By Josh Staph
Texas A&M has rich football and military traditions that extend back to 1872. Dennis Franchione, head coach of the Aggies football squad, sought to bring parts of both traditions together as a team-building exercise. In the summer of 2006, he suggested that his players spend the first week of preseason living together on campus in a former Corps dorm. The players—who were used to spending downtime at their off-campus abodes—agreed, with a few conditions.
To ensure the success of the endeavor, the players wanted to make the living arrangements as diverse as possible. They proposed that older players room with younger ones, and defensive guys live with their offensive counterparts. The team’s final condition stated that Coach Franchione should also give up his comfy home and join the team in the dorm.
The conditions were accepted, and the team piled into Spence Hall at the start of camp. Sophomore QB Stephen McGee saw the effects on his team right away. “We have been in there for about four or five days now,” he said on his blog. “It’s been good. When we go there now, we’re pretty tired, so we hit those rock beds and just go to sleep. Everyone’s been staying with someone they wouldn’t normally—like I’m staying with a guy on the defensive side of the ball, Danny Gorrer. It’s been a great bonding experience for us. We’ve gotten to know a lot of people that we normally wouldn’t see much of outside of the practice fields.”
The Aggies took their strengthened bonds to the field in ’06, winning nine regular-season games—including a victory over arch-rival Texas.