Celebrity sports fans bring a unique feel to college athletics. We all come from somewhere, and whether we’re crazy Tom Brady fans or unstoppable UCF Knights fanatics, fandom rests for nobody. There are some high-profile celebrity fans around the sports world, but no one brings the heat quite like actor Matthew McConaughey.
The 1993 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin loves himself some Texas Longhorns athletics. In fact, one of his first speaking roles was for an Austin-based newspaper advertisement where he said the line, “How else am I gonna keep up with my Horns?” It’s safe to say, Texas burnt orange and white runs in his blood.
Named the school’s “Minister of Culture” for Texas basketball games back in December, McConaughey set out to create “an authentic home court advantage for our Longhorn basketball teams” inside the Frank Erwin Center basketball arena.
Well, the Minister of Culture was out in force last Saturday night.
During Texas’ 75-72 win at home over the Oklahoma Sooners, the Academy Award-winning actor was front and center for the team’s victory. In a tight game midway through the second half, Texas’ newest “assistant coach” marched up and down the bench getting the Longhorns’ men’s basketball team pumped for the huge Big 12 Conference game at hand.
If Texas head coach Shaka Smart isn’t comfortable, the Longhorns may have a new leader before the season is out.
Famous for his unparalleled fandom, the Texas-bred McConaughey is a regular staple at Texas athletic events. From the Longhorns’ 28-21 Sugar Bowl victory over the Georgia Bulldogs to close the 2018 college football season to the college basketball season that follows, nobody loves UT athletics quite like McConaughey, and his journey to get there is far from conventional.
Fresh out of high school, McConaughey traveled to Australia for several months to prepare for life ahead. Before returning, he had landed firmly on attending Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas to pursue a law degree. After realizing that his father, Jim, who played college football for the Kentucky Wildcats and Houston Cougars, wouldn’t be able to afford tuition at SMU, McConaughey decided to travel to Austin in 1989.
It’s safe to say that the larger-than-life actor made the right choice to become a Longhorn. In 2014, McConaughey was given the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the university in front of fellow alumni and members of his Delta Tau Delta fraternity.
He’s so in-tune with his alma mater and the young people who come and go that he was even given the honor of cutting defensive end Breckyn Hager‘s iconic hair after UT defeated Georgia to close their 2018 football season.
With a burnt orange suit and Southern twang in his voice, Matthew McConaughey isn’t just a superstar actor: he’s a real sports fan. Finding a home in the sports world isn’t hard. All it takes a heartfelt commitment to become part of something larger than yourself.
If you’re an Austin local hoping to surpass McConaughey’s fandom, good luck, because this train is slowing down anytime soon.