New athletic department fundraiser comes home to UTPB

After being away from University of Texas Permian Basin for some years, Leticia Reinke has come home.
Reinke, now director of athletic development, worked at UTPB about 15 years ago. Then-President David Watts hired her to start the continuing education program. Other duties were added, as well.
Prior to returning to UTPB, she was in pharmaceutical sales and had worked at Midland College and the Midland Chamber of Commerce.
A native of San Jon, N.M., Reinke earned a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University in international business and Spanish. She holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from UTPB.
In the newly created position, Reinke raises money for athletics through many different means like endowments, capital campaigns and special events. Her husband, Brian, is the UTPB baseball coach so she has stayed connected through that.
Leticia Reinke is currently working on an event called “An Evening with Astros World Series Champion Evan Gattis.”
“ProPetro is our title sponsor for that. They’re helping us raise scholarship dollars for the baseball team,” Leticia Reinke added.
Gattis, currently an unrestricted free agent, played baseball for UTPB under coach Brian Reinke. The event, to benefit the UTPB baseball program, is scheduled at 7 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Rose Building, 415 N. Grant Ave. Leticia Reinke said Gattis will tell stories and talk about “being where he is.”
“… That’s going to be a fun evening because it’s going to be an alumni weekend,” Leticia Reinke said. “There’s going to be a basketball game going on that weekend, as well — men and women.”
Reinke said Gattis had committed to Texas A&M University out of high school.
“He had some substance abuse issues. He ended up going into rehab instead of going to play his freshman year in college, so then he ended up at a junior college. From that path, he still kept playing prior to coming here. He had been out of baseball for a year and a half, but his step brother was playing here, Drew Kendrick. … Evan called Drew and said, ‘I want to play again. I see you’re having a lot of fun. Do you think your coach would let me come play with you?’ So his stepbrother asked Coach Reinke” and the coach told him to come and they would talk.
Kendrick stayed at UTPB to coach and then went to work in the oilfield, she said.
Reinke said the main part of her job, which she began last summer, is bringing in additional partnerships to the athletic department. She changed the name to partnerships because she wants everybody in the community to feel like they are a partner with UTPB athletics, “not just a sign on the wall.”
“I want them to feel like they’re invested,” Reinke said.
One of her goals is to double the roughly 64 partnerships UTPB has.
“Hopefully, I’ll blow that out of the water and bring in millions of dollars for some buildings,” she said.
She also is raising money for scholarships.
Before her job was created, Reinke said coaches had to raise money for their sport and each sport had to raise money for itself.
Director of Athletics Scott Farmer said Reinke has been a “tremendous asset” to his department in her tenure so far.
“She’s done a great job of organizing and growing the external relations of the department. … This was a new position, so we really didn’t have anybody out there working every single day on corporate sponsorships and those types of things. She comes to work every day. It’s taken a tremendous burden off me and our head coaches,” Farmer said.
Reinke said she has fundraised on a volunteer basis, but never as her job.
“… I can see how the money that somebody gives changes a person’s life,” she said.
Awarding someone a $2,000 or $4,000 scholarship to play a sport for UTPB gives students an opportunity they might not otherwise have to get a degree.
“You just watch them walk on campus. You watch them grow and then when they graduate and they leave, you still get to watch them continue to become the adult and the person that they become. That’s when it’s just wow. That $2,000 scholarship for that one person made this much of a difference because it changed the path of their life. That’s why I can do what I do because I know it totally makes a difference,” Reinke said.
She and her husband have four children together. Reinke started her master’s as a single mother with two small girls.
“I don’t know how I did it, but it can be done,” she said.
Her oldest daughter volunteers for various sports programs. Her next oldest daughter will attend Highlands College in Birmingham, Ala., in the fall. She has two younger children at the UTPB STEM Academy.
“Sometimes it feels like I never left because I’ve always been so much a part of it through the baseball team. We’ve always supported the other sports such as basketball and volleyball. Our family just has always come to all of the games. This is just part of our life. … It’s like coming home,” Reinke said.