April 10, 2009
March Madness was a great time to be a Baylor Bear! I was very proud of our men's and women's basketball teams and their respective runs through postseason play. They kept me busy on the road during the entire month of March and into April.
The Lady Bears reeled off impressive wins over Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Texas A&M to capture the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. The team earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and reached the Sweet 16 for the fourth time with wins over Texas-San Antonio and South Dakota State before falling to eventual national runner-up, Louisville. The Bears had great run in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship with victories against Nebraska, Kansas and Texas before falling to Missouri in the conference championship game. The men's team advanced to the NIT and earned wins over Georgetown, Virginia Tech, Auburn and San Diego State before coming up short against Penn State in the NIT championship game. Both teams are to be congratulated for great seasons!
Meanwhile, our spring sports continue to excel across the board. Equestrian (4th), baseball (7th), women's (4th) and men's tennis (7th) are ranked in the Top 10 nationally and our other spring sports are turning in strong performances including both golf programs, softball and track and field.
Another recent highlight was the football spring game held at the Highers Athletics Complex for the first time. It was great to have such strong student and community support for the game, and everyone left with great excitement and hope for the 2009 season.
We recently announced that the Baylor - Texas Tech football games will be moved to the Metroplex for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Next year's game will be played in the new Cowboys Stadium on November 28. Season ticket holders and Bear Foundation members will have first priority for the best seats prior to a general public sale. We are expecting a great turnout given that Baylor and Tech have large numbers of alumni and friends in the Metroplex, and the growing football rivalry between the two schools.
The other exciting football news is regarding Jason Smith's soaring stock in the upcoming NFL Draft. Jason is currently projected by most draft experts as the No. 2 selection in the April 25-26 NFL Draft. Jason's performance on the field last season coupled with his outstanding character has caused the football world to take great notice of this Baylor Bear. We wish Jason much success and happiness as he transitions into professional football.
We continue to push forward on a number of important athletics facilities projects that will make a positive impact on our program. 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, too. Also, we will begin 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 beginning to take shape. The structural steel infrastructure for the project will be in place by April 17 and we will begin the masonry work on the exterior immediately thereafter. This facility remains on schedule to be completed by July and will provide Baylor football with one of the nation's very best facilities of its kind.
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.
Speaking of fundraising, the Baylor Bear Foundation fund drive is off to a good start, but we need everyone's support in order to fuel the future success of Baylor Athletics. The progress that our athletics program is making is directly related to the level of support that we receive from our alumni and friends. Please contact the Bear Foundation today to renew your membership or join for the first time. We would be grateful for passing on this important message along to others so we can get new BBF members to be a part of the excitement.
Finally, our department will be launching an initiative called the Baylor Spirit Program that will strengthen the relationship between the Waco business community and Baylor. You will read more about this program in coming days on Baylorbears.com.
We have received a few Ask Ian questions in the past couple of weeks and below are the latest round.
Just a quick note before I leave the office for the day, I think Scott Drew is one of the most classy and admirable men in all of sports. After hearing rumors of his possible departure for another coaching position, he reassures the entire Baylor community that he is here to make Baylor a national power rather than jumping ship to a program that simply offers more money. This shows all of us that he is a truly unique and caring coach who believes in the Baylor vision.
I am grateful that Baylor continues to support outstanding coaches and staff and is willing to put forth the necessary means to ensure an elite athletics program. Thank you, Ian, for a job well done and to Coach Drew for a truly remarkable basketball season. I cannot wait until next season!
Thank you for the kind e-mail and comments. Coach Drew and his staff have done a terrific job at Baylor and led our basketball program to postseason play in consecutive seasons for the first time in more than 20 years. I am grateful for Coach Drew's loyalty and commitment to Baylor, and look forward to even greater success in the years to come.
I cannot adequately express my gratitude to the five young men and one remarkable coach who have led our basketball program back into the arena of integrity and respectability. When they chose to step onto the court in a Baylor uniform in spite of scandals and NCAA sanctions, they demonstrated what the Baylor spirit is all about. I have always been proud to call myself a Baylor grad, but never as much as I have during these past few years. The phoenix has risen from the ashes and it did so on the backs of five young men and one coach who dared to take the challenge. Give the team its due for a great season and an even better post season, but give those five seniors and extra measure of praise.
They are true Baylor men.
Thanks for your e-mail and reminding all of us how far the men's basketball program has come over the past six years. All of us can be guilty of having short-term memory at times, but as a matter of perspective it is helpful to remember exactly where this basketball program was when Coach Drew arrived six seasons ago. The job that he and his staff have done in rebuilding the program is truly unprecedented. During the NIT press conference, San Diego State head coach Steve Fischer said the job that Scott Drew has done at Baylor should make him the "Coach of the Decade." Similarly, if not for the faith and commitment of our four seniors Mamadou Diene, Kevin Rogers, Henry Dugat and Curtis Jerrells and the underclassmen, this progress would not have been possible.
We have been to three Lady Bear basketball games in the Ferrell Center this season. It is so difficult to understand the announcers. Are there plans to update the video and sound system in this building?
Thanks for your support and the question. As you may know, we put a new sound system in the Ferrell Center prior to the start of the 2007-08 season and the quality of sound is much improved. We are currently exploring a center-hung, video scoreboard and message center similar to what you would see in NBA arenas and select collegiate facilities. We believe that such an enhancement would be great for our fans and improve the game day atmosphere at the Ferrell Center for basketball and volleyball.
I don't have a question, just a comment. I am a Baylor Alum ('01) and just wanted to say how proud I am of our school and our athletics. I sport a Baylor Alum license plate holder and a BU emblem on the back of my car and do so with pride. Thank you for all of your work and dedication to making our athletics turn around while keeping the Baylor vision in mind.
All my best,
Tenafly, New Jersey
Thank you for the kind words and you are not alone in expressing your pride in Baylor Athletics. Our coaches, staff and student-athletes are performing at a very high level and we are enjoying great success and God's favor. I believe that we have much to be excited about as we look ahead and with the continued strong support from our alumni and friends this program will achieve great things in the days and years to come.
Will there be alcohol sales at the Baylor/Tech game at the Cowboys stadium? What about 2010 at the Cotton Bowl?
I appreciate your question and you are not the first to ask. Due to Baylor University policy and in concert with Texas Tech and Cowboys Stadium, alcohol sales for the 2009 Baylor - Texas Tech football game in Arlington will be limited to private suites and private club areas only. With that, there will not be alcohol sales in the general concessions areas at Cowboys Stadium. For the 2010 game, the Cotton Bowl does not sell alcohol within the Stadium.
Congratulations on a very productive year so far in Baylor Athletics in the 2008-2009 school year.
I was curious as to what the rules/guidelines are used by the athletic department for individual sports regarding the color schemes for the respective team's uniforms. Why do we have Vegas Gold with some teams and then the bright yellow color with other teams? Also, why do some teams wear the color black as the main color for their jerseys?
Personally, I like the Vegas gold and dark green that our football team and women's basketball team uses.
Thanks! Sic'em Bears!
Donnie R Laurence Jr
San Antonio, Texas
Baylor University's official colors are championship gold (bright gold) & green and can be found on our website, baylorbears.com. We have allowed sports that have traditionally used Vegas gold to continue to use this color. As far as black or white usage, we allow teams to use both of these colors within their uniforms to compliment the use of green and gold.
Living out of town, I was unable to attend the grand opening of the new sports complex.
Will there be any other opportunities? Perhaps in the summer off-season?
This is not a question, but a statement. I have never been prouder to be a Baylor Bear. Saturday night I took my 89 year old Dad to see Baylor beat Texas Tech in baseball.
I was in Waco and was able to watch both basketball games with my 83 year old Mom.
I hope to catch a tennis match next time. All the sports staff, administrators and coaches are doing a tremendous job.
Mike P. Garrison
Fort Worth, Texas
Thank you for the kind e-mail, strong support and encouraging comments.The Bear Foundation staff regularly tours members and prospective members through the Highers Complex and I am sure they would be glad to accommodate your schedule to arrange a tour. It is great to read about your excitement about Baylor Athletics in your e-mail. These are indeed great times and we are blessed!