The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M catcher Jackson Appel (20) makes contact with a ball for a double during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Bob Rogers, holding a special edition of The Battalion.
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Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
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Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp announced Monday he will be retiring on June 30, 2025.  A figure notorious in state politics,...

Behind the scenes with Slocum

It can be difficult to see somebody as a person beyond his or her job title. To Aggies, Richard Copeland “R.C.” Slocum is many things – a representative of Aggie pride, the butt of cartoon sketches, the whipping boy of criticism and the head coach of the Texas Aggie football team, but rarely, a person. Somehow, his identity has been lost in the regiment of summer two-a-days and season games.
But beyond being a coach, Slocum has two sons and three granddaughters. His oldest son is a coach within the Texas A&M University System and his youngest son will graduate this December from the College of Agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M.
Slocum looks back at his life and sees himself as a boy who grew up in a poor family. His father was a shift worker at a chemical plant, and his mother stayed at home.
“We were poor, but I didn’t dwell upon being poor,” Slocum said. “I had a fun childhood centered around going to church and hunting with my father.”
He describes his parents as hardworking people who taught him how to appreciate life.
“My parents stressed the philosophy that if you start each day being thankful for all that you had to be thankful for, that you won’t have time to worry about a lot else,” Slocum said. “I try to start each day with a positive attitude, being thankful for all the good things that have come my way – the positive things. And I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the negatives in my life.”
Going to college was a defining moment for him and his family.
“Nobody in my family ever attended college and through football I got a chance,” Slocum said. “I went to college and that was a dramatic event, not only in my life, but in my family’s life. My parents were exposed to college for the first time.”
A physical education major and a social studies minor, Slocum dreamed of becoming a football coach from the beginning.
“The only other thing that I thought about was going to law school,” he said.
Slocum said he considers himself a simple person with complex feelings. He also sees himself as unique and individual. He notes that people tend to place him in a certain category because of his passive appearance.
“I get characterized at times – it’s always amused me – people talk about me being laid back and I don’t think I really am laid back at all,” Slocum said. “I think I would be just the opposite of that … I try to stay in control of myself first of all, but I do have deep feelings and strong feelings and am highly motivated. I’m a borderline workaholic.”
In Slocum’s life, there have been many role models, but the one that was most important was his father.
“I think I learned great lessons from my father – who was really an uneducated man, but in terms of life skills, I think he did a great job,” Slocum said. “Reflecting back on my childhood, the traits of hard work and loyalty and honesty and integrity – I think I got a pretty good dose of those, so he was a great role model.”
When asked what he has tried to teach his children, Slocum brought his answer back to football, the sport that has defined him.
“I tell our players here that it’s great to have goals as a young person,” Slocum said. “Your goal might be to be a top engineer, to be a bank president or whatever, but … if you were to set as your number one goal, ‘I want to be the best person that I can be,’ I would guarantee every one of them a happy life.”
Slocum said many college students are focused on the wrong goals.
“I think far too many college students spend too much time worried about, ‘Where can I go to make a lot of money?’ ” Slocum said. “That will not determine the happiness that they have in their lives. It’s the value system and being a good person-those things will determine the quality of one’s life.”
Slocum doesn’t know what he will do when he is done with coaching.
“I really haven’t spent any time thinking about that at all,” he said. “Right now I enjoy coaching as much or maybe more than I ever have since I don’t have as many distractions as I had during my younger years.”
Slocum is not through at A&M; he still has a mission to accomplish.
“I want A&M to be seen as one of the premier programs in college football with the overall package,” Slocum said. “Not only being able to play and compete at a high level on the field, but to do it in a way that the integrity of the institution and the integrity of the program are things people look at and admire.”
Whether he leaves the field of life winning or losing, to him, there will always be a level of satisfaction.
“I’ve had a challenging, enjoyable, and fun life-it’s been a rewarding experience,” Slocum said.

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