Nov. 25, 2003
Happy Thanksgiving, from all of us at Baylor to all you Bear fans!
We appreciate the overwhelming response we have received to our new feature, Ask Ian, and encourage Baylor fans to continue forwarding their questions and comments. Because of time constraints and the heavy volume of feedback, Ian is not in a position to answer every email. Your ideas are important, though, and all questions submitted are read by Ian. He then selects the questions he wishes to answer in a given week, and prepares his responses which are then posted at BaylorBears.com.
There are some on the BaylorFans.com website who don't think your background as a football AD is strong enough to do the job at Baylor. What are your credentials as a football AD?
I appreciate your question. First, let me state that I view my role as Director of Athletics as a facilitator of each head coach and their respective programs. I will work with the head coaches, encourage them, and supervise and support their programs. However, my role is not to play Monday morning quarterback, micro-manage or call plays as some individuals might suspect.
As for my experience and football credentials, I have been fortunate to work with some outstanding head football coaches (including Guy Morriss, Kirk Ferentz, Tommy Bowden, Buddy Teevens, Mark Whipple and Don Brown) and successful programs. The UMass team that I left in midseason this year is 10-2 and ranked 6th in Division I-AA. At Northeastern, I hired Don Brown who led the Huskies to an 18-6 record in the last two years, the first conference championship in the 80-year history of the program and back-to-back Top 20 I-AA rankings. At Tulane, I conducted the search that culminated in the hiring of Tommy Bowden who in 1998 led Tulane to a 12-0 record and was ranked 7th in the nation.
Hopefully this answers your question and concerns.
Hey Ian, glad to have you on board. I was just wondering the reason we only have one recruit signed as of National Signing Day. Is it just that Scott Drew arrived here so late and we were so far behind or is there just some hesitancy with some recruits to come to Baylor? We seem to be losing some guys to schools like Sam Houston State and Wichita State. How are you guys planning to attack this? Thanks and I wish you great success.
We are extremely excited about the outstanding recruiting work of Coach Drew and his staff. As you may know, HoopScoop recently ranked Baylor's recruiting class 36th in the nation out of 327 teams. This is an extraordinary accomplishment especially considering that Coach Drew was hired in late August.
Center Mamadou Diane of Senegal was ranked as a top 40 recruit and is regarded as the top NBA prospect from Africa and guard Aaron Bruce from Australia is a top international point guard who should make an immediate contribution. Not reflected in the recruiting rankings is Tim Bush, a 6-foot-6 forward who will transfer to Baylor from LSU and become eligible in December of 2004. Coach Drew will be adding to this list during the late signing period in April.
All of this is a cause for great optimism about the future of Baylor basketball!
We still live in a free country and I understand that people make choices based on what they believe is best for them. However, so many players from Texas leave the state and go on to play with other Big 12 teams and/or other conferences from throughout the country! That greatly disappoints and frustrates many of us. Also, many of these athletes come from families who are active in the Baptist faith. How can Baylor improve its strategy in presenting the university and going after these talented players who are simply "getting away"? Gracias y que Dios bendiga a Baylor. (Thank you and may God bless Baylor).
Thanks for your excellent question.
My vision for Baylor Athletics is to position it as the preeminent Baptist/Christian/Protestant athletic program in America and garner the same appeal among this community as Notre Dame achieves among the Catholic community. We want Baptist/Christian/Protestant prospective student-athletes to grow up dreaming of competing for Baylor University.
To achieve this position, we will achieve greater athletic success and thereby increase the visibility of Baylor. We need to strengthen our relationships with Christian organizations including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Athletes in Action. Finally, I support our coaches broadening their recruiting bases to attract Christian prospective student-athletes from around the country who are excited about Baylor because of its Christian environment and mission.
Hello and welcome to Baylor! My question was about the Baylor Golden Wave Band. What are your feelings about the band traveling to more away games with the football team? Having played in it a couple of years ago, we were great supporters of the football program and enjoyed following them. I think the band has a first class program and would be an added support for the team during away games. Thanks!
I agree that Baylor is fortunate to have such an outstanding band. We are proud of the Golden Wave Band and the way that it represents our teams and the institution. I would wholeheartedly support the band traveling more often to away football games.
Also, we are working with the band and football coaching staff in order to build an appropriate component into the pre-game presentation where the football team recognizes and expresses its appreciation to the band through the playing of "That Good Old Baylor Line." This will be an exciting addition for next season.
Thanks for your question and support!
I just want to say it's great having you aboard with all of us Baylor fans. Well I was just wondering about a rumor. I have heard from many of my friends and family that Baylor will be leaving the Big 12 in the next couple of years. Is this true? I sure hope not. The only reason I think anyone feels this way because the past couple of years the Bears football hasn't been competitive enough. WHICH they haven't but when you look at other sports such as baseball, women's basketball, tennis, and cross country they have been just as competitive as every other school in the conference. Thanks!
Thanks for your question. We need to put to rest for good any "commitment to the Big 12" rumors or questions.
I can assure you that Baylor is fully committed to membership in the Big 12 Conference. Moreover, the Big 12 is equally committed to Baylor University. Baylor is a leading academic institution in the conference, has enjoyed considerable broad-based competitive success and holds a key market in Central Texas.
In speaking with Big 12 Commissioner Kevin Weiberg, he has assured me that member institution presidents, athletic directors, faculty athletics representatives and head coaches have unequivocally affirmed Baylor in the conference.
Baylor and the Big 12 will have a long and bright future together!!!
What made you move from UMass to Baylor? Good luck you did a great job for UMass.
Thank you for the kind words and your question.
Obviously, I had no intention of leaving UMass so soon when I signed on in the summer of 2002. UMass is my alma mater, our family was building our "dream house" in South Deerfield and I looked forward to working with Chancellor Lombardi and advancing the athletic program.
However, in early September I received a call from Bob Beaudine, president of the search firm representing Baylor, who asked me to prayerfully consider this opportunity. Ironically, I had been asked by Bob a year earlier about schools that I could consider five or 10 years in the future. Baylor was at the top of the list in large part due to the Christian mission of the institution.
Baylor represents the pinnacle personal and professional opportunity for me wherein I am able to serve an outstanding private academic institution in a Christian environment and work with an exciting athletic program that competes in perhaps the premiere athletic conference in the country. It truly is an ideal vocation, avocation and calling.
Best wishes to you and the Minutemen for continued success!
I'm a current student here at Baylor and I've been a part of the proud few who actually stay the entire time for football games. In your last chat session, you mentioned that you wanted to build the student fan base first in order to start branding Baylor better. Now that there's been some time, what programs are you anticipating for students and will there be any input from the students on these programs? Thanks and good luck!
Thanks for your question and loyal support of Baylor Athletics.
Last week I was asked about our top marketing priority. My answer was to attract more students to our games. In my view, 1,000 students dressed in green and gold, with faces painted and cheering enthusiastically, creates more energy and atmosphere than 5,000 fans from the general public. We need our students supporting our teams and creating that type of excitement at our games.
Our marketing staff and I do want to hear from you about how we can build student fan support. We will be reaching out to student leaders, fraternities, sororities and others to seek to build a core group of students who will provide this type of leadership.
Why is there still a hold up on clearance for Corey Herring and Harvey Thomas to play basketball this season? It seems to me there has been plenty of time. Why have they not received clearance by Baylor and the NCAA? It seems very unfair to me that they still have not been cleared to play. Would you address this issue please!
Dr. Frank D. Ward
Thank you for the question.
Baylor has a three-person team of attorneys from the Law School working with outside counsel and the NCAA on the investigation. This process is lengthy, complicated and delicate, and therefore this team will go to appropriate lengths to insure that everything is in order before certifying a student-athlete eligible for competition.
As you know, Corey Herring was certified in advance of the first game of the regular season, and we are hopeful that Harvey Thomas will be certified in the near future.