Stanton Steps Down As Athletic Director

Aug. 19, 2003

by Larry D. Brumley


Streaming video of today's announcement is available at BaylorTV.com.

Baylor University Athletic Director Tom Stanton announced today that he is stepping down immediately to pursue other opportunities outside the university. Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. announced on Aug. 8 that Stanton was resigning but would stay on until a replacement was hired.

The university's investigative committee has reported to Sloan that it has seen no evidence revealing that Stanton was aware or had knowledge of the efforts by Dave Bliss to conceal or cover up violations of NCAA or Baylor rules, nor is there evidence Stanton knew of any effort to purposefully violate rules.

"Baylor will always be my school, and I will do absolutely everything I can to help with the ongoing basketball investigation," Stanton said. "These past few months have been the most difficult period of my life. There have been many families that have suffered throughout this ordeal. They have been in my thoughts and prayers. Unfair speculation and innuendo reported in the media have also taken a toll on my family. I believe it is better for me, my family and the university to support Baylor as an alumnus rather than as athletic director at this time.

"Right now, the only thing I know for sure is that I want my departure to contribute to healing the hurt and anger that Baylor supporters feel about recent events in our men's basketball program."

Stanton said last weekend's revelations of Dave Bliss' efforts to enlist the help of players and an assistant coach in his cover-up of infractions in the program were sickening.

"I, too, have been shocked and saddened by the activities of our former men's basketball coach. I feel betrayed and cannot conceive of how he could have justified his actions. I may never understand it."

During his seven-year tenure as athletic director, Baylor has led the Big 12 Conference in graduation rates four out of the last seven years. An unprecedented number of student-athletes has graduated since 1995, including more than 100 this past academic year.

The athletic department has experienced unprecedented levels of success and new growth in capital improvements. A tireless fund-raiser, Stanton has spearheaded the effort for nearly $40 million worth of new athletic facilities, including Baylor's baseball, softball, tennis, golf and soccer programs, while ensuring major renovations on existing facilities serving every other Bear sport.

The capital projects began taking shape in 1998 with the creation of the Julie and Jim Turner Riverfront Athletic Complex, which today joins together the 5,000-seat Baylor Ballpark (baseball), the 1,230-seat Getterman Stadium (softball), the 1,500-seat Baylor Tennis Center and 1,000-seat Betty Lou Mays Soccer Complex along the banks of the Brazos River.

Baylor's football program has seen two major projects completed in the last four years -- a state-of-the-art skybox/press box facility that houses 36 luxury suites and the Dave Campbell Media Center, and a new 8,000 square-foot team locker room with expanded weight and training facilities.

The Ferrell Center, Baylor's basketball and volleyball venue, has had locker rooms, offices and weight rooms expanded and upgraded since the turn of the millennium. A new permanent wood playing surface was finished prior to the 2002-03 school year.

Baylor's golf programs now enjoy the Bill and Roberta Bailey Golf Center, which sits on Waco's newest and Texas' longest public golf course, Bear Ridge. The Bears' storied track and field program has added the Winston Wolfe Clubhouse, a 3,600 square-foot structure with locker, training and meeting facilities.

During the 2002-2003 academic year, Baylor added ProStar videoplus display systems at Floyd Casey Stadium, the Ferrell Center, Baylor Ballpark and Getterman Stadium. Baylor was the first school in the nation to sport a video board at its softball facility.

While putting Baylor on par with the nation's finest from a facilities standpoint, Stanton also has gone to great lengths to make the Bears competitive from a coaching perspective by hiring nationally renowned individuals to lead the various Baylor athletic programs.

Under Stanton, Baylor's ranking in the Sears Directors' Cup rankings has jumped from 125th (1996-97) to a consistent top-quarter finish. Twice in the past four years (39th in 1998-99 and 40th in 2001-02), Baylor has finished among the top 40 nationally. After averaging a league championship every five years in the old Southwest Conference, Baylor has averaged nearly one title per year in the ultra-competitive Big 12.

Stanton was named Baylor's director of athletics June 1, 1996, by president Dr. Robert B. Sloan Jr. Stanton came to Baylor in July 1995 as the director of athletic marketing and promotions following a 22-year career in corporate marketing for Thomas Nelson Inc. and Word Inc.

"Tom Stanton has led Baylor athletics through a period of tremendous growth and accomplishment," Sloan said. "He has been a great fund-raiser, has overseen the planning and construction of one of the finest overall set of athletics facilities in the country and, more importantly, established an environment that allowed our student-athletes to fulfill their potential personally, academically and athletically. The university is greatly indebted to Tom for making Baylor's athletics program one of the top overall programs in the country."

Sloan said that David Brooks, Baylor's vice president for finance and administration, would provide immediate oversight of the athletic department while the university continues its search for a new athletic director.

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