Standing Ready

The Golden Era of Texas Aggie Football and the Beginning of the 12th Man Tradition

978-1-64843-050-3 Cloth
6 x 9 x 0 in
136 pp. 13 b&w photos. Appendix. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 12/31/2021


  • Cloth $25.00
Across America in the wake of World War I, college football entered a time of prominence, often referred to as a “Golden Era.” This same period saw the origins of many beloved traditions of Texas A&M: cadets became known as “Aggies;” the “Aggie War Hymn” penned by J. V. “Pinky” Wilson ’21 was officially adopted; maroon and white emerged as the sanctioned college colors. And in 1922, a lanky Dallas athlete named E. King Gill stepped up and agreed to be the “12th Man” at a football game that may have been the greatest ever played. Today, the 12th Man tradition is one of the most cherished parts of A&M heritage.

The 1922 Dixie Classic, precursor to today’s Cotton Bowl, featured a contest between two championship coaches with strong ties to Texas A&M: D. X. Bible, who led the Aggies from 1916 to 1928, and Centre College’s “Uncle Charlie” Moran, who coached at A&M from 1909 to 1914. Historian John A. Adams Jr. ’73 uncovers enthralling details: the pregame conversation between Bible and E. King Gill that helped place Gill in uniform on the sidelines, the wedding celebration involving the Centre College team at the historic Adolphus Hotel the morning before the game, the diagram of the play the Aggies used to score the game-winning touchdown, and so much more. Sports fans and historians, especially those interested in the early days of American football, will savor the rich, previously unknown details surrounding this storied contest between two renowned coaches and their steadfast squads.

Swaim-Paup Sports Series, sponsored by James C. '74 & Debra Parchman Swaim and T. Edgar '74 & Nancy Paup

Published by Texas A&M University Press