Submit your questions for Ian now!
While the Baylor campus has been largely quiet during the university's spring break week, there is much to report within the athletics department.
Congratulations are in order for Coach Mulkey and the Lady Bears as they won their 25th game of the season and earned a No. 5 seed in the Fresno NCAA Regional this weekend. A pep rally will be held to honor the team and send them off to Raleigh, N.C., at Waco Regional Airport beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Friday.
There was also great news to report from the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships as the men's 4 x 400-meter relay team clocked the world's fastest time this year at 3:04.24 to claim its seventh national indoor championship. The men's team finished the meet in a tie for 10th place overall with 21 points, marking its second straight top 10 finish, while the women's team totaled four points to finish in a tie for 50th-place.
The No. 10 Baylor softball team took two-of-three from defending national champion and No. 2 Arizona to win the Compass Bank Challenge and leap into the top 10 for only the second time in school history.
A limited number of tickets remain available for the Bears conference baseball opener this weekend against the 10th-ranked Texas Longhorns. Friday's game starts at 2 p.m. in Austin, with the series shifting to Baylor Ballpark for games on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
The following are the most recent round of Ask Ian questions.
There is a lot of concern about the women's basketball job openings around the South and Baylor losing Coach Mulkey. What can you say to reassure those of us who live and die with Lady Bear basketball?
Editor's Note: Similar questions were received from Phyllis Bevel, Matthew James, Melissa Mines, Brandon Avants and John Willows.
First, I thought that this season is one of the best coaching jobs that Coach Mulkey has done, and that is saying a great deal. She took a young basketball team and won 25 games, earned a Top 20 national ranking and has the team back in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year.
Coach Mulkey is an outstanding coach and she has built a great women's basketball program at Baylor. Equally important is the fact that she is loved, appreciated and enjoys a special status within the Baylor Family and Waco community. In my view, we are very fortunate to have a truly unique situation, and one that I hope will continue for many years to come.
As a football season ticket holder, I enjoyed our success at home this year and all the games that we won and that were competitive. It appears we have been very successful in our recruiting efforts on National Signing Day. Have we made strides to shore up the quarterback position next year with the loss of Shawn Bell?
Spring football practice begins next week (March 20) and there will be a great deal of attention on the quarterback position. Five quarterbacks will be vying to earn the starting job and in my view there will be more competition this spring than any spring under Coach Morriss. Spring practices are open to the public and we encourage fans to come out and get a glimpse of the 2007 team. Spring practice will conclude with the annual Green - Gold game on April 14.
Great job on the football facility! When can we expect to see the master plans? Also, have you thought of putting up a web cam so we the fans can monitor the progress?
Thank you for the e-mail and question. Final plans for the Simpson Athletics and Academic Center are being developed by our architect, Sparks Sports, and will be ready in the coming weeks. We anticipate hosting a ground breaking event later in the spring at which time plans will be made available to guests. We will provide progress reports and pictures of the project once it is underway, as well as a web cam if possible.
I received an email earlier today from a large group of Baylor grads stating that Baylor plans to build an on-campus football athletic facility.
It's an event I thought impossible, at least in my lifetime, given the provincial politics of Baylor. Without doubt, this will change the whole face of Baylor -- the campus environment, the student experience, and, certainly, be a boon to our recruiting efforts.
Keep up the great work.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Thank you for the e-mail and your support. We are excited about the Highers Athletics Complex and Simpson Athletics and Academic Center coming to fruition. This facility will provide widespread benefits to the entire athletics program and have a positive impact on all 18 intercollegiate teams and every student-athlete. In particular, integrating the football program into the campus environment has been an important goal for many years and will be a dramatic enhancement to our recruiting efforts.
Great news about the new on Campus Football facility. Once this is completed what impact will this have on Floyd Casey in terms of possibly allowing additional space for game day activities? Are there currently any plans to re-utilize space? Thanks for all the positive activities going on with Baylor Athletics.
Thank you for the excellent question. We have just begun to study how best to utilize the space in the North End Zone complex that will be vacated during the summer of 2008 with the move of the football program and administrative staff into the Simpson Athletics and Academic Center.
We will be engaging an architect later this spring to work with us and create some different options. It is very exciting to imagine the quality of athletics facilities that will be in place at Baylor in just a few years with continued success of the Victory With Integrity campaign.
What are your expectations for our basketball and football programs in next year?
I am very excited about Baylor's prospect for success in football and men's basketball next year. Both programs have demonstrated considerable progress over the last few years, and I anticipate breakthrough seasons in 2007. Moreover, I am more encouraged than ever about the overall strength of Baylor Athletics. We have outstanding coaching leadership, excellent administrative and support staff, and an exceptional collection of student-athletes. With the continued strong support of alumni and friends, we will reach new levels of success in the years to come.