Baylor Bear Foundation
Similar to Forrest Gump and his childhood sweetheart, Jenny, the Baylor Lady Bears' broadcasting tandem of Rick May and Lori Fogleman are "like peas and carrots."
"There's just a comfort level when she's sitting there beside me," said May, the radio play-by-play voice of the Lady Bears for the last 22 years. "And it's a big hole when she's not there. . . . I've worked with Jim Haller and Phyllis Gamble, and I love working with both of them, but it's not like working with Lori. It's just not Lori."
May and Fogleman, who is in her 20th season providing analysis for the broadcasts, announced earlier that this is their final season and they will be honored prior to Saturday's 1 p.m. game at the Ferrell Center that pits the third-ranked Lady Bears (24-1, 14-0) against the Kansas Jayhawks (11-14, 2-12).
"Kim (Mulkey) and her staff treat us like one of their own," Fogleman said. "They have taken Rick and me and our families, and really the entire Baylor family, on an incredible ride over the past 18 seasons. And we've been alongside to watch her and her staff and her players develop Baylor into one of the premier programs in women's basketball."
Other than a handful of games between them, Rick and Lori have been there every step of the way on a journey that has included the 2005 and 2012 national championships, the 2010 Final Four and Elite Eight berths for the last four years in a row.
"It's just a dream come true," May said. "There's maybe other schools that you could broadcast for, or other places that you could go, but this has just been an unbelievable ride."
May, who had worked in radio and done high school football play-by-play for many years, took over the Lady Bear job in 1996.
"I wasn't going to wait for them to ask me, I asked for it," he said. "And I was just absolutely thrilled to get to do it. It's been a real highlight of my life."
Fogleman, who had worked for KWTX radio and television for the previous decade, joined May on the broadcast after she came to Baylor in May 1998 in the university marketing and communications department. She now serves as Assistant Vice President for Media Communications.
"Thank goodness I went to work alongside Rick May, because Rick is such a seasoned play-by-play announcer that he allowed me to find my way," Fogleman said. "It took a while. It's not as easy as it looks, and sometimes I still trip all over myself."
Over the course of time, May said, they developed a chemistry where "she knows just when to jump in there. We don't step on each other, neither one of us talking over the other one at the same time."
Friends on and off the court who share a love of music, Rick and Lori have family dinners together and will text each other while watching games at home.
"Lori has called me her radio husband, and she certainly is my radio wife, there's no doubt about it," May said.
Fogleman remembers a return trip from Nebraska when the team got to the plane before the flight crew had a chance to get there and warm it up, "and it was like sitting in a deep freezer, times 20."
"All we kept thinking was, 'Thank God we won,''' she said. "Rick and I were so cold, we had bundled up in everything we had and had a couple blankets around us. It took us all the way back to Waco before we started to feel even a little bit on the warm side.
"We always sit together on the plane. And whether we're comfortable on the plane or freezing, we're both together, to take care of one another."
Asked for a handful of their most memorable games, their lists are almost identical. Both bring up beating Texas Tech in Lubbock for the first time in 32 years and the win over the Lady Raiders a month later that clinched Baylor's first Big 12 championship.
"You'll remember, that was when all the girls jumped up on the scorer's table, and all the fans stayed and were out on the floor," May said. "'We are the Champions' played and the confetti fell. Just the celebration and the elation the fans felt and we had and the players, that was just an incredible moment."
Rick actually missed one of those moments, when "Voice of the Bears" John Morris filled in for him at the Lady Bears' first NCAA Tournament game in 2001. The same day Baylor played Arkansas in a first-round game in Durham, N.C., Rick was walking his daughter, Chrissy, down the aisle at her wedding.
"They came to me the previous year and said they were getting married and wanted to know when the season was over," he said. "And I said, 'Well, we play the Big 12 Tournament on these days in early March, and that will be it.' So, they scheduled the wedding for the weekend after that. Who knew we were going to make the NCAA Tournament?
"At the wedding, I've got an earplug in my ear listening to the game, and Chrissy's telling me, 'Dad, we've got to go down the aisle.' And I tell her, 'No, hold on, I've got to hear the end of the game.' I wasn't going to walk down that aisle until I heard what happened."
That was the first of many times that Mulkey said, "Family comes first."
"She was more than OK with me walking down the aisle," he said.
As hard as it is to name a favorite player after all these years - "you're asking me to name a favorite child," Lori said - neither one of them hesitated more than a beat in saying Chameka Scott. Part of the 2005 national championship team, Scott died last month after a courageous battle with cancer.
"I'm going to get emotional," May said, "but it's going to be Chameka Scott. There's others. Like you said, it's a family. But, Chameka was just special."
Lori added former All-American forward Nina Davis, who granted every interview request, "even though it may have been the most heartbreaking moment."
"I think all of us wanted Nina to make it to a Final Four, just because of the wonderful woman she was and the player that would do anything to make the team better, even if it meant stepping aside after an All-American year," she said.
Another lasting memory for Lori was having her daughter, Emilie, "sitting in between Rick and me for many broadcasts as she grew up."
"She experienced some unbelievable wins (and some crushing losses) alongside us," she said, "but what a wonderful experience to share with my daughter. Of course, then she worked for Athletics while she was a student at Baylor. It's in her DNA!"
Since "we have so much left to play for," Lori said she tries not to think about her pending retirement and walking away from the mic for the final time. "But, I know it will hit me when next season rolls around."
Even though she knew this day was coming, Mulkey said, "We're going to miss them."
"We're all going to retire at some time," Mulkey said. "I just wish they could have hung on until I retired. They're all I've ever known in radio. Whoever replaces them . . . good luck, because they're following two very, very good announcers, but two very good people and people who love Lady Bear basketball. The team and the school are going to miss them on a professional level, but I'm going to miss them on a personal level. We have had some wonderful, wonderful memories."
Rick said his "dream scenario" for his last season is the Lady Bears making it to another Final Four and beating UConn to win it all.
"I can go out a happy camper if that happens," he said. "I would hold up the headphones and drop them. Somebody else can pick up the equipment."