To the Baylor Nation -
You are all aware that these are turbulent times in intercollegiate athletics. Fortunately, Baylor is well positioned for the period of change and transition in which we find ourselves. Our athletics program, a perennial Top 40 performer in the final Director's Cup standings and producer of 42 Big 12 championship teams in the league's 15-year history (fifth-most overall behind Texas, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Oklahoma and 13 more than we won in 81 years of SWC membership), has never been stronger.
The performance and great atmosphere you saw in last Friday night's win over 14th-ranked TCU is bigger than one game. It was the result of years of hard work during which time we have invested in our football program, upgraded our athletic facilities and improved our recruitment of top student-athletes, while also ensuring that our student-athlete's academic preparation was second to none. It is no accident that the pieces for long-term athletic success are clearly falling into place.
It is evident to the nation that the Baylor football program is on the move. The TCU win vaulted the Bears to 20th in The Associated Press rankings, our highest ranking in some 20 seasons; we have one of college football's most electrifying players in Heisman candidate Robert Griffin III; and have produced three NFL first- round draft picks since 2009.
The strength of our athletics program goes well beyond the gridiron. Our Lady Bears are defending Big 12 regular-season and tournament champions, and rank No. 1 nationally in at least two 2011-12 preseason polls. The Baylor men's basketball team is one of the 2011-12 Big 12 preseason title favorites and is ranked 9th pre-season by The Sporting News. Moreover, we have numerous teams that will compete for 2011-12 Big 12 championships and extraordinary student-athletes who are achieving academic and athletic success at the highest levels under the leadership of an outstanding group of coaches.
Success was not achieved overnight and has been years in the making. In January 2010, Baylor Athletics completed its five-year, $90 million Victory with Integrity fundraising campaign, which provided funding for numerous athletic facilities. Season ticket sales for the 2011 Baylor football season are the highest in over a decade, the Bear Foundation has enjoyed eight consecutive record-breaking fund-raising years and other external revenue streams, such as corporate sponsorship and licensing revenues, are also at all-time highs. It is indeed a great time to be a Baylor Bear.
The Baylor Nation is strong. It is this strength that is providing the financial resources, facilities, talent, winning tradition and fervent support that is allowing Baylor University to compete at the highest levels of Division I athletics.
Thank you for all you are doing for Baylor.
Director of Athletics