Floyd Casey farewell is big game for No. 9 Baylor

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 4, 2013 at 5:40 pm •  Published: December 4, 2013

WACO, Texas (AP) — Grant Teaff felt a bit nauseous the first time he saw Baylor's football stadium.

No practice fields, no weight room, no space for staff meetings. The home of the Bears wasn't much back in 1972.

"I went from horror-stricken to deep embedded love for a place," said Teaff, the Baylor coach from 1972-92. "It was one that made me want to throw up when I first saw it, until making me cry when I leave."

Now two decades after his last game, Teaff is feeling emotional about Floyd Casey Stadium. The No. 9 Bears will close down the stadium Saturday after 64 seasons Saturday in the season finale against No. 23 Texas, when they can clinch at least a share of their first Big 12 title.

The Bears are leaving Floyd Casey and will have a campus home for the first time since 1935, when they open next season inside the $260 million Baylor Stadium being built along the Brazos River and busy Interstate 35. They're going out on a high note.

Baylor (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) has matched a school record by winning its last nine home games, and won 22 of its last 25 games there, including 2011 when Robert Griffin III won the Heisman Trophy. They have beaten the last five Top 25 opponents to visit Waco, with top-ranked BCS team Kansas State losing last year.

"It's unlike anything I can imagine," said Walter Abercrombie, executive director of Baylor's "B'' Association of former letter winners and a running back for the 1980 Southwest Conference championship team. "Six years ago, we were trying to pull ourselves out of the belly, the dungeon, the bottom pits of college football. ... It's a return to significance."

For the final game, there are 10 players from the 1950 team that was the first to play at the stadium scheduled to attend. Players from different decades have been recognized at each home game this year.

The stadium about four miles off campus was built for $1.5 million. It became known as Floyd Casey Stadium in 1989, renamed after the family who contributed most of the $8 million for a renovation project, though there had already been many significant changes under Teaff.

When Teaff arrived at the world's largest Baptist university after the 1971 season, there wasn't even space for staff meetings. He took over a concrete-block room underneath the stadium that had housed the athletic department's "universal gym" — the only piece of weight training equipment there. Teaff was then told he'd have to raise $50,000 if he wanted a weight room. He had the money about a week later with the help of someone who thought the coach wouldn't take it since it was donated stock in a beer company.

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