College football is a religion in Texas, and the University of Texas’s  Royal Memorial Stadium is one of the houses of the holy. As soon as they can walk, little Texans dream of playing there, and anyone who’s seen the Longhorns take the field can see why. The atmosphere is exhilarating, especially at late-season games against nationally ranked division rivals, and there’s a good chance that many of the enormous players in burnt orange will soon be playing in the NFL.
The football program has a tradition of excellence, with four national championships, most recently in 2005 led by current NFL star Vince Young, and previously in 1963, 1969, and 1970 under legendary coach Darrel Royal. The Horns’ traditional archrival is Texas A&M , and even when the Aggies are having another sub-par year, the big game—held the day after Thanksgiving alternating between Austin and College Station—is an intense confrontation of strong, scrappy Texans battling for a year’s worth of bragging rights.
No sport will displace football at the top of the food chain in Austin , but the UT men’s basketball team is making a valiant effort to get noticed. They’re steadily succeeding, thanks to coach Rick Barnes’ impressive skills as a leader and recruiter. The team has produced several highly touted NBA recruits, including Kevin Durant, Daniel Gibson, and LaMarcus Aldridge, and has made regular appearances in the top tiers of the NCAA tournament during the past decade.
Although the team’s home, the Frank Erwin Center, doesn’t get as rollicking as Memorial Stadium, more students and residents are starting to fill the seats and provide the energy found in college basketball arenas in other parts of the country.
Also a formidable force on the Erwin Center court is UT’s women’s basketball team, most often referred to as the Lady Longhorns. A longtime powerhouse in women’s collegiate basketball, these Longhorns include some of the best athletes in the sport. Legendary coach Jody Conradt recently retired from the helm, and was replaced by legend-in-the-making Gail Goestenkors.
UT’s baseball program doesn’t get the exposure and recognition it deserves. Despite taking a backseat to the football and basketball programs, baseball at the university has a long tradition of fielding championship teams. In fact, the baseball program is the winningest in college baseball history, and has won more College World Series titles than any other school.
Many of the players, most notably Roger Clemens and Huston Street, have gone on to successful careers in Major League Baseball. Longtime coach Cliff Gustafson (1968–1996) led the team to more than a dozen College World Series appearances, and current coach Augie Garrido has brought the team to two national championships.
The Horns’ home base, Disch-Falk Field, recently received a much-needed upgrade, although the sight of artificial turf and sound of aluminum bats still makes baseball purists cringe slightly.