. Executive Director John Denton addressed the room of our 500+ student-athletes and informed them of the Lettermen’s Association and the community that they have available to them during their time at TCU and beyond.
Hall of Fame Nomination Criteria and Category Addition
During our Fall Lettermen’s Board of Directors Meeting, we discussed the possibility of Hall of Fame modifications and category addition. A motion was presented and passed by the Board to move forward with the updated induction criteria and process.
See below for the updated criteria and process as it stands now:
- The Selection Committee may select up-to five (5) regular nominees, 1 Vintage nominee, and 1 Special Contributor nominee. No more than seven total will be selected.
- A Special Contributor category has been added as of 2019 to include Lettermen and non-Lettermen (coaches, etc.) who have made major contributions to TCU Athletics
- Nominees are judged 50% playing ability at TCU and beyond, 40% Service and Honor to TCU, and 10% Community Service
- A nominee must be in good academic and athletic standing while a student-athlete at TCU
- A nominee must have distinguished himself/herself as an outstanding competitor while at TCU
- National, conference, and university athletic and academic awards won by a nominee will strengthen his or her nomination
- A varsity team that wins an NCAA national championship may be nominated for HOF Consideration
- A nominee does not have to graduate from TCU to be considered, but graduates will have priority.
- Enhanced screening process with background checks
Current Lettermen’s Association members can now submit their nominations for the Class of 2020 by using the following link through January 31, 2020: LINK.
Neeley Partnership and Application Waiver
We are happy to announce our developing partnership across campus including a new one with the TCU Neeley School of Business. If you are thinking of continuing your education studying business and are a member of the Association, look no further than Neeley! Members can now receive an application waiver for the School of Business. Reach out to us at email@example.com or 817-257-4344 and we will be able to provide our members with the waiver code.
Hall of Fame Weekend
On the 19th of September, the Lettermen’s Association inducted its 52nd Class into the TCU Lettermen’s Hall of Fame: Shannon Brazzell (‘00 Football), Tony Jeffery (‘87 Football), Jill Sutton-Dodd (‘02 Women’s Basketball), Brooke Tulll (‘05 Women’s Golf), and Phil Turner (‘74 Baseball).
It was a remarkable weekend starting with “Mr. Cowboy” himself, Bob Lilly, opening up our Induction Ceremony and welcoming the newest Hall of Famers to the club of immortals. We continued the fun on Friday with our Golf Outing at Hawk’s Creek Golf Club and Happy Hour at Rogers Roundhouse. We finished off the weekend with the Class of 2019 and past inductees coming to the field during the TCU vs. SMU Football game to be recognized and honored.
Once again, congratulations to Brooke, Jill, Phil, Shannon, and Tony on joining the esteemed TCU Lettermen’s Hall of Fame.Here are some of the new Hall of Fame additions that we introduced in 2019:
- Custom purple Hall of Fame jackets with the Lettermen’s Hall of Fame logo throughout the jacket lining provided by Reveal Suits
- ESPN Radio broadcasting live prior to the banquet from the Brown-Lupton University Union, where the Hall of Fame induction took place
- Prominent medallions for all Dutch Meyer Scholarship recipients who were in attendance
Riff Ram Video Shoot
Thank you to everyone that helped make our appearance in the Riff Ram video shown during the second quarter of the TCU vs. SMU Football game a success. We had over 250 Lettermen and their families show up after Meet the Frogs in late August to film our shining moment. Find the full Riff Ram video at the following link: LINK.
We were happy to collaborate with the Men’s Basketball and Swimming and Diving teams to welcome back all of their alums this fall for their team reunions. We also got the opportunity to reunite and recognize both the 1984 Bluebonnnet Bowl and 1998 Sun Bowl football teams during the TCU vs. West Virginia football game on November 29th. Many memories were re-lived and new ones were created!
TCU-OU Joint Tailgate and Bus Trip
The TCU Lettermen’s Association and Oklahoma’s Varsity O Club joined forces on November 23rd to bring you the first joint tailgate as the Horned Frogs travelled to Norman for our matchup against the Sooners. The Horned Frogs and Sooners battled hard on the field, but pre-game we united with fellow Big 12 letter-winners.
We loaded the bus and made our way up north to Norman, OK to experience their tailgate’s famous burger dog. The hospitality was spectacular, we took a few pictures in their co-branded photobooth, and our Executive Director took the stage with his Varsity O counterpart to thank the group for welcoming the Horned Frogs in and to let them know that we will be returning the favor next year on Halloween when the Sooners come to Fort Worth.
This experience that was originally only available for current Lettermen’s Association members allowed members to secure a great deal for our all-inclusive package (game ticket, tailgate access, and bus trip with beverages) or go with the a la carte option and choose any of the three options that worked for them to join us in Norman.
We will continue to offer and provide exclusive opportunities such as these to our members as a thank you for your continued support.
The legendary Lettermen’s Tailgate pit smoker and pit crew have been serving up BBQ cuisine on football game days since 1998. Although there have been some location adjustments this year that have worked out well for us, the food served continues to be far above standards. This season we moved our Lettermen’s Association tailgate into the main lobby of Schollmaier Arena near the Hall of Fame, and the two-story pit smoker has been moved to the visible north end of Lot 3 (north of Amon G. Carter Stadium).
For $20 you get delicious food, soft drinks or water, a cash bar, and lots of camaraderie. It has been a blast seeing Lettermen from several decades, their families, and friends. Our motto remains Love All Feed All. We will have a plate ready for you! Join us for our final tailgate of the season Friday, November 29th during the TCU vs. West Virginia football game. Kickoff is at 3:15 P.M. and tailgate will open at 11:30 A.M.
Leave a Legacy in 2019 | End of Year Giving
Can you believe we are already in the final month of 2019?! We hope that you have made it a great year. With the end of the year approaching, we want to make sure that you are able to get the most out of your tax deductible giving to the Lettermen’s Association by giving by December 31, 2019 at 11:59 P.M.
There are four tax-deductible ways to give to the TCU Lettermen’s Association:
- Join our membership | CLICK TO JOIN
- Make a gift to the Lettermen’s Association by check or with a credit card by phone
- Support the Lettermen’s Association’s annual initiatives and activities
- Lettermen’s Legacy Endowment Fund | CLICK TO GIVE
- The Lettermen’s Legacy Fund supports four areas:
- TCU Student-Athlete Development Program
- TCU Athletics Capital Projects
- Lettermen’s Association operating budget
- Jane & John Justin Hall of Fame operations budget
- The Lettermen’s Legacy Fund supports four areas:
- Coody and Coaches Classic (enter by mail or by phone)
- Join fellow TCU Lettermen at the 2020 Coody & Coaches Golf Classic on Monday, April 27th at Texas Star. TCU Lettermen will have their own special Lettermen’s Division within the tournament with all 40 entry fees going to support the TCU Lettermen’s Association operating budget. $300 per person includes golf, meals, player gifts and prizes.
Ways to make your gift:
1. Online gift payment for dues and Lettermen’s Legacy Endowment Fund by clicking HERE.
2. Mail check payable to:
TCU Lettermen’s Association
TCU Box 297140
Fort Worth, TX 76129
3. Credit Card by phone: 817-257-7700
Make your end of year gifts to the Lettermen’s Association as we continue to grow the impact and support that we provide for the Lettermen’s Association, TCU student-athletes, and initiatives throughout TCU Athletics.
Leave a Legacy in 2019 today!
TCU Lettermen Feature
Major Chris Wingate
Football Letterman, 2003 Graduate
U.S. Army Officer / UH/HH-60M Blackhawk Pilot
Who is Chris Wingate?
Chris Wingate is a follower of Christ, a husband, a father, an Army officer, and author. That is the Instagram/Twitter blurb if you will.
We will definitely touch on your background as an army officer, but can you touch on Chris Wingate the author for a bit?
Absolutely! I just published my first children’s book, Emma the MEDEVAC Pilot. We read to our kids every night before bedtime and before my fifth deployment, I really wanted my daughter to at least start to understand what I do when I’m deployed. I would often pick up Emma and spin her around and she would laugh over and over again and say, “More? More?.” I began to think, what if whenever she spins, her imagination takes her to wherever I am in the world? The story for Emma the MEDEVAC Pilot was born.
That is the concept behind Emma the MEDEVAC Pilot. The message of the story is that our imagination, memories, and love will always keep us close wherever we are anywhere in the world no matter how great the distance. In the story she becomes my co-pilot on a MEDEVAC mission overseas. One of the cool things about the book is that it’s starting to really resonate with parents and families who are often separated by distance for various professions. It helps our children understand that there is nowhere else in the world we’d rather be than with them, but when we can’t for one reason or another, their imagination can take them to us wherever we are in the world.
For Emma the MEDEVAC Pilot, we are doing a buy one, get one model- for every book purchased we are giving away one copy to the child of a deployed service member. It just came out the first week of November- I am super excited to hopefully help service members stay connected to their children wherever they are in the world. The book can be purchased on Amazon. The hardcover will be available for purchase by Thanksgiving through a variety of outlets.
Can you elaborate on what your current title is and why you serve?
I am a Major and a Medical Service Corps Officer in the United States Army. One aspect of my profession is as a Black Hawk Instructor Pilot. The official title is the Battalion Executive Officer for 2-501 General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB), 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade. My primary focus is to synchronize the Battalion staff and resource the Company Command teams to ensure we are all rowing in the same direction in support of the Battalion and Brigade Commander’s intent for our 530+ Soldier battalion and 2500+ Soldier brigade.
I earned a scholarship for Army ROTC at TCU after my freshman year. I really grew to love the mission and serving. Initially I set out to do the four-year commitment, then transition to the film industry. I ended up loving being around the Soldiers, the leadership side of it, the commitment to America’s call to support and defend at any cost. 16 years and counting, I’m still serving and am right where I’m supposed to be. As a believer, I also stay committed because this is my ministry and God hasn’t released me to do something else yet. My wife and I love the military family, finding ways to invest in and point others to Jesus. One of the greatest things marriages and families need is hope. Growing in leadership, I love the coaching and teaching side of this profession, and the Army Aviation and MEDEVAC mission.
What have been the commonalities between your time playing football at TCU in relation to serving overseas?
It’s a different battlefield than football obviously, but there are a lot of similarities with how you coach players and how you coach and teach soldiers in the military. On the football field and in the film room, the TCU coaches taught us the right plays, schemes, and coverages to prepare us for game-day on the field. They encouraged us to be the best men we could be off the field where we represented the university, our family and our name. In the military, we teach our Soldiers to be leaders, to make sound decisions, take disciplined initiative and never quit to win our Nation’s wars. When Soldiers are off duty, they really aren’t off duty-they always represent the United States, the U.S. Army, their unit, their families, and their last name. At the end of the day character, integrity and commitment to never quit are essential foundations to any success. That’s one reason I continue to do what I do-to continue to coach, mentor and teach our Army’s future leaders.
At TCU I was a walk-on my freshman year. I remember my first week of two-a-days almost quitting. Fortunately, I have an incredibly caring dad, a retired career Army officer (LTC) that reminded me the importance of never quitting and giving my all. I’m so glad I didn’t. I worked my way up and started my last two seasons on special teams primarily and lettered my last two years. That never-quit attitude stuck with me but it didn’t come overnight. This mindset was nurtured overtime and I had an incredible support system that saw something in me and gave me a chance. Early on, my parents and my high school football coach instilled discipline and drive in me. My high school coach recently passed away, was a great man of integrity, discipline, and he instilled that in our team. He taught me the importance of setting goals. He was the winningest coach in Arizona 5A. One of those goals he helped shape was to play football at TCU, to become a starter and a letterman.
Coming to TCU, walking on the team under Coach Franchione, and then playing three seasons under Coach Patterson, Coach Anderson (WR Coach at the time), and Coach Bailiff (DE/Special Teams at the time). They saw potential in me and offered me opportunities to grow. It wasn’t given to me- I had to earn it and kept earning it every day in practice and during every game. I worked hard to show up and make the most of every opportunity and when it didn’t go my way, I did my best to bounce back and focus on the next play. The attention to detail, the discipline, and the drive to never quit with resilience as a team, not an individual, is something that absolutely parallels what we do in the military. That team attitude is part of what helps us continue to win wars and to stay committed to defending our country at any cost.
In the military, I have been fortunate to have some incredible leaders that saw potential and believed in me similar to my parents and coaches in high school and at TCU. They have and continue to entrust me with opportunities, earned through hard work. Those opportunities do not come easy and have to be earned daily to pay forward the incredible trust those leaders have placed in me through the years. I’ve also been fortunate to serve with peers and subordinates alike that have sharpened me and continue to make me better, personally and professionally.
Lastly the incredible diversity inherent in the military and on the football field is part of what makes us great. Everyone, no matter what their background, political affiliation, race, religion or gender are working together, putting aside differences to accomplish a mission because we all believe in a singular goal-to win. On the football field it is to win the game and a championship. In the military it is to win our Nation’s wars. In the fight towards those goals, we find we aren’t too different and those unique differences are what makes us strong.
Your message here truly resonated and you’ve talked about the bonds of your teams on the football field and in the military. There is also this community that you have been actively a part of and you have said that you had a goal of being a letterman earlier. What value has the Lettermen’s Association brought you?
I think when you see a student-athlete, you know you have someone who performs at a high level and in most cases, understands balance better than the average student. I do not say this to alienate the general student population that are not student-athletes. However, I am saying that the amount of commitment that it takes to be a student-athlete and perform at that level, while balancing schoolwork, the weight room, in some cases a job, have a social life, and the kind of commitment that it takes to be a part of a program like TCU, that is a commonality that creates a bond. I consistently saw that with guys who I played with in the trenches. We can come back, chat, catch up, and still have that connection and most of us went professional in something other than football.
It brought me a community that I can count on when I go back for the games. I just returned from Afghanistan, so Baylor was the first game I could make and in some ways, it was like I never left. Some friends sent me care packages while I was deployed-an incredible gift when you are gone. One even sent me two boxes with a bunch of different salsas and chips because I couldn’t get them overseas. Who does that? Incredibly selfless friends. It was even great to come back with my kids and to be a part of the Bleacher Creatures which was so cool because even as a college kid I knew that I one day wanted to be a dad. To come and share that with my kids on the field-that was a wonderful thing.
Lastly, when you come back, you feel like you are a part of the family. From Giselle at the front desk, to Matt Lewis in the office, to Mike Sinquefield in the athletics administration who was the equipment manager when I was playing, it is cool to come back and still feel like you’re a part of the team years later. Although the stadium looks different and the face of the campus looks different, we were all a small part of starting something that helped us get to where we are in the national landscape today. Through my five seasons, we did very well-five bowl games, three conference championships, multiple Top 25 finishes. I wasn’t by any means a guy who was going to play in the NFL, but I was a contributor and coach gave me a chance. I played and kept making the most of that opportunity. The Lettermen’s Association has helped me have a community with a common bond and somehow, that family that was on the football field 15-20 years ago is still connected.
What advice would you want to leave with a current TCU student-athlete or recent grad?
We are all in different seasons of our life so making the most of each season is key. My season at TCU prepared me for the real world. That drive, commitment, and camaraderie that was gained during this season of life will absolutely help in the next chapter if you make the most of the opportunities earned. Don’t just quit because the season hasn’t turned out the exact way you expected. That depth chart will change, that set back, that disappointment will get better once you take a look at yourself and see what you can do different to get a little better every day. The Soldiers and leaders that set themselves apart in the military are the creative free thinkers with the coachable, teachable, positive attitudes and those that understand balance, discipline, drive, and the importance of always being rooted in character. That’s not too different than being a successful student-athlete.
The people that I am directly responsible for in the military know that my primary values are character, candor, and competence. Character being who you are when no one else is watching. Candor is the ability to speak up and be a part of the solution, coming up with recommendations for success of the organization as a whole. Lastly, competence is being a good steward of the profession we are working in and giving our all, constantly raising the standard for the good of the team. Student-athletes are the most visible ambassadors and representation of TCU, the sport you are a part of, your family, and your God. At the end of the day the odds are they will most likely go professional in something other than their respective sport of choice. That being the case, it’s important to make the most of this season and never quit.
TCU Student-Athlete Feature
Women’s Soccer, Class of 2021
Why did you choose TCU?
I picked TCU because from the moment I stepped on campus it felt like home. Both the TCU and Fort Worth communities are very friendly and welcoming which made my choice easy.
What is special/different about TCU?
What I think makes TCU special are the people. The students and faculty here are extremely hard working, driven, and so much fun to be around!
What are you looking to do upon graduation or the ending of your TCU soccer career?
Upon graduation I hope to continue my soccer career at the professional level as well as continue playing for the Mexican National team.
Please explain your national team experience.
Being able to represent Mexico at the highest level of competition for soccer is a dream come true! I’ve been lucky enough to play in five FIFA Women’s World Cups as well as win a CONCACAF championship. Hopefully you’ll see me in Tokyo next summer for the Olympics!
What does it mean to you to be a student-athlete at TCU?
Being a student athlete at TCU is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. We have some of the best facilities in the country as well as staff that are dedicated to helping us perform at our optimum level. We also have some of the best fans in college sports! Seeing all the support we get at every game makes putting on a TCU jersey that much more special.
Story: The Lost Ring Reunion
A reunion that was a little bit more non-traditional for the Lettermen’s Association took place on November 20th. We received a call a couple of weeks before from a gentleman who lived in College Station, TX. He happened to be shopping for a backpack at a Sam’s Club in his town and found a nice gold ring in the bag. It happened to be a 1967 TCU Baseball Southwest Conference Championship ring.
The caller could not see any identifying marks on the ring, but we told him that we will do our best to find the owner if he sends it our way. We received the ring a couple of days later and took a close look at the beauty. We noticed on the inside of the ring, the letters CWM were lightly engraved into the gold. Immediately, we checked with our media relations team for the roster from that year and got a few possible names, but one stood out and we knew he had to be the owner: Chuck W. Machemehl.
The mission had begun to reunite Chuck with his prized possession. We looked for phone numbers in our database, but no luck. Social media is such a beautiful thing. We turned to Facebook and searched for the name Machemehl which turned up a few people who we noticed were from Brenham, TX (Chuck’s hometown). We found one person who we were able to find in our database and it was his daughter, Kate Machemehl-Mefford, and she happened to be working as an academic advisor at the John Justin Athletic Center at the time that we gave her the call.
Kate was so excited, thrilled, and emotional that the ring turned up and was returned as it truly was Chuck’s prized possession. After losing a bit of weight, the ring no longer fit as snug on his finger as it once did, which led to the ring sliding off his finger into the bottom of the backpack. We are glad that we were able to reunite the family with the ring and it has made its return back to Brenham, TX into Chuck’s possession.
Chuck was a right-handed pitcher for the Frogs in 1967 and 1968 before being drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1968. Machemehl’s 2nd lowest ERA in school history during his career helped his team secure a spot as co-SWC Champions in 1967 and earned him All-SWC honors in 1968.
The TCU Lettermen’s Association thanks you for your continued support of the Association and TCU Athletics. We are a community. We are a family. TCU is home.