When you’re in Texas, college and football are two words that go hand-in-hand. For some of you who attend the games, you might recognize that fandom is carried out not by the cheerleaders, or even the mascot. For Aggies, it’s carried out by the Yell Leaders.
The Yell Leader tradition at Texas A&M University dates back to 1907. For every one of those years, every member of the squad has been male. Now, A&M junior Kaitlyn McCane would like to change that. She’s vying for a spot as the first female yell leader in the school’s history.
“The yell leader is the face of unity at the university,” McCane says. “Its the face of family, the face of the Texas A&M spirit.”
The 20-year-old from North Richland Hills is one of two women running for a spot on the five-member group. But despite the increasing diversity of the candidate pool – Kenny Dao is an Asian-American running for junior Yell Leader – McKane says there are still nay-sayers doubting that a woman could be yell leader.
“I just like to tell people that I think that the Yell Leaders being all men is a ‘happy coincidence’ because I think it leaves room for the interpretation that there can be a woman, and that there will eventually be a female yell leader,” she says.
This is the first year there has been two women running simultaneously. McKane says she appreciates that there’s someone sharing the experience.
“It feels nice, a little bit, to have someone in the same boat, undergoing the same experience as you,” McKane says. “She’s a wonderful person and if she won the position over me, I’d have absolutely no problem supporting her, because I think she’d be a great yell leader.”
Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.