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Once August arrives, summer is over around the Baylor athletics department. Our fall sport student-athletes have returned to campus and most have started pre-season practice in anticipation of the beginning of the year.
It has been a real treat to see so many friends attend football practices this fall. Coach Briles has opened practices and has been very accessible to media and fans who stop by to watch.
We have been making great progress on our facilities projects. The Simpson Athletics and Academic Center is progressing very well and we have scheduled occupancy beginning in November. The improvements in the Ferrell Center are also going very well and we expect them to be substantially complete by early September.
It looks as though television opportunities will be plentiful for the Bears and Lady Bears this basketball season. The men's team had all 16 Big 12 games selected for television including two ESPN Big Monday appearances. Baylor has not appeared on Big Monday since the 2001 season. We are awaiting final details on the women's basketball television selections however, we expect the Lady Bears to be well represented in 2008-09.
In football, we know that the Wake Forest football game will be televised nationally on FSN. The Washington State game will also be on FSN and the Connecticut game will be a national broadcast on ESPN2. We expect that as many as five conference games could be selected for television, too.
The football season ticket marketing campaign is underway and yielding strong results. We are up nearly 10 percent in season ticket sales and individual game sales are also going very well. We will begin a marketing emphasis on the Wake Forest game next week.
The annual Meet the Bears will be held on Saturday, August 16, beginning at 12:30 p.m. on the field following a practice and scrimmage. All fans are invited to watch practice, then get autographs with their favorite Bears!
We have received a number of Ask Ian questions in the past couple of weeks and below are the latest round.
Thanks for sending the e-mails from Jerry Hill to the Bear Foundation members. They are very well written, and I plan on making reading the email a part of my daily routine for football season.
I want to commend Nick Joos and Doug Smith for recruiting Jerry to Baylor. He has been a great addition to our staff and his daily e-mails to Bear Foundation members have received an overwhelmingly positive response. Jerry's e-mails are another great reason to join the Bear Foundation to learn more about what is happening within Baylor Athletics, and at the same time support student-athlete scholarships! If you are not already a member of the BBF, please join today by calling 254-710-4214.
Is there any chance that Baylor could get a series with Duke in football? I know your friend, Kevin White, is Duke's new Athletics Director.
Thank you for the question. Coach Briles, Todd Patulski and I have spent some time during the summer discussing football opponents that make sense for Baylor. Duke was one of the programs that we would be interested in playing in the future. We have made commitments to schedule SMU and Rice in the future and recently added a two-year series with Navy. Our football schedules are set through 2012, so if we played Duke it would sometime after that.
I have watched the volleyball team work out this summer and they look awesome!!! The returning players are in great shape and some of the new ones will be big-time. What are your expectations?
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. All of us have high expectations for the team this fall. We are looking forward to a great season and advancing to NCAA postseason play.
Why did the catfish fry get cancelled? I had always enjoyed attending that event at the start of the football season.
China Spring, Texas
Thank you for the question. Instead of having a fish fry at Eastland Lakes we are inviting Linebacker Club members and Athletics Director's Club members to a complimentary dinner at the Galloway Suite on August 24 at 6:00 p.m. We decided to enhance the menu to include steak and chicken catered by George's, move indoors into a more comfortable environment with a better p.a. system, and allow supporters to watch the team practice prior to the event. We believe that this will be a great way for our supporters to meet Coach Briles and the team, and get ready to kick-off the 2008 season! Again, if you are not a Linebacker or AD Club member and are interested in joining, please call the Bear Foundation today.
Our family is really looking forward to the Briles era of Baylor football. I remember years ago when the team arrived at FCS that they would unload the team busses at the south end zone area at Touchdown Alley and have them walk through the crowd. The band would play spirit music, etc. From what I have seen on TV other schools do something similar to this on game day. I thought this might generate some pregame interest and even get fans to the stadium earlier.
Thanks for the e-mail and support of Baylor athletics. Our marketing staff is currently working with the football staff to create an area where the fans can great the team when it arrives at Floyd Casey Stadium. Our marketing staff is doing a great job in promoting Baylor football and creating an exciting game day atmosphere at Floyd Casey Stadium. We will have a great deal of pageantry surrounding the games including the band, cheerleaders, Baylor Line, and Touchdown Alley. When you arrive at the Stadium, you will notice that several buildings near the South entrance into the Stadium have been demolished and these areas have been landscaped to improve the appearance of the facility.
I have a follow up question to the one in May from Jim concerning the proposed $10.8 million indoor practice facility. Assuming funding comes through in the near term, what is the current thinking in terms of design? Will it be limited to a full length football field, or will it be more multipurpose to allow for track or tennis?
We are actively fundraising for the Indoor Football Practice facility and hopeful for a naming gift toward this project in the near future. We are planning this facility to be primarily for football although soccer, baseball, softball and other programs could benefit from it during inclement weather. It will be located adjacent to the two natural grass practice fields in the Highers Athletics Complex, and is the final component of that project. Needless to say, this is a huge priority for Coach Briles and the football program!