From the sports enthusiasts watching football and basketball games on television to the thousands of fans and alumni who journey to campus each year to catch a game, Baylor Athletics is the "front porch" through which many people learn about this institution - and through which many students make their decisions to attend Baylor.
Key to Baylor's success are recruiting and retaining both male and female student-athletes who excel in their sports while also placing value on education and recruiting and retaining successful coaches who believe in the mission of the University. Athletic facilities must be fitted with the latest advances in training and support for student-athletes. Coaches must have access to technologies and teaching and training methods that provide the best opportunities for their student-athletes to grow.
Fans require attention to the environment and amenities where they invest their time and resources and expect a vibrant and enjoyable experience. While Baylor has made great strides in the past five years to upgrade its facilities and to remain competitive with the other members of the Big 12 Conference, significant needs remain. And just as our athletes push to be better every day, our facilities must continuously improve as well. Remaining competitive and creating engaging fan experiences that draw people to campus require that Baylor continue to invest in athletics spaces.
Several facility projects have emerged as priorities of the athletics master plan. Baylor recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Ferrell Center with a retrospective that looked back on September 22, 1988, when then-president Ronald Reagan spoke in the brand new arena. Today, the Ferrell Center is the oldest intercollegiate athletics facility on campus. Baylor plans to develop a new fieldhouse concept that takes its lessons from other Power 5 schools who have renovated or constructed smaller venues that create a more intimate atmosphere that elevates home-court advantage and focuses on fan experience.
Construction of a football operations center that would house coaches' offices and include meeting rooms, weight rooms, rehab, and sports nutrition support would enhance the overall complement of resources for the football program. Once complete, the vacated space in Simpson Athletics and Academic Center - where football operations now resides - would be used for additional academic support and student success services.
Rounding out the plan is a venue where Baylor's volleyball and acrobatics and tumbling teams would practice. Currently utilizing the 80-year-old Marrs McLean Gymnasium, these nationally ranked programs have increasing demands for student-athlete support and substantial needs to engage a loyal and growing fan base.
Each of us has been entrusted with a great light that can illuminate the path for future generations. When the Baylor Family gives financially to support University priorities, we give light to Baylor's bright future.