“R” Association Activities and Projects
Letter Winners Helping Letter Winners
You will be surprised to learn what your “R” Association has done in the last 10-12 years for Letter Winners and for the Student Athletes at Rice University. This summary of “R” Association Activities and Projects is not conclusive. We do not have a complete record of the early years. We did include some early history, however, the summary below is mostly an account of the late 1990’s through January 2011. A yearly account of all “R” Association Activities and Projects will be kept for future reference.
The “R” Association Mission is threefold:
Assist the Athletic Department in support of Intercollegiate Athletics at Rice.
- Rice Football Banquet in 1913. Was an “R” Association event in the ‘70’s (uncertain of discontinuation date).
- Sponsored the “All Sports Banquet” in the 60’s (unsure of start date).
- Construction of the “R” Room initiated in the early ‘70’s under the leadership of George Miner/Fred Stancliff. George Miner’s company completed the project at cost in 1972. Rice letter winners funded the “R” Room with support from the Owl Club.
- Partnered with the Athletic Department to pay $5,000 annually for the Jess Neely-Joe Davis Award for 5 years.
- In 1984, led by Lou Harpold, responded to the Rice Administration questioning the value of Athletics at the University. The winner is clear: we are still competing in Division I Athletics!
- Provided $20,000 contribution to support marketing plan for Rice Athletics in the late 90’s.
- Provided $25,000 to the building of the Cox Fitness Center, 1999 - 2000.
- Provided a representative to the NCAA Certification Committee for college athletic departments in 1998.
- First “R” Association office constructed and furnished, 1999/2000 (~ $24,000 project funded 50/50 by Letter Winner donations and “R” Association dues).
- Hired the Executive Director, Don Knodel, 1999.
- “R” Association meets the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 in the “R” Room. All letter winners are welcome to attend any meetings.
- Annually, provides a representative to the Rice University Athletic Committee (RUAC).
- Initiated, organized, led and funded approximately $21,000 to keep Rice Athletics in the Division I level. Partnered with the Athletic Department and Friends of Rice Athletics (FORA) in 2004 to accomplish this mission.
- Partnered with FORA and the Athletic Department to promote season ticket sales for Football in 2004.
- Donated $200 in 2004 to the Walkathon for Women’s Athletics.
- Contributed $5,000 to help fund a TV documentary to be used to market Rice Athletics in 2004-2005.
- Partnered with the Athletic Department to promote corporate Football ticket sales in 2005.
- Provides Football office use of the “R” Association golf cart (donated to the “R” Association by 12 letter winners at a cost of $2,500).
- Updated the “R” Association database in 2007-2008 at a cost of $50,000 to better communicate with our Members. Jerry Sadler, T ’65, 66, who just passed away, donated his time and $35,000 to the project. The “R” Association funded $15,000.
- Partnered with the Athletic Department, Owl Club and Ticket Services to merge all databases to better serve the Athletic Department in 2007-2008.
- Named the “R” Room at Rice Stadium with official signage on the doors in 2010 ($3,500 donation from Letter Winner).
- Partnered with the Owl Club and Athletic Department, after Hurricane Ike, to restore damaged pictures in the “R” Room and to restore the room in 2010.
- Partnered with the Athletic Department to restore the legendary “Coaches Table” and created a special display room for the table ($500 donation).
- Partnered with Athletic Department to host Rice Stadium's 50th Anniversary in 2000.
- Sponsored marketing and promotion of U of H Football Game in 2003 or 2004 as other organizations did the same for other games.
- Provides transportation via the “R” Association golf cart to seniors and handicapped fans attending the Football Games.
- Sponsors “holes” in various sports’ Golf Tournaments.
- In 2008, the Athletic Department requested that the “R” Association move into the new Trauber Field House with the intent of providing an office comparable the Rice Stadium office. The space never materialized. Relocated to the original office at the stadium (2011) at an approximate $3,000 cost.
- Responsible for the "R" Room, to insure that our athletic traditions and heritage continues. Coaches, athletic directors and administrators all come and go. Your "R" Associatioin is the only constant factor. Letter Winners will be Rice Owls forever!
Honor individual members who have brought honor and distinction to Rice University and the Athletic Program.
- Hall of Fame, Distinguished “R” and Honorary “R” ceremony every other year ($10,000-$12,000 per event).
- Scholar Athlete Banquet, yearly ($7,000 per event).
- All Sports Banquet/Night of the Owl, yearly ($10,000 per event).
- Breakfast for graduating seniors and families, annually, day of graduation ($2,500 per event).
- All Sports Picnic – mixer for football players and the student body. An SAC event, funded by the “R” Association (discontinued early 2000).
- Sponsored the Sports Carnival for several years – mixer for incoming and present Athletes, similar to the All Sports Picnic (discontinued).
- Two - three post graduate scholarships awarded annually to graduating seniors with graduate school goals ($1,500 - $2,000 dependent on “R” Association funds).
- Sponsored Open House for Bobby May’s Retirement Party for $1,300 in 2006.
- Presented Bobby May a retirement gift valued at $8,500, a special donation funded by Letter Winners.
- Recognition of “R” Association Lifetime Members with name on plaques displayed in “R” Room.
- Recognition of Championship Teams with pictures displayed in the “R” Room.
- Honors all graduating Letter Winners with free “R” Association dues for one year.
Provide information and benefits to all active members to increase awareness and encourage support of current Athletes.
- “R” Association Golf Tournament held for 30+ years. (Discontinued 2000; all sports put on individual golf tournaments at present). Executive Director continues to represent the “R” Association at all Athletic Golf Tournaments.
- Letter Winners Day - annual barbecue (preceding a game) for football, men/women's basketball, baseball and spring sports (discontinued early 2000’s).
- Online Directory in 2001 -2002 by Larry Stewart (unsuccessful marketing to members led to its discontinuation in 2005-2006).
- Newsletter, “The Letter Winner” originated in 2000; distributed quarterly.
- Restored/organized 34 + scrapbooks, from early 1900’s - present, available fro viewing in the “R” Association office.
- Admission for two to the “R” Room for the Football Games for active members.
- Certificate of membership and vehicle decals to active members.
- Assisted in organizing reunions of various sports teams.
- Social Function held at the Sam Houston Race Track (1997 or 1998) organized by Bobby Tudor.
- Partnered with Alumni Association on out of town football socials by “comping” the event meal ticket for active members (excellent benefit for out of town Letter Winners).
- Partnered with Alumni Association for several socials for home sporting events on campus.
- Partnered with RUPA on Social Event before Baseball playoff game in 2009.
- Organized Football Letter Winners’ Reunion on night before a game (2004).
- Sponsored “R” Association Social at U of H Football Game, Reliant Stadium, 2004 ($1,500 event, donated by a letter winner).
- “R” Association Website rebuilt and updated, 2008, Don Rather (updating, 2011).
- Assisted Student Athletes in job search, after graduation, with Julie Griswold. Project is now handled under the Student Athletic Development Department. Expanding this benefit for all former Letter Winners. Presently working to improve this benefit.
- Assisted coaches in locating summer jobs and internships for Athletes. This has been moved to the Student Athletic Development Department. Presently working to improve this benefit.
- Work with Julie Griswold in resume writing, interviewing and Career Days with Student Athletes assisted by Letter Winners. We participate in this process under the Student Athletic Development Department.
- Gave “R” Association pins to all graduating Letter Winners in 2008 at a cost of $4,700 donated by Jerry Sadler.
- Rice Sports Management Department conducted an in-depth evaluation of the “R” Association for effectiveness and improvements to help us serve our Members (2010, at an expense of $2,500).
- Hired a firm to locate Letter Winner email addresses, 2010. We had ~400; collected ~400 more; working our way toward 3,800.
- Developed “R” Association brochure in 2001; updating, 2011.
- Job Search section to network ALL Letter Winners with any employment needs on www.rassociation.net, 2011.
- Reunion section to assist Letter Winners with these events on www.rassociation.net, 2011.
Rice letter winners are a very special group comprised of only 3,800 living individuals on this planet. The funding for all these Letter Winner benefits and activities comes from Letter Winners' dues (only $100 per year). These benefits and activities were all provided for us while we were Student Athletes at Rice University. Now it is your turn to step up and do your part to continue the Letter Winners’ traditions.
Will you please become an active member today and pay your dues NOW? Go to www.rasssociation.net and click on Membership, or call Don Knodel, Executive Director, at (713) 348-6915 or email email@example.com for additional information.
Go Owls-Beat Texas!