Audio resurfaces of Dr. E. King Gill telling the 12th Man story
Kerrville, TX – The beginning of Texas A&M’s “12th Man” tradition involved, and was possibly founded as a result of, a legendary figure at Schreiner Institute – later known as Schreiner University.
The story of the “12th Man” is one of legend to the A&M faithful. A recently rediscovered recording of Dr. E. King Gill, the 12th Man, recounting the story at the 1964 campus Muster. The audio became digitalized in Sep 2019 and is available on Soundcloud’s Aggie Network. Although a text version of the speech had existed, now Gill’s exact words — such as the 12th Man — come to life again.
In his speech, Gill says that the story of the 12th Man’s origin picked up steam when E.E. McQuillen, Class of ‘20, provided the tale of the 1922 incident to a radio program. Gill, who lettered in three sports at A&M, had been a substitute football player until Thanksgiving and “… didn’t have the three dollars to get into the game,” so he rode in a cab with the players to the stadium. When he arrived, a sportswriter recognized him as part of the team and asked him to go up in the stands and spot players. After a number of A&M players were injured, Gill was waved back down by A&M Coach Dana Bible. Gill ran under the bleachers and put on the uniform of an injured running back, who had broken his leg and was knocked out of the game in the first quarter.
That injured player’s uniform belonged to Schreiner legend W.C. “Heine” Weir, running back and team captain for the ’22 Aggies.
Weir would later be Schreiner Institute’s head football coach, math teacher and Academic Dean for almost 20 years. A quote by Sam M. Junkin, former Schreiner president, said about Weir, “…a stern man, one who did not rest easy with what he considered ‘nonsense.’ But he was respected and served Schreiner admirably.” This would lead to Schreiner naming the central – and probably most iconic – building on campus after him in the 1960s. The Weir Academic Building.