About the "R" Association

A Rice Letterwinner

A letterwinner is any individual, male or female, who earns a letter for participation in a varsity sport. In recent years this distinction has been expanded to include individuals who also participated on "Freshman teams" as well as managers, trainers, cheer and dance team members. Honorary members are individuals selected by the "R" Association to receive an "Honorary R" for their long-standing support of Rice University.

What is the "R" Association?

The "R" Association is the permanent group representing and providing support for all Rice University letterwinners.

A Century of the "R" Association
The Beginning

In 1913 several gentlemen led by Howard Fulweiler began the organization known as the "R" Association.

The Stancliff Years

In 1927, Fred Stancliff became the Secretary/Treasurer of the "R" Association, a position he held for 63 years. Fred and his wife Florence are credited for keeping the "R" Association operating through decades of Rice athletics.

A New Direction

In 1999, the "R" Association took a new direction by hiring its first executive director. The "R" Association board selected Don Knodel, a former men's basketball coach at Rice, as its permanent administrator. Under Coach Knodel's direction, the "R" Association mad countless substantial contributions to Rice Athletics and to the Rice University community.


The "R" Association has announced an affiliation agreement with the Rice athletics department. As a result: the Executive Director position is now a full-time staff employee of Rice Athletics, the dues to be active in the group are eliminated, and there is a new  focus to connect, engage, honor and support the Letterwinners of Rice Univeristy.representation.

Central to this overhaul is Letterwinner communication. The improved communication is based around a restructured Letterwinner database, a new e-newsletter, revamped website, and newfound social networking presence. Several other joint projects and programs are also underway to better connect the Letterwinners of Rice University.

While the elimination of the dues will eliminate the “active” and “inactive” distinction of “R” Association members, Lifetime Members will forever be acknowledged of Lifetime Members, and are grandfathered into the “Gray” level of the Owl club to receive those benefits. Letterwinners will still maintain access to the “R” Room on football game days through passes issued by the Executive Director and the Board President.

A Statistical Look

Total Letterwinners
There are roughly 7,000 all-time student-athletes, managers, trainers, cheer and dance team members.

All-Time by Gender
Female Letterwinners: 1,900 (approx. 1,600 living) 27%
Male Letterwinners: 5,100 (approx. 3,400 living) 73%

By Sport or Group
Baseball: 932
Men's Basketball: 477
Women's Basketball: 255
Cheer: 321
Cross Country: 201
Football: 2,082
Golf: 310
Soccer: 120
Men's Swimming: 252
Women's Swimming: 302
Men's Tennis: 290
Women's Tennis: 201
Men's Track & Field: 795
Women's Track & Field: 404
Volleyball: 303
Managers and Trainers: 78

Top Five Letterwinner Academic Majors
Economics 10.9%
Managerial Studies 10.8%
Health & PE 8.8%
Political Science 7.7%
Biology 5.8%

Young Alumni Letterwinners (Since 2003)
Approximately 1,200 Young Alumni, or 24% of total living
Female Young Alumni Letterwinners: 530 or 44%
Male Young Alumni Letterwinners: 670 or 56%

Top Five Regions of Rice Letterwinners
Texas 61.3%
California 7.5%
Colorado 2.7%
International 2.5%
Florida & New York 2.1% each state