Each month, Texas A&M Athletics recognizes a staff member who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to serve the department.
September's Teammate of the Month is Director of Compliance David Batson.
A native of Angleton, Batson graduated from Sam Houston State University in 1989 and after stints at Texas A&M and at the NCAA headquarters, returned to Aggieland in August 1999 to become the Director of Athletic Compliance. He oversees a staff of four, which includes Brad Barnes and Susan Tatum (assistant directors of compliance), and Matt Callaway and Ryne Hillenberg (compliance coordinators). Batson and his team are primarily responsible for maintaining the institution's integrity in the area of athletic compliance, and to assist the athletic department in maintaining athletics as an integral part of education and the athlete as an integral part of the Aggie student body.
"I spoke with every head coach upon my arrival at Texas A&M, and one name consistently rose to the top--David Batson," Athletics Director Eric Hyman said. "David is a star and is well-respected by the coaches and staff. Compliance is one of the most important areas in collegiate athletics, and having some of David's caliber in charge of it makes us all rest easier at night."
Batson and his wife, Shelley, are the proud parents of a daughter, Brynn. You can also hear him in the spring as the color commentator for many Texas A&M softball broadcasts on 12thMan.TV.
Q&A with David Batson
What does it mean to you personally to be recognized by your peers and co-workers as the teammate of the month?
"I was quite surprised by it. It's an honor. It doesn't speak just to my efforts, but the efforts of this compliance office as a whole. It's a team award really, more than anything. I think it shows that our efforts are paying off. We're working hard with the coaches' and the student-athletes' best interests at heart, to get them to the resolution they want-whether it's an interpretation, a waiver, a reinstatement-whatever the case may be. It's so easy to just say 'No' and move on in compliance. But we work hard to try and help the programs do what they want to do within the rules and we'll fight hard to do that."
Talk about the relationships you have with the Athletic Department staff...
"When I first came here, we were actually officed in an entirely different building than the Athletic Department. But when (University) President Ray Bowen came on board, he shifted us to be housed right in the middle of Athletics, in the Koldus Building, to create those relationships, be able to have those hallway conversations and be readily available to the coaches and staff. That really changed the atmosphere and the acceptance of compliance as a whole-that we really are here to help. Being a part of Athletics in that aspect, and then being able to be around the coaches, student-athletes and staff as much as we are over here, that's been very rewarding."
What do you think makes the Texas A&M Athletic Department such a great place to work?
"The environment we work in-being around great coaches, great staff and fantastic student-athletes. The game day experience too-not just at football, which is incredible, but in all sports. That's one of the reasons I came back (after working at the national NCAA office). You miss the game day atmosphere. You miss the interaction with the teams. That's what has been great. Texas A&M is a wonderful place to be-you're competing at the highest level here and you're having success across the board. That makes it so fun. And of course, my wife (Shelley) is from here and played softball here, so that's a great thing too."
Of all the things your team has accomplished over the years, is there one thing you're most proud of?
"I'm most proud of the efforts of our coaches, staff and boosters out there doing things the right way. We do have a rich past-at one point, we were one of the most penalized schools in the country. But after our last case in the early '90s, attention was paid by all our fans, supporters, coaches, administrators, and so on, that we want to do things right. We want to win with integrity, and when we win a championship we don't want it taken away from us. I'm most proud of the efforts of the entire university and all the supporters out there to do it right and win championships. And we've won a lot of championships across the board in many sports. That's what I'm most proud of. That's a credit to my predecessor, Tedi Ellison, and everyone who's worked here in our compliance office."