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Think positive, look to Baylor's other sports

Nov. 18, 1999

I am here to inform you that Baylor has more sporting programs than our football and basketball teams. In fact, Baylor is a heavy contender in the mighty super Big 12 Conference, ranking fourth last year in total sports. Only Nebraska, Texas and Texas A&M were better.

Though football and men's basketball have recently been in the gutter, several other sports have been prominent in the nation. The men's tennis team is ranked No.9 in the country and lost in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last spring to the eventual champions Georgia Bulldogs. Women's soccer has been nationally ranked the past two years with two NCAA Tournament appearances. Baseball was one of eight schools to host the first ever Super Regionals in the NCAA baseball tournament.

Baylor is continuing to make waves with its athletic programs due to young, enthusiastic coaches, well-rounded athletes and new facilities. Baylor teams ranked nationally in several sports; women's indoor track and field, men's indoor and outdoor track and field, men's tennis, baseball, women's soccer, volleyball, women's tennis and men's golf.

Baylor finished tied for 39th in the nation according to the Sears Directors' Cup Competition for overall sports success. Joining Baylor were the University of Alabama and Florida State University and Texas A&M was 38th. Everyone has heard of those schools, so that shows the green and gold is in good company. Baylor improved 26 notched form the 1997-1998 year, and already this year Baylor has improved with both men's and women's golf and volleyball.

The new facilities are leading to future recruiting where Baylor should gain an advantage over the sister Texas schools and the rest of the nation. Revamping of the softball and baseball fields at Ferrell Field are already landing new baseball recruits who have turned down Texas A&M and Texas due to the commitment in bettering the program here under Coach Steve Smith. Another venue is the tennis complex that should be started and completed within a year to host the 2001 Big 12 Tennis Tournament. The New Soccer Complex has already been appealing for soccer recruits as Coach Nick Cowell had numerous girls visit during the home games, who were very impressed with the new facility and the growth of the program. Over at football, a new state-of-the-art press box, named after former Baylor football coach Grant Teaff, will spread dividends into the next millennium with the rebuilding process.

When students mutter, 'Baylor is going to be kicked out of the Big 12,' they are flat out wrong. The Big 12 Commissioner Kevin Weiberg said he was impressed with Baylor's stature and commitment to improving the programs. He added that Baylor is a mainstay for the Big 12.

Men's basketball has a proven bona fide winner at th helm now in Dave Bliss. He already has garnered a Top 20 recruiting class for this season and has picked up a transfer from SMU, Chad Elsey, who averaged over 13 points last season. Mike DeGrate, Caro Nobles, Matt Sayman and Logan Kosmalski have come on as early signees from high schools. Last year's 6-24 team has but three players remaining this season, with the additions of junior college transfers DeMarcus Minor, Terry Black and Charles Naihe.

Travis Tholen is a senior business journalism major from Tulsa, Okla.