EDINBURG, RGV – UT Rio Grande Valley athletics director Chris King has paid tribute to Rio Grande Guardian writer and UT Pan American professor emeritus Dr. Lino García for his work on the new UT RGV athletics brand image.


García is a celebrated historian on South Texas and informed the mascot committee about the history and traditions of the Vaquero in the region. The Vaquero is the nickname for UT RGV.

Dr. Lino García
Dr. Lino García

“We really relied on historians from the faculty of both UTB and UTPA. I recommend you guys reach out to at least Dr. Lino García. He has got an unbelievable amount of research and information and expertise on the Vaquero. And the history and traditions the Vaquero played here in South Texas,” King said, in conversations with reporters.

García gave this statement to the Rio Grande Guardian:

“I served on the Mascot Committee to determine and recommend the new mascot for UT RGV, giving and supporting the name of ‘Vaqueros’ as the new mascot for the reasons stated below:

“The naming of ‘Vaqueros’ for the UT RGV by the UT-System Board of Regents is certainly very appropriate given the historical significance, long traditions, contributions, and a sense of dignity, respect, for the early ‘Vaqueros’ of early Colonial Spanish Texas that had its beginning on November 6, 1528when a group of Spanish soldiers headed by Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca landed on Texas soil.

“These hardy frontier men brought into this territory the ‘Vaquero’ culture that consisted of rodeos, cattle raising/drives executed by mounted individuals whose life style and activities on the range certainly defined the Texas we know and understand.

“These early  ‘Vaqueros’ via their daily activities in tending to cattle and huge haciendas demonstrated a deep respect, a strong work ethics, strong family values, a deep dedication to their trade, and a sincere devotion to God. What would be more appropriate a mascot for an educational institution whose mission via many future years will be to develop a large group of individuals who can make huge contributions as they become the next generation of Texas’s eminent citizens?”

Another historian who played a major role in selecting the mascot for the Vaquero nickname was Jim Mills, a professor at UTB.

UT RGV officials unveiled their proposed athletic brand images on Friday ahead of a key UT System board of regents meeting in Austin next Thursday.

At the meeting, regents will make a decision on the images, which were developed by a group of students, faculty, staff and alum from both UT Pan American at UT Brownsville, in consultation with historians at both of the universities, focus groups, and national branding experts.

“The athletic branding committee has done a superb job, creating UTRGV’s inaugural athletic image – one that embodies strength, determination, pride and respect,” said UT RGV President Guy Bailey.

The new brand images incorporate the colors of navy blue from UTB, green from UTPA, and burnt orange from UT. UT RGV athletics director King said the orange is a little brighter than UT uses. “There is a bright orange. Student athletes like the bright colors,” King said.

UT RGV Athletics Director Chris King.
UT RGV Athletics Director Chris King.

King, who runs the athletics program at UTPA, said that he was “partial” to the Bronc, the mascot for UTPA. However, he said he realized UT RGV is a new university. “It is a new team, moving forward, we have got to be fair to both universities.”

King said he wants to see the Vaquero depicted as a hero and so the mascot has to have “strength and perseverance.” He also said he was pleased to see the addition of a “spur” to the brand image. He said those participating in the development of the new brand image from UTB and UTPA had been “very vocal” in their opinions. “We got a lot of great feedback,” He said.

Click here to read an op-ed from Dr. García about the history of the Vaquero in South Texas.