Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the Nov. 22 edition of Park Cities People.
The Silver Spurs, the University of Texas students charged with handling Bevo, allow only one woman to wear their uniform on the sidelines of Longhorns football games. The same goes for the Texas Cowboys, the group that fires Smokey the Cannon after touchdowns.
This season, both of these women happen to be graduates of Highland Park High School.
“At a university with 20,000 girls, that it ended up being us is just kind of crazy,” said Caroline Cooper, who holds the title of Head Sweetheart for the Texas Cowboys.
Liza Yates, the Head Sweetheart for the Silver Spurs, has known Cooper since they were first-graders at Providence Christian School. When they found out last spring that they’d each won their respective elections, it was hard to believe.
“It was so funny when we first realized it,” Yates said, “because we were like, ‘What a coincidence,’ after knowing each other for so long.”
The Silver Spurs and the Cowboys are comprised of male students representing fraternities as well as non-Greek organizations. They and their female auxiliaries, the Sweethearts, act as ambassadors for the university at alumni and community events, and they also support charities. For the Cowboys, it’s the Arc of the Capital Area (formerly the Association for Retarded Citizens of Austin); for the Spurs, it’s the Neighborhood Longhorns Program, an educational initiative with Austin ISD.
“I really loved all the service work they did,” said University Park resident Kristi Hall, who was the Cowboys’ Head Sweetheart in 1983. “It’s a great group of guys, and they were all about representing the University of Texas.”
Cooper, the daughter of Daniel and Heather Cooper of Highland Park, and Yates, the daughter of Brooks and Linda Yates of University Park, are not joined at the hip by any means. Cooper is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, while Yates followed a family tradition by pledging Pi Beta Phi and becoming the chapter president. Cooper is a student in the Business Honors Program, with a second major in finance, while Yates is majoring in advertising.
And, of course, they ended up leading two different groups of Sweethearts.
“In some ways, those are kind of like competitive roles, but we’ve stayed friends,” Cooper said. “It’s been really cool to see how we’ve both done similar things here on campus, while doing them in just a slightly different way.”
Their coincidental elections have been a preview for what awaits Cooper after graduating. She has accepted a position as an associate with Boston Consulting Group, where two of her colleagues will be fellow Providence products Skylar Evans and Cotty Kerridge.
“It’s just a really small world,” she said.