Sept 4, 2003
By BOBBY ROSS JR.
Associated Press Writer
WACO, Texas (AP) - Comedian Bill Cosby was greeted by Baylor's marching band
and a crowd estimated at 20,000 people Thursday night at a "pep rally"
designed to boost morale at a university shaken by heartache and scandal.
Cosby gave the free performance at Floyd Casey Stadium, home of the
university's football team.
"Tonight, it's about you," Cosby told the crowd, which filled the west
side of the stadium facing the stage.
"It's about the fact that you were left out of all this. It's about how
tragedy came, but nobody really remembered that you were coming and you were a
part of this as well."
Cosby, sporting a yellow "Baylor Track & Field" T-shirt, said he wanted to
"build up" the students following the death of basketball player Patrick
Since Dennehy's death and the arrest of former teammate Carlton Dotson on
murder charges, revelations of secretly paid players, failed drug tests and a
tape-recorded plot by former coach Dave Bliss to cover up wrongdoing have
shaken the world's largest Baptist university.
"We're going to have fun," Cosby promised, drawing huge applause.
He didn't disappoint, keeping the audience laughing throughout a 90-minute
comedy routine that made light of his "C average" daughter's college
experience. He told of calling a college president in an attempt to gain his
"Mr. President, I was just wondering if your college needed a hospital?"
Cosby said he asked. "He said, 'How low is the SAT score?' I said, 'Oh, it's
in the high 840s.' He said, 'We're going to need housing for the doctors."'
But Cosby brought a serious message too, urging students to rise above
average grades and not to disappoint their parents.
"You've got to love yourself and you've got to have the strength within
yourself," he said.
Before Cosby spoke, Baylor President Robert Sloan presented him with an
honorary doctorate of human letters, while noting that he was already "Dr.
Cosby" by virtue of his earned doctorate in education.
"He is really the icon of American comedy," Sloan said.
The rally was part inspirational, part promotional.
A half-hour video played on the big screen before Cosby arrived, recalling
friends' memories of Dennehy but also touting new basketball coach Scott Drew
and Sloan's controversial 10-year plan for making Baylor a top-tier university
while strengthening its Christian mission.
Instructing the marching band before it played Baylor's fight song, Cosby
reminded them the rally was not about a sports team but about the students -
and the faculty.
"These are people who are here to teach - and give everyone an 'A!"' Cosby
said of the faculty members.
From his favorite jazz station to the television sports report, Cosby said
news of the Baylor case kept coming at him. He said he felt compassion for
Baylor students dealing with the constant flood and called Sloan to offer to
host the rally.
"It had to do with the fact that I'm 66 years old and I have a love for
each and every one of you," he told students.