Mission Statement

Sam Houston State University is committed to the concept that intercollegiate athletics is an integral part of the university's educational enterprise.

The Department of Athletics recognizes that the athletics program must be supportive of the university's mission, to inspire learning through excellence in teaching, to stimulate creativity, to conduct scholarly research and to direct significant institutional resources to the community it serves.

In keeping with these directives, the Department of Athletics understands that its primary mission is to develop student-athletes as complete individuals and educated citizens who are fully prepared to contribute positively to society.

The Department of Athletics recognizes receives direction from the President of the university in the administration of the athletic program. The Department of Athletics will provide and support cultural diversity and provide for equitable opportunities for minorities and women. The Department of Athletics measures success by its ability to establish programs that support the mission of Sam Houston State University.

Athletics' Strategic Goals and more about SHSU Athletics

SHSU Strength and Conditioning
SHSU Strength and Conditioning

Academic Excellence

The Bearkats are committed to academic excellence. The full- time staff is led by Chris Thompson, Associate Athletic Director of Student Services. The staff provides academic counseling, tutor scheduling, progress reports, and direct communication with faculty and coaches. This is primarily handled in the Learning Enhancement Center located in the Ron Mafridge fieldhouse. Additionally, the staff insures the highest level of academic integrity to ensure scheduled graduations.

Health and Nutrition

Physical, mental and social health & proper nutrition are key factors that assist our athletes in reaching their highest performance goals in competition. Our athletic training staff is led by Mrs. Hope Parker, who supervises a professional staff of 8 certified athletic trainers who work with the 17 NCAA athletic teams on campus. In addition, this department works closely with Huntsville Memorial Hospital, Head Team Physician Jesse Ward, Orthopedist and Dr. John Tanksley, Orthopedist, Dr. Lowell Rollins, PCP, as well as Dustin LeNorman, Sports Medicine Outreach Coordinator at HMH and a variety of other specialty areas are also available to our athletes. These relationships are invaluable to our athletes in order to provide the highest quality of care right here in Huntsville. Student athletes also have the opportunity seek care for non-sport related injury or illness right here on campus at the SH University Health Center. They also provide counseling services and dental care as well to the students enrolled in campus courses.

Strength and Conditioning

Along with health and nutrition, strength and conditioning is a vital part of our student athlete development. Our Strength and conditioning department is headed by Coach Brian Hess. Our program is based on proven principles of physiology and periodization to maximize the athletic potential and protect the health and safety of our student athletes. We aim to produce an environment that is enthusiastic about dedication, discipline and hard work, providing the platform for leaders to emerge and be developed.

Student-Athlete Advisory Committee

A voice to Sam Houston State Athletics administration and a chance for student-athletes to play a role in achieving the Bearkat Lifestyle.

More about the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee

Mentoring and Careers

Mentoring guidance is offered for students by coaches, faculty, older student athletes, and alumni. Here on campus we offer career center that assist with things from resume guidance to mock interviews. Also here there is networking assistance from coaches, faculty, and alumni. Bearkats leave no Bearkat behind.

What is a Bearkat?

Sammy Bearkat

Sam Houston State’s athletic teams have been nicknamed “The Bearkats” since 1923 when the university’s name was changed by the Texas state legislature from Sam Houston Normal Institute to Sam Houston State Teachers College. Prior to 1923, the varsity sports teams were nicknamed “The Normals.” Early refences to the “Bearkats” spelled the name either “Bearcats,” “Bear Cats,” or “Bearkats.”A bearcat is said by some to be a kinkajou, a small, golden, carnivorous mammal that resides in the jungles of South America. More likely, the name came from a popular local saying of the time, “touch as a Bearkat!” Since the animal in the saying was though more mythical than real, the spelling settle upon was “Bearkat.” In the late 1940s, then SHSU President Harmon Lowman attempted to change the Sam Houston mascot from Bearkats to “Ravens” (after General Sam Houston’s Cherokee nickname). Mrs. Vernon Schuder reported that the alumni were polled, she voted for the raven but that “all those old Bearkats beat us out!” The current Sammy Bearkat mascot character began appearing at Sam Houston State sports events in 1959.

SHSU Cheerleaders w/ President Hoyt
SHSU Marching Band, Marching to Bowers Stadium

Bearkat Spirit

Sam Houston Alma Mater

Hail to Sam Houston, School we love best,

Mighty in the battle, True to the test.

Bearkats so loyal, Ever we’ll be.

Orange and white Will lead us to victory!

Hall, Alma Mater Hats off to you,

Ever you’ll find us Loyal and true;

Firm and undaunted Ever we’ll be,

Here’s to the school we love

Here’s a toast to thee.

Sam Houston Fight Song

Fight, Fight, you Bearkats!

Fight on through!

We’re here in back of you!

You know again we’re here to win,

So fight on to the end.

Fight Fight Fight

Loyal we’ll ever be and true to SHSU

We’ll fight and fight with our might

For Sam Houston’s Orange and White

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Deep in the Heart of Texas

The stars at night, are big and bright,

Deep in the heart of Texas,

The prairie sky is wide & high,

Deep in the heart of Texas.

The sage in bloom is like perfume,

Deep in the heart of Texas,

Reminds me of, the one I love,

Deep in the heart of Texas.