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Texas A&M Football

TexAgs Radio: Remembering George H.W. Bush and his love of Texas A&M

December 6, 2018

During Thursday's edition of TexAgs Radio former Aggie quarterback Stephen McGee, A&M coaches Rob Childress, Jo Evans, Billy Kennedy and others joined to share their memories of President George H.W. Bush and his love for Aggieland.

Stephen McGee on George H.W. Bush:
I always thought he (President Bush) was a little bit of a badass. He and Barbara came out to one of our practices and both of them were on segways riding around like it was nothing. I wanted to ride a segway. If President Bush could ride a segway as an older man, so could I. I got to ride one eventually and fell right off. 

Something that always struck me about President Bush and his family is their humility. They're always saying yes to pictures. The letters they write. He could have made it all about him, but he didn't do that.

Tap Bentz on his interactions with the former President and First Lady:
I moved here in 1996 and went to Outback in 1999. President Bush and Barbara were always so cordial and so nice. If you didn't know he was the president, you would never know. We always had to have a table for the secret service five or six tables away, but Mr. and Mrs. Bush didn't want the secret service right next to them. The first time they came in, we placed an extra server to help get people away, but he didn't want that. He welcomed people coming up to talk to him.

Aggie baseball coach Rob Childress:
President Bush is a man that for me, when you're visiting with him, he makes you feel like what you're saying is the most important thing. He had that gift. He was a gentleman's gentleman. 

I just remember maybe four or five opportunities when President Bush came to the baseball field and watched a game. I remember when him and Barbara came down one time and he came down to the dugout and threw the first pitch. The game against Yale, where he played back in the day, was really cool. Probably six or seven years ago there was a baseball symposium at the George Bush Library with Jeff Bagwell, Bob Costas, President Bush, among others. That was a special moment to be at.

It's gotta be a good feeling for the Bush family to fly over and see Aggieland with the “41” cut into the outfield at Olsen Field. I think the reason President Bush connected so well with Texas A&M was because the Bush family stands for the same core values A&M stands for. President Bush stood for our core values and we stand for his.

Aggie softball coach Jo Evans:
We could be in the middle of something intense and President Bush could walk over and ask where I was, and all the players would want to go meet him. He would lighten everyone's spirits. He makes people feel comfortable and he makes you feel like you've been friends with him for a long time. I remember one tine he rolled up on his segway onto the outfield grass. He had a little fanny pack thing on the front and his presidential seal. He told me to ride his segway. I said no, but he persuaded me enough to get on it and I rode it a short distance. Someone fortunately took a photo of it.

I have another memory of President Bush that's fond. We were playing Iowa State. President Bush comes up in the middle of the inning and everyone just stopped and started clapping. Everyone on the field had no idea what was going on. The Iowa State team was blown away. Their pitcher stepped off the mound and their players were standing there watching. You pay homage to this great man. I've always described him as one of the most kind and generous people I've ever known. 

I got here and I remember I would run on the George Bush Library lot that they were just breaking ground on. So much has changed and President Bush had a lot to do with that. Seeing the impact he has made makes us so lucky to have him associated with our university.

Aggie basketball coach Billy Kennedy:
I had dinner with a guy and the first time I ever met him, he kept mentioning President Bush. I didn't know what was going on. He asked me if he cold ever do anything for me, and I told him my wife is a big Barbara Bush fan. I told him that to see if he really knew the President. He called me two weeks later and my wife and I were able to go meet President Bush and the First Lady. It will be something I remember for the rest of my life.

The George Bush Library is an incredible thing to have on campus. When people walk by and see it, they are amazed. It's so amazing to have had President Bush be a part of our university. The impact he had on our university will carry on for a long time.

Former Aggie baseball coach Mark Johnson:
Everyone has a lot of stories, and like many people, I had the privilege to be around President Bush on multiple occasions. Him and Barbara invited my wife and me over one time. We planned ahead of time not to ask for a picture because he gets asked that a lot. There was security outside the door and they get our info. President Bush opened the door and greeted me. I had met him several times, but not my wife. He told my wife and I that he would love to have a picture with us before we did anything. That was just how he was. He knew that everyone wanted a picture with him. He made it very comfortable and easy. I thought I'd just share, He just had an insight to what people were thinking and made people so comfortable. What a sad day it is, but I'm so proud to have been able to spend some time with him.

President Bush came out to practice and we were getting ready for the World Series. I was told someone wanted to come in the locker room. I was with the team before the press. We had no idea it was him that was going to walk in, but he asked if he could speak to the team. He came in and congratulated the team. He always presented himself so casually. There was never a stiffness about him. He was a strong and courageous man, but he didn't present that. Even when he was making big decisions, I'm sure he had a casual and gentle demeanor.

Discussion from...

Remembering George H.W. Bush and his love of Texas A&M

4,884 Views | 8 Replies | Last: 11 mo ago by StickTogetherAgs
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Thanks very much for gathering and sharing these thoughts.

I loved seeing my modern-day Corps buds salute him today along the road to the library. I also greatly enjoyed the band playing the War Hymn while he was being carried from the train to the hearse. It was a great day of international publicity for Texas A&M.

I was shocked to hear Shep Smith say his dad is an Ag, class of 50-something, and how amazing the band was when it marched at halftime at the first A&M - Ole Miss SEC game in Oxford. He called it "A performance for the ages."

May the President R.I.P.
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Loved this, Gabe! The Bushes gave a tremendous gift to Texas A&M by joining our community via locating the Library here. And I believe this gave them the kind of retirement that former Presidents long for where the community they join embraces them, too.
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Thank you.
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Great idea for this article! Loved it. We are so fortunate that President Bush chose Aggieland to dedicate so much of his time and energy to our university. What a gift he gave us.
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Misty in here.

Thank you, Gabe.
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41 = Legendary
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