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Stallings Back to Work at A&M

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Gene Stallings has returned to Texas A&M, not to patrol the sidelines, but instead, the state and the country as a member of the university system's board of regents.

"I may be the first regent in history to go back to the place that fired me," Stallings said.

When he was coaching, Stallings said he asked for 100 percent effort.

"I think I brought that out in the player and Coach (Paul "Bear") Bryant obviously brought it out in me," Stallings said. "If we can just get that student and that faculty member to do the best he can, I think it will be worthwhile."

Joining Stallings on the board is a fellow member of the A&M class of '57, Lupe Fraga, who is the chairman of an office products company in Houston. Fraga said he will make minority enrollment one of his major talking points. He touted increases in numbers over the years, but said a diversity problem still exists within the system.

"A lot of people have talked about this problem for ages, and it hasn't been solved," Fraga said. "I really think that (Texas A&M) President (Robert) Gates is the first person that I've talked to in the educational system that has attacked it the way it should be."

Also at issue at A&M is the rising cost of college. "We possibly need to get these students more financial aid, but also encourage them to go to college," Fraga said.

And while Stallings said he'd like to see tuition stay as low as possible, he also knows the reality of the situation.

"You've got to pay the professors and administrators and the staff and so forth and so on," said Stallings. "It takes money to run a university. Sometimes, the only thing you can do is raise taxes."

And the pair will dive right into matters at the first board meeting Thursday.