April 26, 2006
What a week this has been for Baylor Athletics! Congratulations to the men's and women's tennis teams on winning Big 12 championships; softball having a 5-0 week; baseball sweeping a pair of home games against Texas A&M; men's and women's track and field dominating the Michael Johnson Classic; and equestrian concluding its inaugural season by finishing 8th nationally.
Many exciting spring events are ahead including Baylor hosting four Big 12 championships in the coming weeks. The Big 12 men's and women's tennis championships will be held this weekend at the Baylor Tennis Center with the championship matches set for Sunday. On May 12-14, Baylor will host the Big 12 men's and women's track and field championships at Hart-Patterson Track and Field Complex. Both of these events are must-see and we expect great crowds for all of these competitions.
We have had a strong response from our football season ticket base as we complete the renewal process and look forward to record sales this season. In May, individuals who have renewed their tickets in the Bear Club area will be contacted to begin the seating process. We have also had extremely positive feedback from the fans who have tried out the demo seats in the Bear Club and believe that this section may rival Bear Heights as our most popular seating area in years to come.
We have just completed the first year of the relationship between Baylor Athletics and ISP Sports, and it has been an overwhelmingly successful partnership. Great progress has been made in terms of the strengthening the Baylor - ISP radio network including adding San Antonio and expanding coverage in Houston, increasing sales revenues and increasing the number of corporate partners to a new record, 185. I want to commend Vice President/General Manager Shawn Becket, along with Kris Kassel and Doug McNamee on their excellent work in strengthening our corporate relationships. In addition, we continue to be encouraged about securing a satellite radio relationship for the upcoming year thanks to more great work by the ISP team.
The Bear Foundation Fund Drive is off to a terrific start and we are on pace for a record year. If you have not already done so, please renew your membership today. Also, please encourage friends and family to do the same. These resources are critical as they fund student-athlete scholarships that provide for the education expenses of the young men and women who represent Baylor so well both athletically and academically.
Athletic Facility projects abound and will keep our staff very busy over the summer months. We are nearing completion of the Lt. Jack Whetsel Jr. Basketball Practice Facility, and are excited about the operational and recruiting benefits that this spectacular building will afford our basketball programs. We have just begun construction of the Willis Family Equestrian Center recently approved by the Board of Regents and this facility will provide the equestrian program one of the finest collegiate facilities in the nation.
We have been greatly blessed through the generosity of donors who have supported these and other important projects as we have now completed or begun construction of three of the six capital projects identified in the Victory With Integrity campaign. This donor-driven campaign is off to a strong start, yet we are anxious to receive enough support to advance the on-campus football practice facility, indoor tennis and multi-purpose facility; and on-campus track and field facility.
Our athletic development efforts have never been stronger and in fact every major revenue stream from ticket sales to corporate sponsorship to concessions to Big 12 revenues have exceeded budget this year. As a result of this financial prosperity along with strong fiscal management on the part of our business office, we are in a position to address several important year end needs as well as reduce the debt on athletic facilities constructed in year's past.
The Board of Regents and senior administration have strongly encouraged our department to be diligent in paying down the outstanding debt on projects that were not fully funded and in turn reduce Athletics' outstanding debt load from the university. We have made exceptional progress in this regard over the past couple of years.
At the same time, since this has been a strong financial year for our department, we are in a position to complete and fund a number of important projects including renovation of the Gale and Connie Galloway Suite; construction of a new football recruiting center; completion of the Bear Club seating area; development of the football heritage program; installation of a new floor and aesthetic improvements in Marrs McLean gym; replacement of the Floyd Casey Stadium message center on Valley Mills Drive; construction of a golf practice area at Bear Ridge; resurfacing of the track and field and tennis courts in advance of hosting the Big 12 championships; completion of the women's basketball locker room; installation of a new scoreboard and outfield fence padding at Baylor Ballpark; and construction of a brick façade around the scoreboard at Getterman Stadium.
Through the momentum generated by our many generous donors, excellent work on the part of our staff and wise stewardship of resources we are establishing a strong foundation for Baylor Athletics. We are dedicated to winning championships, academic excellence and maintaining Baylor's Christian commitment!
Let's finish the spring with the same success that we enjoyed this past week.
Sic `em Bears!