It ain’t sexy, but the biggest football stadium in Texas got its name because a plant teacher fenced off some of his research land for the athletics program and forked out $650 of his own money to put up grandstands back in 1904-08ish. The University has stuck with the name ever since.
Of course, Edwin Jackson Kyle went on to have a brilliant career, writing one of the most successful Agricultural textbooks of the day and serving as US Ambassador to Guatemala in the immediate aftermath of World War 2. His family also has a town named after them, so that’s nice too.
With all the massive overhauls and modernizations and almost unimaginable transformations Texas A&M has seen in the past couple of decades, catapulting from state-wide notoriety to a global stage, one refreshing constant has been the lack of opportunism in tampering with the name “Kyle Field.” One name is enough, especially when it’s a good and fine name.
Louisville has also risen rapidly in the past couple of decades, but without the same history as Texas A&M. In doing so, they had to rely on big cash infusions from living benefactors. In short, they flew too close to the sun.
We know relatively little about Edwin Kyle. By all accounts he was an honest and decent man. Just to be extra fair, all men are probably fallible in some small way or another. But there’s an enormous chasm between “fallible” and “being an open racist on a conference call when you are the head of a massive global corporation.” It’s a small comfort, but one we can still take, that the powers that be who are steering the University into these new waters seem to have resisted (thus far anyway) the temptation to slap a new name on the stadium in return for funds from some of the most unstable and loudmouthed people on the planet: billionaires who love being on TV.
Kyle Field is already an icon. Let’s keep the humiliations surrounding it in the vein of 2005 Iowa State, not global financial news.