E2 | Sunday, May 10, 2020 | lmtonline.com | Laredo Morning Times 50th Anniversary By Zach Davis Laredo Morning Times T exas A&M Interna- tional is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and its athletics pro- gram is one of the many areas that has seen tremendous growth over the years. During our first look at the his- tory of TAMIU athletics, LMT chronicled the school’s first pro- grams: men’s and women’s soc- cer, volleyball and cross country. The men’s soccer team is TAMIU’s most successful program in history, and it and cross country have main- stays at the top coached by the lon- gest tenured leaders the school has seen in Claudio Arias (16 seasons) and Benny Rodriguez (13 seasons), respectively. Meanwhile, the wom- en’s soccer and volleyball programs will be guided next year by brand new coaches. All four programs were formed in 2002 or 2003, but this around, we will take a look at some that began a few years later. TAMIU hit the hardwood for the first time during the 2003-04 season with men’s and women’s basketball before men’s and women’s golf, baseball and softball all followed before 2008. And like those previously discussed programs, it’s another mix at the top with head coaches who are either relative newcomers or their pro- gram’s longest-tenured leaders. MEN’S BASKETBALL A year after introducing four fall sports, TAMIU made way for two new major programs over the win- ter and spring seasons of 2003-04 on the hardwood with their men’s and women’s basketball teams. The Dustdevils men’s squad won its first-ever game in dramatic fashion with an 80-78 victory over Monter- rey Tech on Nov. 3, 2003 in front of 1,000 fans – the highest attendance at that point to a TAMIU athletic event in history. Unfortunately, that year’s group struggled as it had to win six of its final nine games just to get double-digit victories at 10- 22. That was the first year under TAMIU’s 50th anniversary History of TAMIU athletics (Part 2 of 2) Courtesy of TAMIU TAMIU men’s basketball celebrates its 2013-14 Heartland Conference championship in Arkansas, one of five head coach Bryan Weakley, left, was a part of.