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RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) golf student-athletes got their first look inside the new Vaqueros Golf Center at Champion Lakes Golf Course on Wednesday, celebrating the completion of the nearly $3 million facility.

The Vaqueros Golf Center includes more than 4,200 square feet of space for locker rooms for the men’s and women’s golf programs, two hitting bays, a study lounge, nutrition station and viewing area, and coaches’ offices.

The Vaqueros Golf Center is a direct result of the partnership between UTRGV Athletics and the City of McAllen that has strengthened over the last few years, including the announcement this past September naming the McAllen Airport the Official Airport of the UTRGV Vaqueros.

What They’re Saying About the Vaqueros Golf Center

“We’re excited for this day to officially open a state-of-the-art and first-class facility in the Vaqueros Golf Center,” UTRGV Vice President and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque said. “There are several people I want to thank, starting with D. Wilson, PBK Sports, UTRGV President Guy Bailey and our leadership team, the City of McAllen and Champion Lakes Golf Course Director of Golf Carlos Espinosa, our coaches, and last but not least, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Facilities and Operations John Evans. We’re in the midst of over $85 million in construction and the proud thing for all of us is that it’s touching every one of our student-athletes and all of our programs, so it makes today even more special knowing that we’re celebrating golf and we can continue to celebrate all of our student-athletes as we give them the tools, the facilities, and the resources they need to compete for championships in the very near future.”

“I’m very grateful and lucky to be the first generation of the new era that the facility brings,” Senior Women’s Golfer Mercedes Vega said. “It’s definitely amazing. We don’t have any excuse and we have the best technology, so now it’s time to work. We all feel pretty excited about this new era. Having this facility is definitely life changing for everybody.”

“It’s a huge. We are always moving forward,” Senior Men’s Golfer Leonardo Novella said. “There are lots of emotions. I’m grateful to be in the Rio Grande Valley and representing the Valley with all these guys. It’s great to see my name on my bag and on my locker and to know I’m representing something.”

“It’s incredible. People ask me if I’m excited, I’m multiple things right now,” UTRGV Head Women’s Golf Coach Bryan Novoa said. “I’m emotional, excited, grateful. I’ve seen the transformation the last six and a half years with the vision of this, the collaborating with the cities, great golf minds, great leading minds. It’s been an incredible journey to finally get to this point. I want to thank our staff at UTRGV, from our accountants to sports medicine and compliance, we’re really thankful for your hard work for us. I want to thank everyone and to thank Chasse Conque especially, I know how much you do for us. I’m feeling ultimate gratitude. Student-athletes, I hope you know how lucky you are to have this place. You’re g oing to have a first-class experience and I can’t wait to get to work.”

“What a transformative day for UTRGV Golf,” UTRGV Head Men’s Golf Coach Houston Moore said. “It’s a big day for us. We’re really excited about what this facility has to offer. It’s a tremendous step forward for our programs. We plan to utilize the facility to its full potential and, hopefully, tap into ours. This building couldn’t happen without a lot of people. Thank you to Carlos Espinosa for being an instrumental part of this from Phase One. The City of McAllen, thank you for being a great partner and letting us have this piece of land. D Wilson, thank you for this and John Evans, thank you for your long days and nights with little sleep. Chasse Conque, almost two years ago this was just a plan on a piece of paper, and now it’s completed. I’m really excited and I’ll make sure our guys and myself are great stewards of this building and we use it the best we can.”

Big Picture

This construction is part of over $85 million in construction projects being completed by UTRGV Athletics to all athletics facilities over the next two and a half years.

These projects are funded by revenue generated by the athletics department through ticket sales, sponsorships, and fundraising. State law forbids UTRGV to use tuition revenue to build or renovate athletic facilities.

Naming Opportunities

Naming opportunities available for the Vaqueros Golf Center, include head coach and assistant coach offices, meeting rooms, locker rooms, and the complex as a whole.

For more information on naming opportunities, contact UTRGV Senior Associate Athletic Director for Advancement and Administration Derek Schramm directly either by phone at (956) 665-3897 or email at

For more information on UTRGV Athletics facilities, visit


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