Walter Abercrombie, BSEd '86, MSEd '92
Associate Director of Athletics - “B” Association
Baylor Football team member (1978-1981)
1978 Southwest Conference Freshman of the Year
1980, 1981 First-Team All-Southwest Conference
1982 NFL First-Round Draft Pick (Philadelphia Eagles)
College Football Hall of Fame member Grant Teaff, the coach for whom I played at Baylor, often said, “To be a champion on the field means to be a champion off the field, in the classroom and in every aspect of your life.” Being a champion on the field requires habits that don’t stop in athletics. Those same habits have to be exhibited in all aspects of life to be a true champion.
As a Christian institution, it is paramount that our student-athletes exhibit good sportsmanship. It also means being the very best you can be, and that takes an everyday commitment. Success — in athletics, in academics, in all areas of life — is contagious. Student-athletes who thrive in areas of their lives away from athletics feed off each other in all aspects of life.
“To be a champion on the field means to be a champion off the field, in the classroom and in every aspect of your life.”
This has an impact that reaches far beyond the athletics programs, which provide a window to Baylor. It is through that window that many people throughout the country learn about the University and what it has to offer. Baylor’s athletics programs attract people that then can become involved with the University in more ways than sports.
Our athletics programs are also important sources of pride for our students, faculty and staff, and alumni. Not everyone loves sports, but the atmosphere surrounding a game draws people together. There is a social aspect to a football game — everything from tailgating to the Golden Wave Band to the Baylor Line — that allows football fans and non-football fans alike an opportunity to spend time together and rally around a common identity as Baylor Bears.
Athletics events can be a break from the everyday routine for all who attend. There are aspects to the events that provide entertainment beyond the game itself. And fans have the opportunity to see quality competition at the highest level.
When I was a Baylor student, I did not fully understand what makes Baylor a special place. As I have traveled and visited other universities through the years, it has become apparent to me that Baylor is special because of the Christian element and the Baptist affiliation. Many people question whether it is possible to get a quality education in a Christian environment. It is possible at Baylor. And, it is happening.
Academic expectations at Baylor are high, and our student-athletes are a part of that. Several of our programs are among the nation’s best-performing teams academically. This, too, provides the University with a source of pride.
Our student-athletes carry a responsibility into the community, both locally and abroad. These young people have developed championship bodies and mentalities. Student-athletes are often under a microscope. Yet, when our student-athletes step out of the Baylor community, they can be a beacon of light. Their presence and attitudes can make people say, “There is an impressive young man or young woman.”