|Ask Ian: Winter, Spring Sports in Full Swing
5:20 P.M. TUESDAY, FEB. 22, 2010
Hello Baylor Family,
Let me begin Ask Ian by expressing my appreciation to more than 6,000 members of the Baylor family who generously supported the highly successful Victory With Integrity campaign. The campaign raised more than $95 million toward its five-year, $90 million goal making it an overwhelming success and providing much needed resources to Baylor Athletics.
As a result, approximately $62 million was invested in capital projects and more than $25 million was donated to the Baylor Bear Foundation and student-athlete scholarships. These contributions, coupled with the growth in our athletics endowment, are fueling Baylor Athletics toward unprecedented success and accomplishment.
While we are celebrating the extraordinary results of this campaign, clearly there is still much work to be done from a development standpoint. We remain focused on completing the outstanding capital projects from the Victory With Integrity campaign including an on-campus track and indoor tennis facility. In addition, I look forward to working with university leadership to determine how best to address the future facility needs of Baylor football.
We have been working diligently on future football schedules in recent weeks. As a result of some recent negotiations, we believe that we have our non-conference dates filled through 2019 with the exception of a few FCS opponents that need to be added. Once these contracts are executed, we will be posting the next 10 years of future football schedules on BaylorBears.com.
Coach Briles has recently announced the football spring practice schedule. Practice for the Bears begins on March 16 and fans interested in attending may do so by contacting the football office at 254-710-3058. The annual spring game will be a controlled scrimmage presented by Time Warner Cable and held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 10, at the Highers Complex.
The men's and women's basketball teams continue to have great seasons and are well positioned for postseason play heading into a critical home stretch. We have four home games left in the Ferrell Center: men versus Texas A&M on Feb. 24; women versus Kansas on Feb. 28; men versus Texas on March 6; and, women versus Texas on March 7. We need our students, faculty, staff along with the Waco community and Baylor alums to come out and cheer on the Bears and Lady Bears to important Big 12 wins. We expect large crowds for each game and tickets remain available on-line at BaylorBears.com or by calling 254-710-1000.
I have been greatly encouraged by the early results of our spring sports teams. At present, men's and women's tennis, equestrian, softball, men's and women's track and field are nationally ranked. In addition, baseball had an impressive opening weekend and both golf programs are showing promise for successful seasons.
With spring comes the annual Bear Foundation fund drive and plans are underway to make this year's effort the best ever. We are coming off five consecutive record years for the BBF and are ahead of last year's pace heading into February. For more information on the fund drive or Bear Foundation, please call 254-710-2582 or join on-line at http://www.baylor.edu/bearfoundation.
We have received several Ask Ian questions in the past several weeks.
There have been a lot of rumors about the expansion ideas of the Big Ten and the Pac-10. A lot of rumors have focused on Texas leaving for the Big 10 and Colorado and Missouri leaving, too. If this happens, where would that leave Baylor? What are Baylor's long term plans for its athletic program?
Editor's Note: Similar questions received by Robert Ingram (McGregor, Texas), Ron Sellers (Jackson, Miss.).
Thank you for the question. In recent weeks, there has been media attention and discussion regarding potential changes in the BCS conference landscape. The focal point has been the Big Ten and Pac-10 studying expansion. It is important to note that studying expansion is not an uncommon exercise for conferences to conduct. Yet it is to be taken seriously and I have spent considerable time monitoring this situation and been in communication with Big 12 leadership.
The Big 12 Conference is a valuable asset for Baylor University and has achieved a measure of success well beyond our expectations. The Conference leads the nation with seven BCS national championship game appearances, and is currently ranked as the country's best men's and women's basketball conference in the ratings percentage index (RPI). In recent years, Big 12 programs have won NCAA titles in a number of sports including Baylor's championships in women's basketball and men's tennis. In addition, the Big 12 provides Baylor with many natural rivalries and provides quality competition within a reasonable distance for student-athletes, parents and fans. We are proud to be a member of the Big 12 and look forward to a bright future for the Conference.
We are so proud of the way things are progressing at BU, with Coach Briles staying with us & not going to Texas Tech was a huge relief & I know we will be great in the years to come. Also, the tremendous job Coach Drew is doing with basketball team is just outstanding!!!! Y'all continue to keep up the great job you all are doing!!!!!!
Fort Worth, Texas
I appreciate the e-mail and kind words. You comments are representative of the positive feelings that Baylor fans have about our coaches, staff and student-athletes. We are blessed with great people who are working hard and achieving tremendous success. All of this has led to the considerable momentum that Baylor is experiencing.
This morning I was reflecting on the fact that our men's and women's basketball teams were both rated #15 in the RPI which measures competitive success and strength of schedule. To put this into context, there are 346 Division I basketball programs and to have a program ranked in the top 15 in RPI means that Baylor is outperforming 96 percent of the nation's basketball teams. Baylor was one of only seven schools (West Virginia, Georgetown, Tennessee, Duke, Kentucky and Texas A&M) to have both teams in the Top 15. In my view, that is a very special level of accomplishment and a credit to the coaches and student-athletes in both programs.
First, I'd like to congratulate everyone who works with the BaylorBears.com website. The new video features are awesome and I loved the recent national signing day coverage. I'm sure that a lot of time and money goes into it, so please know that your efforts are greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work!
I also have a couple of questions regarding football tailgating next year. The athletic department did a great job of making Floyd Casey very tailgate-friendly last year. Unfortunately, the demand for trash cans still outstripped their availability as many chose to dump trash in hot coal bins - leaving later tailgaters with no place to dump coals. Could this be fixed?
Also, I've heard rumors that the creek side tailgating space will be expanded to the west side of the creek and that more electricity/cable hookups will be available. Can you comment on this?
Thank you for the e-mail and questions. Brad Sheffield and our media relations staff do great work on BaylorBears.com and we are fortunate to have one of the best athletics websites in the nation.
We will continue to expand tailgating options for our fans for next season including the west side of the creek side tailgate area. We felt as though the pre-game atmosphere improved significantly last season and it will take another step forward this year with all of the excitement around Baylor football. We did receive feedback regarding a lack of sufficient trash cans and that will be addressed in 2010.
When will tryouts be for the competitive cheer squad? What kind of scholarships will be offered for those who make the squad? Thanks for any information you can give me.
As you may know, we recently hired Karry Forsythe as our competitive cheer coach and she has hired an assistant coach who will be named shortly. Coach Forsythe has been deluged with interest from prospective competitive cheer student-athletes and you are welcome to contact her for more information at the following e-mail address: Karry_Forsythe@baylor.edu or call her at 254-710-3280. We are very excited about having the first intercollegiate competitive cheer program in the Big 12 and State of Texas.
Art Briles, Kim Mulkey, Scott Drew, Steve Smith-- it's obvious we have some great recruiters here at Baylor. Has anyone ever considered a forum at which these experts could help those of us who also try to recruit students (and faculty) to Baylor? One key to the success of all parts of the University is the quality of the students we attract, and many people play a role in that. I suspect that the difference in what motivates a star athlete and a star scholar is not large. In fact, our own programs include more than a few students who are both.
Thanks again for your great work. As a season-ticket holder for men's and women's basketball and football, I have never been so excited at our prospects.
Thank you for the question and your support. There is a great deal to be excited about at this time.
Baylor is fortunate to currently have the best group of coaches and staff than at any time in its history. While our coaches are indeed excellent recruiter as the results are showing, it should also be noted that Baylor has become a very attractive institution to prospective student-athletes and students in general. We are blessed with wonderful facilities, great academic opportunities, a Christian environment and an ideal location in Central Texas.
To my knowledge, prior to your question, no one has suggested a forum on coaches providing ideas to recruit students to Baylor, but it may be an idea worth pursuing.
My Dear Brother Ian,
Thanks for the BAYLOR trip of Havana, THANK GOD for this special time with the BAYLOR BEARÂ´s and all the Group to came CUBA.
Thank you on behalf of and Western Cuba Baptist Convention, Baptist Church New Jerusalem Christian Baseball League (BCL) and the ministry of Sports Outreach.
This stadium has been for 14 years the field of training of our baseball team that uses sport as a tool to bring the good news of Jesus to all Cubans, we currently have a league throughout the country with around 40 teams of which 17 are Baptist, where they play good baseball and preaching the word of GOD.
God bless you and give you endless thanks to the leadership of Baylor University for everything.
It was a great blessing to join the Baylor baseball team on its recent mission trip to Cuba and we are grateful to you and our friends from Cuba for your hospitality and kindness. I want to thank Coach Smith, Tom Hill, L.M. Dyson, Wes Yeary and the players, assistant coaches and guests who made this such a special experience and ministry opportunity.
I am hopeful that Baylor baseball and perhaps other teams or student-athletes will make a return trip to Cuba before too long.