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Baylor Bears

Baylor Bears
Baylor University bear logo.png
School Name: Baylor University
Location: Waco, TX
Arena: Ferrell Center
Capacity: 10,284
Conference: Big 12
Head coach: Scott Drew

The Baylor Bears basketball team represents Baylor University in Waco, Texas, in NCAA Division I men's basketball competition. The Bears currently compete in the Big 12 Conference. The team plays its home games in Ferrell Center and is currently coached by Scott Drew.

History

Early years

Luther Burleson coached the first basketball team at Baylor in 1907 also doubling as the football coach. In Baylor's second season of basketball then cross-town rival TCU began their program which the Bears defeated twice during the 1908-09 season. Ralph Glaze's (1911–1914) .788 winning percentage ranks at the best all time in school history. Ralph Wolf (1927–1941) lead Baylor to its first SWC Championship in 1932 after surviving and overcoming one of the first great tragedies in college athletics in his first season as coach.

Immortal Ten

On January 22, 1927 Coach Ralph Wolf's Baylor Basketball team was travelling by bus to play the University of Texas. As the bus passed through Round Rock, Texas it approached railroad tracks on the south side of the business district on a drizzly, cloudy day. As the bus crossed the tracks the occupants failed to hear the sound of the train whistle and ringing bell. The driver caught sight of the train at the last moment and tried to steer away, but the Sunshine Special crashed into the bus at near 60 mph tearing off the roof and one side. Ten Baylor students and basketball players were killed by the impact. One player, James Clyde "Abe" Kelly, pushed his friend Weir Washam out the window of the bus just moments before impact—saving the life of Washam but costing Kelly his life. "Abe" Kelly's and Robert Hailey's bodies were found horrifically stretched across the cowcatcher on the front of the train with arms locked around each other but Kelly's missing a leg. Ivy Foster Sr. of Taylor, Texas had heard of the accident and rushed to the train station in Taylor to meet the train and assist where needed, only to find his son among the dead. The remainder of the 1927 season was cancelled. The tragedy had reverberations over the entire state and nation, and led to the construction of the first railway overpass in Texas where the event occurred at Round Rock. Busses were later required to come to a full stop and open the door at all rail crossings to listen for trains. The Immortal Ten story has been commemorated each year since 1927 at first in Chapel services then later at the Freshman Mass Meeting during Homecoming Week. The event was also memorialized in bronze on the Baylor campus in Traditions Plaza in 2007.

Post World War II success

Baylor men's teams won five conference championships in the former Southwest Conference (1932, 1946, 1948, 1949*, 1950*; * denotes shared title). The Bears reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 1946, and reached the Final Four in 1948 and 1950. Bill Henderson's 1948 team advanced to play the Kentucky Wildcats for the NCAA championship, but fell 58–42 to Adolph Rupp's first national championship team. The team again advanced to the NCAA Final Four in 1950 under Henderson losing to the Bradley Braves 68-66. Bill Menefee (1962–1973) would lead the Bears to a national ranking in 1969 but failed to make the postseason that year. Menefee was the only coach over the next 50 years to have a career record of over .500, and would later serve as Baylor's athletic director in the 1980's. Gene Iba's 1988 NCAA tournament team would be the first NCAA tournament appearance for the program in 38 years.

2003 scandal

The men's basketball program was plagued by scandal in 2003. Patrick Dennehy, a player for the team, was murdered by a former player teammate; then-coach Dave Bliss was forced to resign amidst allegations that he had made improper financial payments to players and planned to cover his actions by characterizing Dennehy as a drug dealer. The school placed itself on probation, limited itself to 7 scholarships for two years and imposed a post-season ban for one year. Additionally, the NCAA further punished the team by initiating a non-conference ban for the 2005-2006 season and extending the probationary period during which the school would have limited recruiting privileges.

Recent resurgence

The 2005 Bears were hindered by only having 7 scholarship players and recorded only one win in conference play. In spite of these challenges, head coach Scott Drew was able to put together a 2005 signing class ranked No. 7 nationally by HoopScoop.

The basketball program experienced a resurgence under coach Scott Drew with an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2008 for the first time in 20 years with a 9-7 conference record and the team's first national ranking in 39 years. The Jan. 23rd 2008 116-110 5OT win over Texas A&M at College Station officially became the longest game in Big 12 history. The 2008-09 team again was ranked early in the season but stumbled to a 5-11 conference finish before heating up in the Big 12 Tournament defeating both Kansas and Texas in route to the championship game versus Missouri, and lost by a score of 73-60. The 2008-2009 team won the program's first postseason victory since 1950 in its first round NIT victory over the Georgetown Hoyas in Waco.

The 2008-09 team went on to advance to the NIT Final where they fell to Penn State. The 2009-10 squad was again ranked in both polls and pulled off the biggest road win in school history over the then #6 Texas Longhorns in Austin 80-77 on Jan. 30th. The Bears closed out the season with a Big 12 era best 11-5 record and #3 seed in the Big 12 tournament.

The 2009-10 team was picked to finish 10th in the Big 12 in the Big 12 Coaches Poll due to the graduation of several key players from the previous year. However, the team finished the regular season 23-6 and tied for 2nd in the Big 12 standings. Following a 2-1 record at the Big 12 tournament, the Bears were rewarded with a #3 seed in the South Region of the NCAA tournament. The Bears defeated #14 seed Sam Houston State 68-59 in First Round action and then defeated #11 seed Old Dominion 76-68 in Second Round play to advance to the Sweet 16 hosted at Reliant Stadium in Houston. The Bear's Sweet 16 match-up was #10 seed St. Mary's, which had defeated #2 seed Villanova the previous week to advance to the Sweet 16. The Bears won handily over the Gaels, 72-49, after leading 47-19 at the half. The Elite Eight was also hosted at Reliant Stadium and the Bear's opponent was the #1 seed Duke Blue Devils, the last #1 seed standing in the NCAA tournament after the other three #1 seeds (Kansas, Syracuse, and Kentucky) were all defeated by lower seeded teams. In front of a very pro-Baylor crowd of over 47,000, the Bears were defeated by the Duke Blue Devils, 78-71, to end the magical run to the Elite Eight. It was the best season in the Scott Drew era as defined by conference standing, overall ranking, wins, and NCAA tournament wins. The Bears finished the season ranked #10 in the final ESPN/Coaches Poll--the highest ranking in program history at that time.

The 2010-11 team started the season ranked 14th (according to the AP Preseason poll). They started the season 7-0, and ranked all the way up to 9th before falling to Gonzaga at a neutral court in Dallas. The team finished 18-13 overall and 7-9 in league play. The highlight of the season was Lacedarius Dunn becoming the Big XII's all time leading scorer, and a sweep of the series versus ranked Texas A&M. Freshman star Perry Jones III was suspended by the NCAA before the first game of the Big 12 Tournament versus Oklahoma for an offense that took place before he was enrolled at Baylor. With the suspension the Bears lost the game and were shut out of postseason play for the first time since 2007.

Coaching record

Baylor coaching record (through 2010)
Coach Years coached Seasons Wins Losses Percentage Conference titles Template:Abbr Template:Abbr
Luther Burleson 1907–1908 2 10 9 .526
Enoch Mills 1909–1910 2 19 10 .655
Ralph Gaze 1911–1914 3 26 7 .788
Norman Paine 1914 1 1 8 .111
Charles Moseley 1915–1920 6 28 65 .301 0
Frank Bridges 1921–1926 6 51 78 .395 0
Ralph Wolf 1927–1941 15 148 129 .534 1 0 0
Bill Henderson 1942–1943 and 1945–1961 19 201 233 .463 4 3 0
Van Sweet 1944–1945 2 6 27 .182 0 0 0
Bill Menefee 1962–1973 12 149 144 .509 0 0 0
Carroll Dawson 1973–1976 4 42 51 .452 0 0 0
Jim Haller 1976–1985 9 104 130 .444 0 0 0
Gene Iba 1985–1992 7 98 106 .480 0 1 2
Darrell Johnson 1992–1994 2 32 22 .596 0 0 0
Harry Miller 1994–1999 5 56 87 .392 0 0 0
Dave Bliss 1999–2003 4 61 57 .517 0 0 1
Scott Drew 2003–2011 8 127 116 .529 0 2 1
Overall 1907–2011 104 1162 1281 .475 5 6 4

See also

  • Season-by-season results
  • NCAA Men's Division I Final Four appearances by coaches


Conference championships

Men's Basketball
  • Regular Season: 1932, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1950


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