Fallon Presented With BU Communications Award

Aug. 31, 2001

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Legendary Baylor University broadcaster Frank Fallon was presented with the 2001 Baylor Communications Award, one of several highlights during the annual President’s Media Luncheon Aug. 29 on the Baylor campus.

A crowd of more than 170 people in Barfield Drawing Room gave the venerable “Voice of Baylor” a minute-long standing ovation, as Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. presented Fallon with the award. The Baylor Communications Award was established in 1995 to honor those individuals who have distinguished themselves in the field of communications and in their communities.

With his family and friends looking on, Sloan praised Fallon, who has taught broadcasting courses at Baylor since the early 80s, as a remarkable example of what it means to be an educator and a Christian servant.

“I suspect that perhaps the greatest tribute that you have received and continue to receive is from the lives of your students, the thousands that you have nurtured,” Sloan said. “One of the most remarkable experiences that I have when I think of Baylor educators is to listen to a Baylor baseball game, hear the Baylor student who is there and then to hear Frank Fallon, the consummate professional, one of the greatest in the world, sitting there alongside the student, always nurturing, teaching and providing help to that student.”

The "Voice of Baylor"

For more than four decades, Fallon was the “Voice of the Baylor Bears” as he described the action of hundreds of Baylor football and basketball games. From 1987 until his retirement in 1995, Fallon’s broadcast partner during football season was Baylor graduate John Morris. Now Baylor’s top play-by-play broadcaster, Morris was asked to share some remarks about the man he considers a mentor and close friend.

“This award has special meaning to Frank as it is a part of his more than 50-year association with the university,” Morris said. “I can tell you through all the many hours we’ve spent together that Baylor and the people who represent Baylor have a very special meaning to Frank and his family. Frank has also always enjoyed his relationship with the members of the media who have been so kind in their comments toward Baylor and his efforts.”

In addition to his Baylor broadcasts, Fallon called Texas high school football games for 45 years and was nationally known for his two decades as the public address “Voice of the NCAA Final Four.” His career included television play-by-play of Southwest Conference basketball games for NBC and ESPN, a 29-year stint as general manager of KWTX Radio in Waco and more than a decade as Baylor’s coordinator of broadcast activities.

Fallon’s numerous awards include being named to the Texas Sportswriters Association’s list of Top 10 All-Time Radio Play-by-Play Announcers; five-time winner of the Texas Association of Broadcasters (TAB) Sportscaster of the Year award; seven-time winner of the Associated Press Best Radio Play-By-Play Announcer award; member of Baylor Hall of Honor; inductee into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame; and honorary member of the Texas High School Football Coaches Association.

Fallon and his wife of 50 years, June, have four sons, Steve, Mark, Mike and Kyle, and four grandchildren, Stephanie, James, Sean and Sarah.

The luncheon also included preseason comments from Baylor coaches Dave Luedtke (women’s tennis), Sylvia Ferdon (women’s golf), Kevin Steele (football) and Tim Hobby (men’s golf); the presentation of a Big 12 Men’s Golf Championship ring from Hobby to Sloan; a video tribute to Fallon; and the president’s university update, which was highlighted by “video tours” of the new Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center, the under-construction George W. Truett Theological Seminary and soon-to-be-completed Bear Ridge Golf Course.

President Addresses Enrollment, Ten-Year Vision

The audience of local and regional media, Baylor administrators, faculty and student leaders, and other invited guests also heard the president talk about several issues at the beginning of fall semester, including university’s expected record fall enrollment of almost 14,000 students.

“I have to say it’s not our intent to set a new record every year,” Sloan said. “Although we are happy with the great demand we have, I think we would like to see the number of entering freshmen level out and if at all possible see our undergraduate population over the next decade perhaps decline a little bit.”

The president did, however, point out one record he does expect this year, as well as next year — a record of outstanding scholastic achievement by Baylor’s entering freshmen, who have attained progressively higher scores on the college boards, particularly the SAT, and the high school GPA index.

Sloan also spoke about Baylor’s “Campaign for Greatness,” a $500 million endowment campaign beginning in October to fund scholarships, chair and professorships, and academic programs. The president also spent some time addressing the university’s “Ten-Year Vision,” a document that embodies the collective dreams of the Baylor family.

“Our 2012 vision that runs from January 2002 to January 2012 is a task that has engaged us deeply as a university over the last 12 months,” he said. “It has been a project of partnership, and I really want to thank students, staff and faculty and regents and alumni who have participated in it.

Sloan said that vision statements such as the one Baylor is preparing are perceived at times as “merely cosmetic enterprises” before a major fundraising campaign. Baylor’s president said that is “absolutely not the case.”

“This vision is something that we intend to implement,” he said.

The document’s key components dwell on the building of community at Baylor, in both student life and academic programming, including a call for the dramatic reduction of student-to-faculty ratios from the nearly 19-to-1 now to 14-to-1 over 10 years.

“We believe the community experience embodies academically, personally and socially what we are about as a university with our church-related heritage,” Sloan said. “This vision statement calls for a very significant investment of resources in student life and student experiences and to obtain the faculty to make the reduction in class sizes possible,” Sloan said.

Baylor’s board of regents is expected to take action on the “Ten-Year Vision” this fall. The document will be made public in January 2002.

Construction Projects on Horizon

In addition to the law center, seminary and golf course, Sloan said Baylor has completed the renovation of the football locker rooms, which doubled in size to nearly 8,000 square feet, and strength and conditioning rooms at Floyd Casey Stadium. Construction soon will be finished, Sloan said, on the Grant Teaff Plaza, which honors Baylor’s former head football coach as well as some of the university’s greatest athletes. The plaza is located in front of the entrance to the football stadium’s press box.

Construction on two projects could begin as early as December on the Harry and Anna Jeanes Discovery Center, the centerpiece of the Sue and Frank Mayborn Natural Science and Cultural History Museum Complex, and the Stacy Riddle Forum, which will house panhellenic groups. Sloan also said Baylor also is committed to beginning work, possibly within 12-18 months, on a new $90 million science complex.

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