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The Baylor Athletics year is winding down, yet there is still much excitement on the horizon in the coming weeks. Softball, baseball, men's and women's track and field, men's golf and men's and women's tennis are preparing to enter postseason competition. We are looking forward to a strong finish in all of these sports as we wind down the 2007-08 year!
We held our annual Student Athlete Sports Banquet on Monday night at the Ferrell Center. It was a wonderful opportunity to recognize Baylor student-athletes for their academic accomplishments and contributions to the community. A school record 235 student-athletes were named to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll for having a semester grade-point average of 3.0 or better in the fall including 30 individuals who had a perfect 4.0. The Baylor softball team was recognized for having the highest grade-point average, while the men's basketball team was acknowledged for completing the most community service activities.
The NCAA published APR information for all Division I institutions this week, and once again, Baylor stood out with 16 teams above the 925 cut score and none of our teams subject to penalties. We very fortunate to be performing at a high level as a total of 150 Division I teams face scholarship reductions for next year along with 26 teams that are facing possible postseason bans in 2009-10. The APR is being enforced and those institutions who do not graduate student-athletes will suffer the consequences.
You may have noticed we recently named Baylor football letterman Wes Yeary as our Athletics Chaplain. Wes played for Coach Teaff in the mid-1980's and is regarded as one of the nation's finest college athletics chaplains having served in this capacity at Ole Miss and Auburn. We are very excited to welcome him back to Baylor where he will make a tremendous difference in the lives and spiritual development of our student-athletes.
The Bear Foundation fund drive is rolling along at a strong pace again this year. We are slightly ahead of the pace from the same time last year and have a fourth straight record fundraising year within reach. However, we need your support, so if you have not already done so, please join the Bear Foundation or renew your membership. This is the best way for fans to ensure the immediate and long-term success of Baylor Athletics!
We have received a number of Ask Ian questions in the past couple of weeks and below are the latest round.
Should we be worried about any other schools trying to make offers for Coach Drew to leave Baylor and coach elsewhere? Or, have any schools made Coach Drew an offer?
We are grateful that Coach Drew has made a long-term commitment to remain at Baylor and lead our men's basketball program. We are fortunate to have an excellent coaching staff and outstanding group of student-athletes in this program. With that, we can expect a great deal of success next year and in the future. Thanks for your support!
I noticed that in 2009 the NCAA is moving to 16 sites for its women's basketball tournament. What is Baylor doing to secure the Ferrell Center as a site for First and Second Round games in the Women's Tournament? I know we haven't been able to host in the eight site format as there isn't enough hotel or practice space, but we have hosted in the past with the previous format of 16 sites.
Thank you for the excellent question. Baylor bid to host NCAA first and second round women's basketball competition for 2009 and 2010. Unfortunately, we were not awarded a host site in either year. Needless to say, we were extremely disappointed with this decision, and will continue to submit attractive bids in the following cycles.
I've followed the volleyball team this spring and they have done very well winning 11 games and losing only 1. They also have brought in a great recruiting class. How do you see them doing this season?
Thank you for the kind words about the volleyball program. The team had a terrific spring and added a very strong and deep recruiting class as you pointed out. I am grateful for the hard work of the student-athletes and coaches have high expectations for the team this fall. We are looking forward to a great season and advancing to NCAA post-season play.
Other than the U Conn. game, have any other non-conference games been considered by our television partners for broadcast?
Mark D. Johnson
Thank you for the excellent question regarding football television. As you mentioned, the Baylor - Connecticut football game has been moved to Friday, September 19 to be broadcast on ESPN2. While we won't know for certain about other television opportunities until after June 1, the season-opener against Wake Forest is under consideration for television (possibly with a date change) and we understand that the Washington State game on September 13 will be selected by television. It is very encouraging that our television partners share our excitement about the direction of Baylor football under Coach Briles, and we believe it will add up to great exposure for the football program and Baylor University!
Coach Mulkey has been a blessing to Women's Basketball and Baylor in general but I am concerned with all the recent departures of players and assistant coaches. The thin bench during NCAAs was obvious. How many scholarship players can we expect on the team this fall? How many will be freshmen?
Spring Branch, Texas
Thank you for your e-mail and comments about Lady Bear Basketball. We are very fortunate that Coach Mulkey was able to attract Leon Barmore to Baylor. He will be a great addition to an already outstanding coaching staff. In addition, we are pleased to welcome Rekha Patterson back to Baylor as our Director of Video and Operations.
As far as the roster size goes, you can expect the Lady Bears to be back in the teens. Next year's team will have seven newcomers on the roster, two of whom are joining the program from other Division I programs. All of us remain excited about the future of Lady Bear Basketball!
I have heard a lot of talk about building an indoor practice building for football to complement the on-campus football complex. With a dynamic head coach like Coach Briles coming in and generating a lot of excitement about the future of Baylor Football, it would seem that right now is an excellent time to fundraise for this project. What is the price tag of this project and how much has been raised so far toward this goal?
Amen! We are actively fundraising for the indoor football practice facility and also have naming opportunities available for the Simpson Athletics and Academic Center still available. Please contact Doug Smith or Rick Darnell in our athletics development area at 254-710-4214 for more information.
It would be ideal to be in a position to start this project during the late spring in order to have it completed in time for spring practice. The project cost is $10.8 million and we are in need of a naming gift for one-half of the goal.