Jan. 9, 2009
I want to wish Baylor fans everywhere a Happy New Year! At our department staff meeting Wednesday, I told our staff that 2008 was a tremendous year for Baylor Athletics filled with a great deal of success and accomplishment on the field, in the classroom and administratively. Yet I am confident that 2009 will be even better for the Baylor Bears!
Prior to the Holidays, we had a wonderful dedication event and have moved into our new offices in the Simpson Athletics and Academic Center and Highers Athletics Complex. Even though we have occupied this space for just over one month, it already feels like home. This beautiful facility makes it a treat to come to work and has made a tremendous impression upon our coaches, staff and student-athletes (not to mention recruits!!!).
The Jay and Jenny Allison Indoor Football Practice Facility project is underway and we expect it to be completed by July. This addition to the Highers Athletics Complex will provide Baylor football with some of the nation's very best facilities.
In the coming months, we will be adding three additional courts at the Baylor Tennis Center and anticipate making additional improvements to the tennis facility. We are also making plans for an enhancement to Getterman Stadium that will be a big boost for Baylor softball.
The aforementioned improvements would not be possible without the generosity of our alumni and friends. The Victory With Integrity campaign has gone over the $70 million in less than four years, and we are on pace to successfully complete it by February 2010. Thank you to everyone for your support!
It is no surprise that with development success comes a high level of performance on the field. It is exciting to see so many Baylor teams nationally ranked. As of today, women's basketball (5th), men's basketball (23rd), baseball (15th), women's tennis (4th) and men's tennis (7th) are in the Top 25.
Big 12 basketball begins this weekend with the Bears hosting Texas Tech and the Lady Bears traveling to Colorado. If you have not already made plans to be on hand, you can purchase tickets by calling 710-1222. We are going to have some great times in the Ferrell Center this year!
We have received a few Ask Ian questions in the past couple of weeks and below are the latest round.
Thanks for doing such an incredible job! You mean so much to the Baylor family!
My question is in regard to the video screen at FCS. I have traveled to many stadiums around the Big 12 and many of their screens are larger than ours. Is there a plan to enlarge ours? I think it would be quite a compliment to the rest of the stadium.
Rick I. Smith
Thank you for the kind comments and words of appreciation. We are fortunate to have great coaches, staff and student-athletes at Baylor, and that makes my job both exciting and enjoyable.
We are working with our campus facilities area and architects on developing plans for a number of enhancements to Floyd Casey Stadium including new video boards. We are still seeking financial support to assist in this endeavor and hopeful to secure these resources in the near future.
Attractive video boards are an amenity appreciated by fans, student-athletes and prospective student-athletes. With that, they are a high priority for us.
Previous website information stated that Baylor Athletics Plans to add one women's varsity sport in the next two to three years-can you tell me what sports you may be looking at to add to Baylor Athletics?
Thank you for your e-mail and question. As part of our Title IX compliance plan, Baylor has made a commitment to add its 19th sport and 11th women's program in 2010-11.
The process of assessing prospective sports and analyzing them has already begun, and we expect to be in a position to make a recommendation to the Board of Regents as early as next fall. There are at least six women's sports that will be considered and we will be diligent in our assessment to ensure that we make a well informed decision as we did in 2005 when Equestrian was successfully added to our sport offerings.
Is there a current list of former Baylor baseball players still in the minor leagues? I'd like to track them if possible. No special interest, just Baylor proud.
Also, I'd like to let you know that I have been able to see a consistent improvement in every area of Baylor Athletics since your taking the reins as AD. Thank you for doing a fine job!
Thank you for the e-mail and kind words.
Courtesy of Larry Little in media relation, below is the most recent listing of Baylor's professional baseball players. We are looking forward to a great season for the Bears!
Nick Cassavechia, RHP, Oneonta Tigers (R, Detroit Tigers)
Zach Dillon, C, Frederick Keys (Hi-A, Baltimore Orioles)
Josh Ford, C, Mobile BayBears (AA, Arizona Diamondbacks)
Seth Fortenberry, OF, Tampa Yankees (Hi-A, New York Yankees)
** Chase Gerdes, OF, Traverse City Beach Bums (Independent)
Michael Griffin, IF, Louisville Bats (AAA, Cincinnati Reds)
* Jason Jennings, RHP, Texas Rangers (MLB)
Randall Linebaugh, RHP, Billings Mustangs (R, Cincinnati Reds)
Jeff Mandel, RHP, Potomac Nationals (Hi-A, Washington Nationals)
Mark McCormick, RHP, Palm Beach Cardinals (Hi-A, St. Louis Cardinals)
David Murphy, OF, Texas Rangers (MLB)
Kyle Reynolds, IF, Tennessee Smokies (AA, Chicago Cubs)
Kevin Russo, 2B, Trenton Thunder (AA, New York Yankees)
Mark Saccomanno, 1B, Houston Astros (MLB)
Kelly Shoppach, C, Cleveland Indians (MLB)
Drew Sutton, SS, Corpus Christi Hooks (AA, Houston Astros)
Mace Thurman, LHP, Dayton Dragons (A, Cincinnati Reds)
Cory VanAllen, LHP, Harrisburg Senators (AA, Washington Nationals)
Sean Walker, RHP, Salem Avalanche (Hi-A, Houston Astros)
Trey Webb, RHP, Augusta GreenJackets (A, San Francisco Giants)
Beamer Weems, SS, Eugene Emeralds (R, San Diego Padres)
* Kip Wells, RHP, Kansas City Royals (MLB)
* Steven White, RHP, Trenton Thunder (AA, New York Yankees)
Abe Woody, RHP, Mobile BayBears (AA, Arizona Diamondbacks)
I really have no question, but just a comment: I haven't attended a Baylor game in years until the A&M game this past fall '08. What you guys have done with the stadium to this point and the campus facility that I had an opportunity to drop by and walk through is nothing short of truly outstanding!!
Baylor is fixing to be second to none -- as far as the class of your physical plant -- an improved scoreboard and diamond vision and you will compare to anyone anywhere! Also, the price of tickets and concessions was UNBELIEVEABLE!! I commend you and Baylor University on your stepping up and presenting a first class program in all areas!
Charles L King
Sulphur Springs, Texas
Thank you for the kind comments about Baylor's athletics facilities. We are grateful to all of our generous supporters who have contributed to the Victory With Integrity Campaign, and allowed for the successful completion of the athletics facilities projects. To date, we have raised more than $70 million in just less than four years. Moreover, we are encouraged about the prospects of some additional major gifts in the near future!
I share your perspective that Baylor has some of the finest athletics facilities in the Big 12 and nation, and upon successful completion of this campaign we will be second to none!
Our volleyball team had a great year and showed great improvement even with the injuries to the team. With everyone back next year this team will be one of the best in the Big 12. I just wanted to thank you for your efforts in building our volleyball program.
Editor's Note: A similar statement was sent by Michael Grady of Midwest City, Okla.
Jim Barnes and his staff have done a wonderful job in building our volleyball program over the past five years and the team was on the verge of making the NCAA Tournament until a couple of unfortunate injuries took their toll. We are looking forward to a great season in 2009!
Thanks for the outstanding work you are doing with Baylor athletics, especially in football. This 1970 graduate says Sic 'em Bears. Art Briles is a class act.
Please see that your website's Football Bears in the Pros is updated to reflect all the Bears that are making contributions to NFL teams at this writing.
Thank you for the kind e-mail and support for Coach Briles. We are grateful for his outstanding leadership of our football program.
I will ask our staff to update the Bears in the Pro's page on the site, and we expect to add at least a couple of more players to this list from the 2008 team including Jason Smith who is projected to be a high first round NFL draft choice.
It's a great time to be a Baylor sports fan. Congrats on the fine job all our coaches are doing.
My question is about internet video outside Texas. I catch all the BU games I can on TV, but coverage of BU doesn't always reach Oklahoma City. Thus I rely on the internet, even more when the games are only televised on CSTV. Why are these games blacked out outside of Texas? Thank you and best wishes.
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Thanks for your great question.
In its television contracts, the Big 12 has inserted a clause that does not allow a third-tier telecast in men's basketball to be taken outside of an institution's state, unless the game is carried on the ESPN Full Court package. Unfortunately, video webcasts are treated the same as a third-tier television broadcast and can't be taken outside the state of Texas.
The good news, though, is that every remaining Baylor men's basketball game this season will be televised on the ESPN family or Networks (15 games) of Fox Sports Southwest (2/14 game vs. Texas A&M). All of our Big 12 games will be televised as part of the ESPN Full Court package and should also be available on ESPN360.