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A New Year
8:35 A.M. FRIDAY, JAN. 7, 2011
Happy New Year Baylor Nation,

2010 was a great year for Baylor Athletics and I struggled to turn the final page on the calendar last week. We were blessed with incredible success academically, athletically and administratively. It was a special year on many levels: the successful completion of the $95 million Victory With Integrity campaign; men's basketball in the Elite Eight; women's basketball in the Final Four; Baylor's second-highest finish in the Learfield NACDA Directors' Cup (31st); a successful outcome with the Big 12 and Baylor football reaching the Texas Bowl for its first bowl appearance since 1994.

While there is much to celebrate, I believe that the 2011 year holds as much or more promise for Baylor Athletics. Our programs are positioned for success and with the faithful support of Baylor Nation great days are ahead.

This week, the Baylor basketball teams begin Big 12 Conference play. The newly minted No. 1-ranked Lady Bears host Iowa State in the Ferrell Center at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, while the Bears travel to Lubbock for their conference opener against Texas Tech tipping off at 1:00 p.m. on ESPNU. This promises to be one of the most exciting basketball seasons in Baylor history, so we need the Waco community and Baylor family to fill the stands in the Ferrell Center beginning this Saturday at 11 a.m. for the Lady Bears' game vs. Iowa State!

We have received several Ask Ian questions in the past few weeks.

Dear Ian,

More so a comment on your answer to the question last week about either renovating Floyd Casey Stadium or building a new one. With so much available land near Baylor's campus, I believe #1, Baylor should be buying up as much land as they can and #2, build a stadium on or within walking distance of Baylor. This will encourage so many more students to show up.

Also when built, they should factor in making the stadium easily compatible with expanding the stadium as enrollment continues.

Ben Nebergall
Waco, Texas

Ben,

Thank you for the e-mail and comments about a new football stadium. As you point out, there is great rationale and interest among students, staff, alumni and fans for the development of an on-campus stadium. At the same time, it will require a very significant investment of resources and private donor support to make this possible. The momentum of the successful football season and promise for the future are no doubt motivating factors for the key decision makers in this process.

Ian


Ian;

This has been an incredible year so far, and I think we have even better things to come. My question is about the men's basketball program. The first seven games appear to be a very weak schedule other than ASU. Do future schedules amp up the competition? My opinion is a week non-conference schedule hurts you when you get into the competitive Big 12 schedule.

Thanks for all you have done for Baylor Athletics.

Jack
Houston, Texas

Jack,

Thank you for the e-mail and comments. Coach Drew built a schedule that he believes is conducive to success and the development of his young basketball team. Non-conference games against Gonzaga, Arizona State, Washington State and Florida State certainly tested the team and have prepared them for a successful run when Big 12 play begins this week.

There are many factors that go into putting a non-conference schedule together each year, and I know that our men's basketball staff works very hard to find a mix of games that will allow for challenges and improvement, while positioning the team for the Big 12 season and the postseason.

Ian


Ian;

I don't know if you've been asked this before, but in regards to the BCS (which I affectionately call the BSC), would you like to see a playoff or keep it the way it is and give us your reasons why you agree or disagree. Congrats to Baylor Nation for an outstanding year.

Thank you, Coach Briles for getting the football team turned around.

Michael Grady
Midwest City, Okla.

Michael,

Thank you for the question. I support the current bowl system and the widespread benefits that it provides college athletics and football programs around the nation. With that, the BCS is the best way possible to determine a national champion given the existing bowl system.

Also, given the increased number of games and extended season, I do not believe that an extended playoff is in the best interest of the sport or student-athletes. Bottom line: this is a long-winded way of saying that the current BCS system, while imperfect, is the best model for college football.

Ian


Ian;

Your team does great work! Two football spirit comments:

- The gold helmet is easily recognizable and differentiated from a branding perspective it would seem. On television, the white helmet does not catch the eye on highlight reels. Will the team be displaying that primary school color on their heads on Dec. 29?

- The Golden Wave plays great music! However, their football purpose is spirit related. In two games I attended this year (including A&M), they left the crowd flat as they marched off the field at the end of halftime. Can they tweak the routine to either play Saints and spell Bears or play the full fight song and spell Baylor?

Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

Mark Smith
Houston, Texas

Mark,

Thank you for the kind comments. We have a great group of coaches, staff and student-athletes at Baylor!

As you saw, the Baylor Bears wore the traditional gold helmets at the Texas Bowl. My sense is that these helmets are a fan favorite.

The marching and pep bands are a credit to Baylor and we count them among our strongest supporters. They seek to entertain the crowd and encourage fan support. I thought that they did a very nice job this year.

Ian


Mr. McCaw,

Congratulations on a job well done! I'm a long time, all-weather (not just "fair") fan who has pulled for Baylor since the day I arrived on campus (Class of '90). Just ask my two young boys who have over the years observed me watching every Baylor game possible and wonder how I have managed to stay true through some of the toughest times.

While extremely pleased with how far we've come in the last several years, I only ask that you ensure we continue to build on our success and strive to achieve even more. We should be happy with how far we've come, but also should vow not to rest and be content - we can and shall go further.

Again, great job since your arrival in 2003!

Les Jenkins
Houston, Texas

Les,

Thank you for the kind e-mail. We deeply appreciate "all-weather fans" at Baylor. There will be successes and some setbacks along the way, and I appreciate the loyalty of the fans that support Baylor at all times.

We are making great progress in virtually every aspect of the athletics program at this time, and are highly motivated to build upon these accomplishments in the future. While there is much to celebrate, we have a great deal yet to achieve.

I will add this final comment: Baylor Athletics will go as far as the support of Baylor Nation takes this program.

Ian

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