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Intercollegiate Athletics In South Bexar County Starting With Texas A&M San Antonio

The first athletic director of Texas A&M-San Antonio said the university will offer men and women’s soccer, women’s softball, and men’s golf as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Darnell Smith, officially named as the athletic director on Wednesday, said those are very popular sports at high schools on San Antonio's South Side.

He says Texas A&M-San Antonio may also have a football team one day.

“Maybe down the road we could potentially see football,” Smith said. “Right now, we want to focus on the sports we have.  But you know, I’m not oblivious to the fact it is important.”

Smith said A&M-San Antonio will play in the Red River Conference and work will start soon on organizing game and tournament schedules.

“Once we get into the conference, the Red River Conference, we’re going to be working with the athletic directors and commissioners and be able to set those schedules.  A lot of the schools in the Red River Conference are situated in Texas,” he said.

Schools in the conference include Huston-Tilletson, Louisiana State University-Shreveport and the University of Houston-Victoria.

The introduction of intercollegiate athletics will be a first for South Bexar County, according to a news release from the university.

“Athletics is one of the cornerstones of building intergenerational tradition and cultivating a spirit of community for our students, alumni, faculty, staff and the greater community,” said Cynthia Teniente-Matson, president of A&M-San Antonio.

She said sports programs will help the university grow.

“This is a natural and critical step in A&M-San Antonio’s growth strategy as we enter our second decade as a standalone institution. Athletics positively influences our trajectory as a comprehensive university,” said Teniente-Matson. She cited the broad support from across the legislature, A&M System and Board of Regents and South San Antonio, as well as students.

Smith most recently served ten years as an assistant athletic director at the University of Central Oklahoma.  He also played as a defensive end at the Oklahoma State football team from 2002 to 2006.

He graduated from Taft High School in San Antonio and played as a defensive end on the school’s football team.  During his senior year in 2001, the team was runner up in Texas Class 5A football.

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at Brian@TPR.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.