Robert Vela: From Alice football player to TAMUK president

Posted at 8:54 PM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 14:48:05-04

KINGSVILLE, Texas — New Texas A&M University Kingsville President Robert Vela loved to play sports growing up in Alice. He played football and ran track for the Coyotes before graduating in 1989. He has fond memories from his playing days.

"I still have vivid dreams and I will tear up just thinking about it," said Vela. "I have this vision of putting on my helmet and seeing all the amazing fans, teammates, freshly cut grass, and the bright lights, it's an incredible feeling."

Vela played tight end for the Coyotes and while he did not know it at the time, his athletic playing days would help prepare him to become president of his alma mater.

He says building an effective strategy to help move TAMUK forward is much like preparing to play an opponent.

"I think of having a good sound strategy of how to win a big game," said Vela. "They are faster and bigger than you but coming up with a scheme to win a game is much like leading a university."

Being an alumnus, Vela is well aware of the Javelinas' long and rich tradition in athletics.

Among the many projects, on his agenda is to help improve the TAMUK athletic facilities starting with football.

"We need a new stadium," he said. "We need to get the football stadium up to par with other Lone Star Conference schools. We also need to upgrade the gyms and the other fields too."