Walking on takes an individual with special character, confidence, and inner strength . Great attributes needed when walking on in the game of life.
A longhorn home football game in 2005 was dedicated to the victims of a hurricane that devastated the Gulf Coast region. During the start of the game senior Karim Meijer, a special teams player with a 3.9 GPA who as a walk-on earned a football scholarship ran out of the tunnel with a flag given to the team by Nathan Kaspar another walk-on who lettered in 2001.
In Coach Brown’s early years he would say about walk-on’s “We couldn’t practice without them,” “We have a wall, Warrior Wall, and we put a sticker next to the players’ names who had a good week. We do that every Sunday.”
Nathan says “ It is important to know that an athlete who chooses to accept being a walk-on, does so because he wants to play at Texas.” “ He or she will be on the team, they just won't be on scholarship.”
Nathan has only positive memories of walking on at Texas . He says “we had a lot of great guys who walked on” - Mike Ungar, Steve Stigall, Tien Nguyen, Chris Stroup, Brad Hermes, Marcus Walther , and Brad Price. “Nobody in my group of walk-ons ever felt less valued by our coaching staff . Sure, we were told that we had to "know your role", and that was often playing 100+ reps on the scout team on Tuesday and Wednesday practices, on top of all the other drills”.
“Maybe it was our group, maybe it was leadership, but we knew that iron sharpens iron, and we were coached up just as hard on technique and in the weight room as the starters were. We were football players with Longhorns on our helmets, TEXAS on our chest, and doing everything we could to get the team ready to get the W on Saturday...and we earned our reps on game day as well. We did it with pride, knowing they couldn't have a full practice without our work and that we had to give them a D-1 look to be ready for game speed”.
“One of the guys leading those scout teams in my day is now the Head Coach” . “Coach Herman is doing it right”. “He did it right back then too”. “Everyone has their own experience. I'm glad that I had the coaches that I did”.
Nathan Kaspar Remembers Cole Pittman
There is an article written by firstname.lastname@example.org. that deals with a moment in time that a Longhorn was lost too soon. Cole Pittman's whole story is also told in more detail on this website. The Statesman article says that "Cole failed to negotiate a slight bend on U.S. 79. The truck, traveling at a high rate of speed, hit a guardrail, flipped and landed upside down in a creek bed."
Nathan is quoted in the Statesman article as saying "Mack was standing in front of 90 something guys and just told them that they had lost their brother. ….. "A lot of really tough guys were in that room crying like babies”.
"(Coach Brown) told us not to go anywhere alone, and to stay in groups with each other and to take care of each other. We filed out, and most everyone went to Cole's locker. Nobody organized a prayer, but we were all looking at his locker with his picture on it the same as it was a few minutes ago, and we wondered how he could not be walking through that door any second”.
"One teammate was leaning with his head against the wall gently pounding the bricks. ... Others just stood arm in arm in a giant huddle. A few took off, unable to accept what we had been told."
There was a funeral in Shreveport. It was in the same church where Cole had announced his pledge to Texas two years earlier.
Billy Dale said “Nathan please accept my thanks as a former Longhorn student athlete for sharing this locker room moment with all of us. On a personal level I know the sadness in the locker room on that day because in 1969 I shared many tears for my teammate Freddie Steinmark”.