July 26, 2009
I hope that you are enjoying the summer, and becoming as anxious as I am for the start of the upcoming year and especially football season.
This past year was clearly one of the best in Baylor athletics history. A school-record 14 teams advanced to postseason competition and Baylor added five more Big 12 championships to increase our total to 25 since the start of the 2003-04 academic year, which ranks second in that span to Texas' 44 titles. Baylor finished No. 3 in the conference all-sports standings, our highest finish ever, and had our third-best finish in the Learfield Directors' Cup by placing 33rd nationally. In the classroom, we had another record-setting performance with student-athletes posting a 3.04 GPA for the year. All of these indicators demonstrate that tremendous progress is being made thanks to our coaches, staff and student-athletes!
This summer, we have held a number of Bear Blitz events around the State and have had record turnouts and incredible enthusiasm from our alumni and friends. It is a real treat to hear so many positive comments from the Baylor family about the state of the athletics program, and especially their enthusiasm about the upcoming football season.
It should be no surprise that football season ticket sales are up approximately 10 percent over the same date last year. This is encouraging news and a reflection of the commitment of the Baylor family to support Coach Briles and the team in 2009. Season tickets are still available by calling 254.710.1000, and single game ticket sales begin on August 10th. We are receiving a number of calls about the Baylor - Texas Tech game at Cowboys Stadium. Tickets are available through the Baylor ticket office, but we expect that they will go fast, so call today to order yours!
We look forward to the 2009 football season affording us widespread television exposure as well. ABC has already selected the Baylor - Wake Forest game set for 2:30 p.m. (Central) on September 5. We have indications that as many as nine games could be televised this season. Coupled with the recent announcement of the men's and women's basketball schedules on baylorbears.com, we anticipate that there will be more Baylor athletics on television this year than ever before.
A new tailgating area is being developed at Floyd Casey Stadium as a result of the practice facilities being moved to the Highers Complex. With that, Baylor fans will enjoy enhanced tailgating opportunities on the South end of the Stadium adjacent to Snickers Touchdown Alley. Work is underway to create an attractive tailgating space and enthusiasm is spreading among our most passionate fans who love to arrive early and tailgate!
We will open the Jay and Jenny Allison Indoor Football Practice Facility on or about August 1 in advance of the football team reporting on August 5. This facility will be the finest indoor practice facility in the Big 12 and one of the nation's best. This project completes the Highers Athletics Complex and will further enhance our incredible athletics facilities. This project is another important component of Victory With Integrity which already has been the most successful athletics fundraising campaign in school history and continues to build toward its five-year, $90 million goal.
We have begun the renovation of the Baylor Tennis Center and broken ground on the three additional outdoor tennis courts that will be added to the facility. Both projects are expected to be complete by the end of September. In addition, the Getterman Stadium softball training facility project is underway and is projected for completed by the end of the year and prior to the start of the season.
Finally, I want to thank all of you who contributed to the Baylor Bear Foundation's record-setting 2008-09 year when more than $6.3 million was raised for student-athlete scholarships. Bear Foundation members provide extraordinary support for our student-athletes and have my deepest appreciation for making Baylor athletics so successful.
Here are some of the Ask Ian questions we have received over the past few weeks.
I think you are doing a great job and Coach Briles is the best thing that has happened to Baylor football since Grant Teaff! I have followed Baylor football since the 70's. I love Baylor football, but my concern is if Coach Briles turns the program around which he has already proven he is, a lot of other teams out there will want him.
Great job Ian and thanks for the good work!
San Antonio, Texas
I appreciate your e-mail and kind comments. We are excited about Coach Briles and he has made great progress in building a winning football program at Baylor. He is very committed to the football program and school, and in turn Baylor has made a strong commitment to him, his staff and the program. As I mentioned above, this year the university has brought on-line close to $50 million worth of new facilities that directly impact our football program and its ability to succeed.
The best way for Baylor alumni and fans to make a difference is to buy season tickets and come to every home game. We need to fill up Floyd Casey Stadium and have a loud vocal crowd to provide the Bears with the best home field advantage they can have!
How is it possible that none of our seniors got drafted by the NBA? I am very disappointed in the NBA, not our seniors.
Michael A. Grady
Midwest City, Okla.
Thanks for the e-mail and question. Since the NBA draft consists of only two rounds, it is sometimes better for players to be free agents than second round selections. While Curtis Jerrells and Kevin Rogers both had a chance to be selected in the draft, both will have opportunities to make NBA teams. I understand that they are playing well this summer and hopefully will catch on.
It is my understanding that the football offices behind the end zone have been cleared out. Has the athletic department decided on what will become of that space? Also, are there in other plans for additional stadium upgrades within the next 2-3 years?
I appreciate your answer.
San Antonio, Texas
Good to hear from you. We have retained the same architectural firm that worked with us on the Simpson Athletics and Academic Center to develop a master plan for Floyd Casey Stadium. We will receive drawings for renovation of the North End Zone Complex, east and west concourses, and the surrounding parking and tailgating areas.
With that, we will be seeking funding for improvements that will include additional suites, expansion of the B Association area, improved concessions and merchandising areas, and expanded parking and tailgating space. We look forward to these enhancements and providing a better experience for our fans.
Has any decision been made as to where the Baylor - Notre Dame football game will be played? Originally, I believe it was to be the new Texas Stadium, but changed for some reason and not given another location.
Brett Adkins, `86
We are in discussions with Notre Dame about the location of the 2012 game which as you indicate was originally slated for the new Cowboys Stadium. We had a verbal commitment to move the game to the New Orleans Superdome, however, that has been unable to be finalized at this time. You may have noticed earlier this week that Notre Dame moved a series with Army to the new Yankees Stadium.
We will keep our fans posted once this matter is resolved.