The freshmen and transfer students at Saturday’s New Student Convocation ceremony all had one thing in common—it’s their first year at Texas State.
Keynote speaker Becky Hammon is the perfect person to talk about firsts, as she’s no stranger to them herself.
After signing with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014, Hammon became the first full-time female assistant coach in NBA history. She’s the first full-time female coach out of North America’s four major professional sports. She’s also the first female head coach in the NBA’s Summer League, winning the championship and proving she’ll be sticking around for awhile.
During her speech at convocation, Hammon spoke to the 112th freshman class to arrive on campus about the tools she’s used to find success in her career.
“The most important thing you can have in your life is character—good character,” Hammon said to the packed audience of over 8,900 attendees.
The audience at the convocation sat wearing maroon shirts that read “Define Yourself.” One of the lessons Hammon spoke on was defining her character and her career.
Hammon turned character into an acronym, using each letter as a descriptor to further break down her success. The components of character she described were courage, habits, accountability, resiliency, authenticity, culture, trustworthiness, effect and respect.
She shared that some of the lessons she’s learned about success have come from her experience with the Spurs, head coach Gregg Popovich and the culture the team creates.
“We highly value culture down in San Antonio,” Hammon said. “We don’t bring in a bad-character guy or a bad teammate into our circle no matter how good of a basketball player he might be. Character counts in our locker room.”
As for some her professional firsts, Hammon explained respect for herself and the people around her has always been a top priority. She shared a story about a media sit-down in which she faced a reporter who relayed one of his colleague’s emails. The colleague expressed disdain for Hammon, saying he believed the Spurs were pulling a publicity stunt and had nothing to learn from her except how to bake chocolate chip cookies.
“I told him to tell that reporter that I make a hell of a chocolate chip cookie,” Hammon said.
The story hit a vein with many students in the crowd.
“I thought the way she responded to that guy was really great and respectable,” said Vanessa Villalobos, English freshman.
Villalobos didn’t know who Hammon was before hearing her speak, but was inspired by her speech and now plans to approach her freshman year differently.
“Her speech really made me think of how I want my freshman year to go,” Villalobos said. “She inspired me to really try hard and make the most of my time here.”