The ever-expanding athletic department at Texas A&M-Texarkana is about to get even larger.

The university has announced a significant contribution from the Texarkana Fastpitch Softball Association that will enable the university to begin a softball program by fall 2017.

“The sport of softball has a rich tradition in Texarkana and the four-state region,” said A&M-Texarkana President Dr. Emily Cutrer. “I am pleased to announce that the Texarkana Fastpitch Softball Association is making several gifts to the Eagles Athletics program that will help to carry on this tradition of excellence in softball and will fast-track the addition of a softball team to our outstanding lineup of college sports.”

The gifts are as follows:

  • A $10,000 donation in honor and in memory of Shelby Howard, a Texarkana softball standout who died at age 11 in 2003, that will provide much-needed scholarships for A&M-Texarkana softball athletes;
  • An $18,000 donation to establish an endowed scholarship, which will support softball athletes at Texas A&M University-Texarkana in perpetuity; and
  • A significant gift of equipment and sporting goods that will provide a tremendous amount of cost savings to the new Eagles Athletics program.

“We are so very grateful for the generous support of the Texarkana Fastpitch Softball Association in providing our student-athletes and program with these opportunities,” Dr. Cutrer said, adding that A&M-Texarkana looks forward to expanding the presence of softball in Texarkana and the surrounding region.

“We experienced so many memories -- both on and off the field, when it came time for us to determine what type of legacy we wanted to leave for the community, A&M-Texarkana made the decision easy for us,” said Lisa Belote with the Texarkana Fastpitch Softball Association.

“We watched how successful the university had been in launching five other sports. And we wanted to help provide an opportunity for students from our area and throughout the nation to play collegiate softball right here in Texarkana. We could not think of anything more exciting than to be a part of something new that has such great potential for our community.”

Athletics Director Michael Galvan said the university will begin a national search for a softball coach immediately. Upon hiring a coach, additional information about the program, player recruitment and scheduling will be available.

The Eagles softball team will play at Spring Lake Park in Texarkana, Texas, which also serves as home of the year-old Eagles baseball program.

A new member of the Red River Athletics Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, A&M-Texarkana began its intercollegiate athletics program in 2014 with women's soccer and men's and women's tennis. The university added baseball in 2015 and men’s soccer this fall. Prior to this fall, the Eagles competed in the NAIA's Association of Independent Institutions.

For more information about Eagles Athletics, contact Athletics Director Michael Galvan at Michael.Galvan@tamut.edu or (903) 223-3013.