History of Handball at Texas A&M University
Former players are invited to call Ozzie Burke at 979-774-7727 to contribute to this live document.







(In revision)

"Build it and they will come" rings in the memory of most Americans from baseball's Field of Dreams. Yet how true for nearly six decades of handball at Texas A&M University! It all starts with facilities.

Though the exact date is being researched, handball began at the Agriculture & Mechanical College of Texas, as Texas A&M University was known at that time, with the completion of the Little Gym, prior to 1951. The little Gym had 5 courts with a narrow hallway separating a group of three courts positioned side by side and another group of two courts positioned end to end. Spectator viewing was a horizontal slot in the door to each court 1" high by 8" wide at typical eye height! Each group of courts had different non-standard 20" x 20' x 40' dimensions, built of 1" x 6" planks for flooring and walls with chicken wire on the ceiling illuminated by a tin reflector located high up the back wall sprouting a row of light bulbs. It was hot as black asphalt in the summer and a literal ice box come wintertime!

Then the game expanded to Deware Field House (which was the original basketball gym at A&M preceding G. Rollie White Coliseum) about 1965 by a remodeling of the attic space at the top of the building into which 14 courts were built, accessed by a long staircase from the first floor to the third floor gym top. Spectator viewing for 12 courts was a plexiglass window at eye height above the back wall door about 10" high by 3' wide. Gallery space, reached by a steep staircase, was later added for 2 courts on the buildings north end high up the back wall with poor viewing through 1" diamond shaped safety wire. It was a sweat box in the summer and a refrigerator in the winter!

In the 1980's the playing site moved again to the Read Building under the east stands of Kyle Field which had 14 courts until the Kyle Field expansion that began in 2013. The state of the art Student Rec Center, the current site with 14 courts, was completed in 1995.

Tens of thousands of men and women have learned this great game at Texas A&M, and I dare say most are a better person for the valuable lessons of life they learned and/or had reinforced in the court. Though most who donated their time to teach another may never be recognized publically, hopefully they have had the joy of a simple "thank you" from at least one they helped along the way. Countless others have played,  loved, and benefited from the game and though they never attained acclaim they still played for sport...the sheer thrill of competing. Perhaps they're handball's real winners! Only a few have been given the ability who coupled it with much effort and good fortune to excell, becoming that something which the human spirit admires when we witness near perfection. Though we all have a very different experience...the game...is what we love and measure ourselves against athletically and mentally. So enjoy it while you can, for one day all each of us will have are memories!