A new location was found for the $110,000 statue of legendary football coach Gil Steinke, just outside the entrance to Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Dick Watson, the man behind the effort to have the statue made, originally wanted to place the statue in Javelina Stadium, on the campus of TAMUK; but University President Steven Tallant said that as long as he is there, the statue will never be allowed on campus.
So Watson has decided to put it somewhere else.
"We had no other choice but to find a location, so we secured this lot, which is right at the entrance to Texas A&M-Kingsville," Watson said. "12,000 cars pass this intersection every 24 hours, so it might end up being the best location."
Watson, who played for Coach Steinke in 1959 as a wide receiver, has purchased a lot at the intersection of King and University, where he says he will put the statue he had made of his former coach. He said the statue will be up in October.
Dr. Tallant said Watson has every right to put the statue up at the location, but that this controversy has become very time consuming and takes Tallant away from the real business of running the university, and that, he said, is not good for Steinke's legacy.
"He was a groundbreaking man," Tallant said. "He was just a wonderful human being. During the last two months, during this issue, I've had many of the football players who knew him personally remark how this is not what he would be wanting to be remembered for, and that's the controversy. So I find that somewhat sad."
Tallant said he has never even spoken to Dick Watson in his life, and that Watson has never requested to meet with him. Tallant said Watson went ahead and did this thing on his own without ever reaching an agreement with the University, while at the same time putting material on the A&I Alumni website degrading the University, which made it impossible to work with the organization.
The university president said that TAMUK will be honoring Coach Steinke in their own way. There will be something coming, but he was not in a position to talk about any timelines as of now. He said things are still being negotiated, but something is coming down the pike.
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