Feb. 23, 2009
These are great days to be a Baylor Bear!
There is so much positive news to share that I hardly know where to start. Let's begin with academics, as Baylor student-athletes had the best academic semester on record last fall. The overall grade-point average for our student-athletes was 3.04. In addition, 239 student-athletes were named to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll which requires a minimum semester GPA of 3.0. In total, 11 Baylor teams posted team GPAs above a 3.0 including three that reached 3.35. Congratulations are in order for our student-athletes, coaches, academic support staff and our faculty for this tremendous academic success.
As we celebrate classroom success, it is equally gratifying to see how well our teams are performing in the field. As of today, equestrian (2nd), women's basketball (7th), women's tennis (7th), baseball (8th), men's tennis (10th), men's indoor track (14th) and women's indoor track (25th) are in the Top 25. All of Baylor's winter and spring team's appear poised for postseason competition this year with many several capable of competing for conference and national championships.
All of this success is paying great dividends in recruiting. In November, we celebrated highly acclaimed recruiting classes across a number of sports and followed that up with another banner day on February 4. Coach Briles and his staff landed Baylor's best football recruiting class in the Big 12 era and are to be commended for their outstanding work. In addition, we announced great classes in track and field and soccer as well.
This is a busy time for our staff on the facilities front. In the coming months, we will be adding three additional courts at the Baylor Tennis Center to bring the total outdoor courts to 12. We have received a major gift that will allow us to move forward with significant renovations to the Baylor Tennis Center building beginning in the spring. Also, last week, the Baylor Board of Regents approved an addition to Getterman Stadium of an indoor training facility that will house a pitching area, batting cages and infield area for our softball program.
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.
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 the $90 million campaign by February 2010. We are grateful to the donors who made this possible and excited about how these facilities improvements will enhance our programs.
During these challenging economic times, it is especially important to thank our loyal season ticket holders and generous donors for your support. So on behalf of Baylor Athletics, thank you for everything that you do to support our programs!!!
Finally, we have recently commissioned an economic impact study with the assistance of Baylor's economics department. The study suggests that more than $150 million of economic impact is realized in McLennan County each year as a result of Baylor Athletics. Clearly, Baylor Athletics is a major economic player in the Waco community and we are grateful to those individuals and businesses that support our programs, and allow us to make such an enormous impact in our community. When Baylor wins, Waco wins!
We have received a few Ask Ian questions in the past couple of weeks and below are the latest round.
How about a web cam for the construction of the indoor practice facility? Like the other 90 percent- plus alumni I don't live in Waco and I would love to see the progress that's being made.
Fort Payne, Ala.
Thanks for the e-mail and question. You may have noticed that we have a web cam showing the progress towards completion of the Jay and Jenny Allison Indoor Football Practice Facility. The project is on schedule to be completed in July. We have been fortunate that due to current economic conditions and the competitive bid process, the indoor facility is expected to be completed under budget.
I was wondering when the spring football scrimmage game was and what time it is at?
Thank you for the e-mail and your support. The annual Green and Gold spring football game has been set for Thursday, April 2 at 4:00 p.m. at the Highers Athletics Complex. There were a variety of factors that led to this time being set, and it will be a great opportunity for our fans to watch the team in its final action of the spring.
Coach Briles and his staff are excited to begin spring practice on March 2. All practices will be held at the Highers Athletics Complex and all Baylor fans are invited to stop by and see workouts this spring. Watch Baylorbears.com for a complete practice schedule.
Thanks for your leadership to build a comprehensive athletic program at Baylor. Recruiting is 80 percent of the battle. Does Baylor have the facilities in football and basketball that make it attractive to prospective student athletes? What are the plans for future development of these critical money making facilities? Thank you.
I appreciate your question and kind comments. We have made great progress in developing our football and basketball facilities over the past several years with the Highers Athletics Complex and Whetsel Basketball Practice Facility, and related improvements. These state-of-the-art facilities have provided a tremendous boost to our recruiting efforts.
Moreover, we are blessed to have outstanding coaching staffs in these sports along with Baylor's beautiful campus, strong academic reputation and unique Christian environment. All of these factors have played a large role in the successful recruiting that is taking place in these vital revenue producing programs.
Thanks for all your hard work and the optimism you have created around Baylor Athletics.
Has Baylor discussed creating a memorial on campus or at Floyd Casey Stadium to honor Baylor's two Medal of Honor recipients - Jack Lummus and "Killer" Kane?
William C. Boone
Thank you for the kind words and recognizing Baylor's two Medal of Honor recipients, Jack Lummas and John Kane.
We have discussed opportunities to honor these two heroes and great Americans, and have been speaking with a couple of alumni who have a particular interest in doing so in a special way. Hopefully, we will be able to do something along these lines before too long.
You've mentioned that there will be three new outdoor tennis courts added to the Tennis complex. Where will they be located? The only available land I remember there being is the site for the proposed Indoor facility. If the courts go there would a future indoor facility be placed?
Thank you for the question. We will be constructing three additional outdoor tennis courts adjacent to the three courts behind the main counts at the Baylor Tennis Center this spring. There is not sufficient space in this area to construct an indoor tennis facility, so we have identified other locations on or adjacent to campus for an indoor tennis facility.
Where on the football website can I find a list of prospective recruits for 2009? If not on the website, can it be added? It would be nice to stay current with recruiting news.
Sulphur Springs, Texas
Thank you for this e-mail. Since it was from last month, I should point out that it is against NCAA rules for institutions to publish information about prospective student-athletes prior to the signing of a national letter of intent.
On February 4, we announced the football recruiting class and that information is available on the football page at baylorbears.com. Coach Briles and his staff did a tremendous job recruiting this year, and we are very excited about the future of Baylor football. If you want to keep up with football recruiting prior to signing day, I suggest that you follow rivals.com and scout.com.
Originally, it was announced that BU would play Notre Dame in Dallas. Then, it was announced that the game would have to be played in New Orleans because of some Big 12 ruling. Today, it was announced that OU will play BYU in Arlington next September. There is the annual OU-UT game in Dallas. I don't get it. Why couldn't Baylor play Notre Dame in Dallas? Can you shed some light on the decision-making process? Thanks.
Sic 'em Bears!
Thanks for the e-mail and your question. The core issue in moving the Baylor - Notre Dame football game to New Orleans is television rights. Since it is Notre Dame's home game, it will be included in its NBC television package.
However, due to television contractual restrictions, this would require that the game be played at a location outside of the Big 12 geographic footprint (which includes Texas) and therefore it was moved to New Orleans. My understanding of the BYU - Oklahoma game is that it will be part of the Big 12 television package and therefore is able to be played within the Big 12 geographical footprint.