Fun facts about East Texas Baptist University


East Texas Baptist University (ETBU) is a private Christian liberal arts university located in Marshall, Texas. Founded in 1912, ETBU has grown to become one of the premier universities in the region, known for its excellent academic programs and its commitment to Christian values. In this blog post, we will take a look at some fun facts about East Texas Baptist University that you may not have known before.

Fun facts about East Texas Baptist University

History and Founding of ETBU

ETBU was founded in 1912 as the College of Marshall, a coeducational institution with a focus on Christian education. The college was originally affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, but it became independent in 1944. In 1984, the college was renamed East Texas Baptist University to reflect its growth and expansion.

Famous Alumni

East Texas Baptist University has produced many notable alumni, including former NFL player and current ESPN analyst Merril Hoge, former Major League Baseball player Mike Jackson, and country music singer Brandon Rhyder. Other notable alumni include church leaders, politicians, educators, and business leaders.

Merril Hoge played football for ETBU from 1983 to 1986, earning All-American honors as a running back. He went on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears before retiring from the NFL in 1994. Hoge is now a prominent analyst for ESPN, providing expert commentary on college football and the NFL.

Mike Jackson played baseball for ETBU from 1983 to 1986, earning All-American honors as a pitcher. He went on to play for several Major League Baseball teams, including the Seattle Mariners, the Texas Rangers, and the Houston Astros. Jackson retired from baseball in 2004 and now works as a pitching coach for the Oakland Athletics.

Brandon Rhyder is a country music singer and songwriter who graduated from ETBU in 1999. He has released several albums and has charted multiple singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Rhyder has been praised for his distinctive voice and his ability to blend traditional country music with rock and roll.

Campus Life

ETBU has a vibrant campus life, with many opportunities for students to get involved in extracurricular activities and clubs. The university has over 50 student organizations, including academic clubs, service organizations, and social clubs.

One of the most popular student organizations at ETBU is the Tiger Cheer Team, which performs at athletic events and other campus activities. The team is made up of both men and women, and they are known for their high-energy performances and their support for the university’s athletic teams.

Another popular student organization is the Student Government Association (SGA), which serves as the voice of the student body and advocates for student interests and concerns. The SGA hosts many events throughout the year, including a fall festival, a spring fling, and a variety of service projects.


ETBU is home to a successful NCAA Division III athletics program, with 15 varsity sports teams. The university is a member of the American Southwest Conference, which includes other Texas universities such as Hardin-Simmons University and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

One of the most successful sports programs at ETBU is the women’s basketball team, which has won six American Southwest Conference championships and has made multiple appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament. The team is known for its high-scoring offense and its aggressive defense, and it has produced several All-American players over the years.

Another successful sports program at ETBU is the men’s and women’s track and field teams, which have won numerous conference championships and have produced several All-American athletes. The teams compete in a variety of events, including sprints, distance races.

Community Outreach

ETBU is committed to serving its local community and beyond through a variety of outreach programs and initiatives. One of the most prominent of these initiatives is the Great Commission Center, which serves as a hub for missions and evangelism efforts both on and off campus.

The Great Commission Center organizes mission trips for students and faculty, both domestically and internationally. In recent years, ETBU has sent teams to places like New York City, Jamaica, and Mexico to serve communities in need and share the love of Christ.

In addition to mission trips, ETBU also partners with local organizations and churches to provide service opportunities for students. These partnerships include organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, and the Salvation Army, among others.

Campus Traditions

ETBU has a number of unique campus traditions that have been passed down through generations of students. One of the most beloved traditions is Tiger Friday, which takes place every Friday during the fall semester.

On Tiger Friday, students and faculty are encouraged to wear ETBU apparel and show their school spirit. The day is also marked by various activities and events, including pep rallies, tailgating parties, and free food for students.

Another popular tradition at ETBU is Tiger Camp, a three-day orientation program for incoming freshmen. The program is designed to help new students acclimate to college life and make new friends, and it includes a variety of activities and events, such as team-building exercises, service projects, and social outings.

Campus Diversity

ETBU is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus, and the university has taken steps to increase the representation of underrepresented groups in its student body and faculty. In recent years, ETBU has launched several initiatives to promote diversity, including the establishment of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the creation of a Diversity Task Force.

ETBU has also established several scholarship programs to support underrepresented students. The university’s Diversity Scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate a commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion, while the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship is awarded to students who embody the values and principles of Dr. King.


In conclusion, East Texas Baptist University is a vibrant and dynamic institution with a rich history and a strong commitment to Christian values. From its famous alumni and successful athletics program to its community outreach efforts and unique campus traditions, ETBU offers students a truly exceptional college experience. Whether you are a prospective student, a current student, or an alumnus of the university, there is always something new and exciting to discover about ETBU.