It’s as much a part of CSU as the Ramskeller or Cam the Ram.
It’s just a whole lot bigger.
The giant “A” that adorns the side of the mountain overlooking
Hughes Stadium dates back to 1924, when a group of volunteers
decided to express their pride by painting a giant letter
symbolizing the school’s mascot at the time, the Aggies.
Now, freshmen football players and Sigma Alpha Epsilon
fraternity members maintain this symbol of CSU’s past by repainting
the “A” every year.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the famous letter was repainted in
preparation for this weekend’s home-opening football game against
“The tradition is nice,” said CSU offensive coordinator Dan
Hammerschmidt. “The kids can get a lot out of it.”
Hammerschmidt remembers making the same journey up to the
hilltop when he was a freshman football player at CSU back in
“The whole team unites,” Hammerschmidt said. “They may complain
now, but the seniors remember when they did it. It’s good for the
Bill Woods, director of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, said football team
members help carry the 250 gallons of paint, along with other
painting supplies, up the mountainside. Fraternity members then
come the following day and paint the 450-by-250-foot “A.”
On Wednesday night, following practice, freshmen football
players helped move the paint into place.
“It’s a great tradition,” said Jeff Horinek, a freshman
linebacker from Kansas. “They should keep things like this up.”
Woods said his relationship with head football coach Sonny
Lubick helped sustain the teamwork and tradition between the
fraternity and the football team.
“I knew Sonny before he came here,” Woods said. “We just planned
it out and now one of the coaches always brings the kids up here to
help us out.”
Prior to the fraternity taking letter-repainting responsibility
every year, Woods said the letter sometimes would go a couple years
without being repainted and would fade into the mountain. Now, the
fraternity takes care of the letter so that it is always
Brock Johnson, a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and director of
the painting, said he was happy that he could be a part of painting
“People are grateful for what we do,” Johnson said. “Before it
would only get painted every other year, so, about 17 years ago
(the fraternity) decided to take it on as part of our service to
Johnson said about 30 fraternity members were expected to help
paint the “A,” which would take an entire day. The football players
would help if they could without missing class or practice.
Freshman cornerback Michael Myers said he expected a lot of
work, especially after practice.
“But it’s not as bad as I thought it would be,” Myers said,
laughing with other teammates. He helped move five-gallon buckets
of paint down the steep terrain.
Freshman defensive end Matt Rupp also thinks the tradition is
good for the university.
“Every school has to have traditions,” Rupp said. “This one
seems all right.”
Rupp did have one suggestion to change for next year’s
freshmen-class trip up the mountain.
“Double the workload, make them work harder,” he said with a