Baylor’s glittering new stadium opens in 2014. Baylor coach Art Briles never gets tired of talking about the new home of the Bears, but his message never varies much.
“The new stadium coming in, I don’t want to get redundant, but what it’s going to do is not just change Baylor, but it’s going to change Waco and central Texas, because it’s on I‑35, the Brazos River,” Briles said.
“If it sounds rehearsed, I’ve said it a million times. There’s people going to drive by there with 6‑year‑olds and 86‑year‑olds in their vehicle, and they’re going to look over there.
“Where they’ve driven straight by for the previous 50 years, they’re going to look over and say, that’s Baylor University? That’s that stadium on the Brazos River? That’s their campus? That’s unique. That’s different. That’s something I want my grandchildren to be a part of and as a 6‑year‑old I want to be a part of.”
Of course, the stadium opens at a perfect time. Baylor is coming off three straight bowl seasons, including 10-3 and 8-5 records the last two years, and now the Bears are picked fifth in the Big 12. They received the first two first-place votes in the Baylor’s Big 12 history.
“I don’t know how many people vote, I guess 25,” Briles said (actually 43). “I was wondering why those other 23 didn’t believe in us. It just shows, I think, that we’re gaining some respect. We’re certainly not where we need to be or want to be or going to be, but we got one foot out of the water and on the land. We’re gaining ground.
“That’s what we’ll continue to keep doing by recruiting good kids, coaching them hard, and letting them play hard on Saturdays.”