YEAR IN REVIEW BAYLOR ATHLETICS 2017-18
PREPARING CHAMPIONS FOR LIFE
YEAR IN REVIEW BAYLOR ATHLETICS 2017-18
A SPECIAL MESSAGE from Mack B. Rhoades, IV
At the core of what we do, we are educators, and that is a responsibility that exists beyond the field of play. Athletic competition is just one portion of the process of developing student-athletes. There is also a need to help them achieve academically, to be leaders in their communities, to care for others and to grow in their faith – all of which are foundational aspects of the Baylor experience. This is a place where elite performance and Christian commitment co-exist. I am grateful to our incredible Baylor community, whose support enables us to carry out this worthwhile mission. Together, we celebrate another successful year and lock arms as we work toward an even brighter future.
Mack B. Rhoades, IV Vice President & Director of Intercollegiate Athletics
Senior Administration Mack B. Rhoades, IV, Vice President & Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jeramiah Dickey, Associate Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dawn Rogers, Deputy Athletics Director Kenny Boyd, Senior Associate AD | Student-Athlete Health & Wellness Paul Bradshaw, Senior Associate AD | Internal Affairs Chad Jackson, Senior Associate AD | Compliance Marcus Sedberry, Senior Associate AD | Student-Athlete Success Doug Smith, Executive Associate AD | Development/Major Gifts Walter Abercrombie, Associate AD | “B” Association Cody Hall, Associate AD | Financial Services Henry Howard, Associate AD | Facilities & Operations Mitch Mann, Associate AD | Baylor Bear Foundation Jovan Overshown, Associate AD | Branding & Engagement Nancy Post, Associate AD | Business Operations Year In Review Publisher: Jovan Overshown Editor in Chief: Jerry Hill Managing Editor: Courtney Scrivano Designer: Chanelle Smith-Walker
TABLE OF CONTENTS 06
Editor's Corner with Jerry Hill
Sport Program Highlights
Preparing Champions for Life
Annual Giving: A Banner Year
Get To Know Nick Florence
I THINK WE CAN “ Editor's HAVE IT ALL.
Corner BY JERRY HILL
More than ever, Mack Rhoades believes that Baylor can be the light for others to see that “this is the way college athletics can be done.” “I think we can have it all,” said Rhoades, who wrapped up his second year as Baylor’s Vice President and Director of Athletics in July. “We don’t have to just be good in athletics and not be great in academics, not be great in the character formation piece, not be great in the spiritual growth piece... We can be one of the best, we can win national championships, and yet not compromise those other three pillars.” As you review the pages of this publication, you will find that Baylor Athletics is winning on and off the field in our quest to Prepare Champions for Life. While there were certainly struggles and challenges along the way, 18 of the 19 teams advanced to postseason play during the past year; earning four more Big 12 trophies (soccer, baseball and women’s basketball regular season and tournament); Acrobatics and Tumbling won its fourth consecutive national championship; men’s and women’s golf made it to the NCAA Championships; and soccer made its deepest NCAA run in program history. But, as Rhoades puts it, “there’s so much more to the student-athlete experience than just the competition piece.” In the classroom, 108 student-athletes graduated during the 2017-18 academic year; Baylor has led the Big 12 in graduation success rate for the last four years; and the department has posted eight consecutive semesters of an overall GPA of 3.20 or higher. This spring alone, 45 student-athletes earned
Mack B. Rhoades, IV
a perfect 4.0 and men’s golf had its highest-ever spring term GPA. Beyond our walls, Baylor student-athletes volunteered more than 1,500 hours of community service; the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) collected a two week supply of food for 30 local families during the holiday season; and there were mission trips to Puerto Rico, Ghana, Guatemala and Mexico, where the volleyball team built a house in two days. Additionally, in overall development, studentathletes were offered six financial education workshops and nine career development programs and participated in a minimum of five hours of Title IX training. “I think the thing that I’m most excited about is just the trajectory and where we’re headed,” Rhoades said. “I think we can be and will be great in all four pillars. How do we become transformational in those four areas, so that we become one of the best in the country? We need to be the example, this should be the model.” Achieving this bold vision would not be possible without the support of our incredible donors. In a season when there have been some challenges and struggles, the Baylor Family has responded with another record-setting year of giving, demonstrating their belief in the mission of Baylor Athletics and our dedicated student-athletes. We hope you enjoy this special year-in-review as we look ahead to bigger and better things in the coming academic year.
The Four Pillars Preparing Champions for Life AthleticSuccess Success Athletic
AcademicAchievement Achievement Academic
Competing with Excellence and Representing Baylor on a National Stage
Achieving Your Personal Best and Laying a Foundation for the Future
Developing the Whole Person and Preparing for a Life Beyond Sports
Growing in Faith and Intentionally Living a Life of Purpose
We pursue excellence in all aspects, from wellness to training to competition.
We embrace the value of a Baylor education.
We provide resources for student-athletes to cultivate healthy habits for a lifetime of success.
We embrace Baylorâ€™s deeply rooted commitment to faith.
We hold student-athletes accountable for attitude, effort, preparation and performance.
We are committed to helping student-athletes push their limits to achieve their personal best in the classroom and beyond.
We believe championships are realized when the proper foundation is laid and the right support is provided.
We believe success in academics lays a strong foundation for life after college.
We help student-athletes envision and prepare for a future beyond college athletics. We believe practical life skill development is as important as academic and athletic pursuits.
Our Christian heritage is woven into everything we do. We strive to create tangible opportunities for studentathletes to explore and live out their personal faith.
Athletic Success 31 Student-Athletes earned 42 All-America awards Soccer won its third Big 12 title on a golden goal victory over TCU to advance to its first NCAA Championship since 2012. The team made their first Elite Eight appearance in program history. Women’s basketball won its eighth-straight Big 12 regular-season championship, going undefeated (18-0) to claim the title. It is the third time the Lady Bears have run the table in the conference regular season. Women’s basketball won three games in three days in dominant fashion, besting opponents by an average of 27.7 points per game to hoist the program’s ninth Big 12 Championship trophy. Baseball won its first Big 12 tournament title in program history to secure a second consecutive NCAA Regional appearance. Acrobatics and Tumbling won its fourth-straight NCATA National Championship, registering an undefeated season for the third time in program history and the third time in the last four years.
OF 19 SPORTS SECURED
Academic Achievement Baylor saw 108 student-athletes earn degrees this year. A total of 104 earned undergraduate degrees and four earned advanced degrees. Baylor student-athletes are on a streak of 20-straight semesters with a 3.0 GPA or higher, which is current through the Spring 2018 semester. Four Baylor athletics programs earned NCAA Division I Academic Performance Program awards for scoring in the Top 10 percent nationally in Academic Progress Rate (APR) in their respective sports (baseball, menâ€™s basketball, softball and soccer). Softball has received an Academic Performance Program award for APR seven times in the last eight years. Nine of 15 Baylor athletics programs tracked by the NCAA matched or improved upon their APR scores from the previous year. Baseball, menâ€™s basketball, soccer and softball registered perfect one-year APR scores of 1,000, which leads the Big 12 Conference. Each athletics program recorded an APR score of at least 950 this year, up three points from the previous release. Since joining the Big 12 in 1996, Baylor has had 1,831 student-athletes earn undergraduate degrees and 93 earn advanced degrees.
Character Formation Student-athletes have logged more than 1,500 volunteer hours in the Waco community. The Student-Athlete Center for Excellence (SACE) conducted nine career development programs with student-athletes. Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades hosted five Executive Board Breakfast Meetings with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). SAAC collected a two-week supply of food for 30 local families during the holiday season. Student-athletes were offered six financial education workshops. Every Baylor student-athlete participated in a minimum of five hours of Title IX training.
Spiritual Growth For the 10th-straight year, Baylor Athletics continued its tradition of international missions with trips to Puerto Rico, Ghana, Mexico and Guatemala. A total of 60 Baylor student-athletes representing football, equestrian, acrobatics and tumbling, softball, volleyball and soccer participated in a mission trip during the calendar year.
Acrobatics & Tumbling Kaylee Adams Ceara Gray Lauren Sturm Baseball Cody Bradford – 2018 Collegiate Baseball All-American Shea Langeliers – 2018 Collegiate Baseball All-American Nick Loftin – 2018 Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American
Women’s Golf Gurleen Kaur – Golfweek All-American honorable mention Soccer Aline De Lima – 2017 United Soccer Coaches All-American second team Softball Jessie Scroggins – NFCA All-American first team Men’s Track & Field Caleb Dickson, Howard Fields III, Wil London, Antwuan Musgrove (4x400-meter relay) – USTFCCA Outdoor All-America Wil London (400 meters) – USTFCCA Outdoor All-American
Women’s Baseketball Kalani Brown – 2018 WBCA All-American, 2018 USBWA All-America second team, 2018 Sports Illustrated All-American first team, 2018 USA Today Sports All-American second team, 2018 Associated Press All-American second team, 2018 espnW All-America second team
Women’s Track & Field Victoria Powell, Taylor Bennett, Aaliyah Miller and Kiana Horton (4x400-meter relay) – USTFCCA Outdoor All-American
Lauren Cox – 2018 WBCA All-American honorable mention, 2018 Associated Press All-American honorable mention
Volleyball Shelly Fanning – 2017 AVCA All-American honorable mention
Kristy Wallace – 2018 WBCA All-American honorable mention Cross Country Anna West – USTFCCCA All-American Equestrian Abbi Demel – NCEA All-American second team (horsemanship) Elizabeth Forney – NCEA All-American honorable mention (horsemanship)
Kiana Horton (400 meters) – USTFCCA Indoor All-American
Yossiana Pressley – 2017 AVCA All-American honorable mention Hannah Lockin – 2017 AVCA All-American honorable mention Katie Staiger – 2017 Senior CLASS Award All-American second team
Equestrian Madison Day – Farnam NCEA Academic All-American first team
Football James Lynch – ESPN Freshman All-American
Rachel Van Allen – Farnam NCEA Academic All-American first team
Men’s Golf Garrett May – Golfweek All-American third team, Ping/GCAA All-American honorable mention
Georgia Smith – Farnam NCEA Academic All-American first team
Matthew Perrine – Golfweek All-American honorable mention, Ping/ GCAA All-American third team Braden Bailey – Golfweek All-American honorable mention, Ping/GCAA All-American honorable mention
Shannon Hogue – Farnam NCEA Academic All-American first team Brittney Mirkov – Farnam NCEA Academic All-American second team Baseball Richard Cunningham – 2018 Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic AllAmerica third team Soccer Julie James – 2017 United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-American second team
Everything we were able to do was great, but even more so, it gave us the ability to reflect on everything that we are blessed with. Regardless of where we were spiritually when we came in, we all grew in our faith. Chris Johnson
Whether it was bringing aid to hurricane-ravaged parts of Puerto Rico, building a house in Rosarito, Mexico, introducing softball in Ghana or teaching soccer in Guatemala, Baylor athletes and coaches did their part in spreading the Gospel.
Softball “It’s not even about softball, it’s just about the human nature of caring for your
“I obviously have a passion for sports and kids and soccer,” Summey said. I think all the things I have a passion for were represented in the trips. “It’s a relationship that we can grow, so I wanted to invest in that and support the FCA and Marci.” Part of the objective, too, is empowering the girls and young women of Guatemala through sports.
brothers and sisters,” said softball head coach Glenn Moore, who led a 10day trip over the Christmas break to visit impoverished villages in Ghana. “It’s the kids that just appreciate you coming and caring about them.”
“Marci teaches that no matter what you’re going to do, whether it’s sports or a career or being the best mom that you can be, it can be learned through the game and that carries over into your personal life,” Summey said.
Softball made a return trip to Ghana after an introductory visit two years ago when they first taught fundamentals of the game to children in Kumasi.
“Softball is not a sport that kids in Ghana know, so it’s really cool just to teach something fresh and completely new,” senior Caitlin Charlton said. “It’s incredible to see how fast the kids catch on to learning something new.” Moore said softball is “just our vehicle to spread the gospel.”
Marci Jobson, former head coach and wife of current head coach Paul Jobson, sees soccer’s trips to Guatemala the same way - as a chance to teach some soccer skills while opening a “door to share your faith in a different way.” “We can serve through a game we love,” she said, “and let Jesus be the one kicking the ball.” Karlee Summey, part of the 2012 soccer team that won a Big 12 title, has gone on the two mission trips because the Jobsons are “like family to me.”
Baylor volleyball blessed the Mendoza family of Rosarito, Mexico, with a new home.
13 to suffer, but our girls love working hard for something bigger than themselves.”
As much as the Sports Ministry team’s trip to Puerto Rico was to provide relief to the hurricane-ravaged areas “we really got a lot more ourselves than we were able to give to others,” said Chris Johnson, Assistant AD for Academic Services, a leader for the team of 18 student-athletes from football, equestrian and acrobatics and tumbling. “They didn’t even know me, and they were praying for my well-being and my safety and my health and they were giving me this attention and love,” said equestrian’s Kammie Berns. “This mission trip was definitely an eye-opening experience to help me realize that you can do something so small in your everyday life to make somebody’s day better.”
This mission trip was definitely an eyeBerns opening experience to help me realize that Kammie Baylor Equestrian you can do something so small in your everyday life to make somebody’s day better.
“I think the objective was really simple,” head coach Ryan McGuyre said. “There is a family in need, and we have the ability to help them and change lives forever. Giving these kids an opportunity to go to school and live a healthy life and really provide hope.” Working with Hope Sports and Homes of Hope, the volleyball team’s travel party of 21 put up the house frame and installed windows on day one and then did the roofing, touch-up painting, drywall and electrical wiring on the second day. “The manual labor, when it gets tough, working with your teammates, there’s nothing that can beat it, really,” junior All-American Shelly Fanning said. “It’s just grinding it out, and it’s for a greater purpose. This trip has really transformed our purpose and what we do.” Another byproduct of the trip, McGuyre said, was having a purpose identity versus a performance identity. “I think that’s something we’ve always communicated, but sometimes we need practice living it out,” he said. “The trip itself was kind of joyful. You’re supposed
Several months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and left many homes without power, the Baylor group worked with a local church in restoring houses and other damaged areas in the community, along with a nursing home visit and ministering to children. After learning how to salsa dance the day before, A&T’s Kaylee Adams remembers one of the older ladies at the nursing home lighting up when she danced with her. “Seeing the people in Puerto Rico smile was very touching to me,” she said. “For the rest of my life, I’m going to smile more at people and love on people more and really genuinely live in every single moment I have left on earth.”
Mike McGraw Men’s Golf
Acrobatics and Tumbling
Track and Field
Acrobatics and Tumbling Baylor won its fourth straight NCATA National Championship. Baylor fourth-year head coach Felecia Mulkey won her eighth NCATA national title - she has won every national title in the sportâ€™s history. Baylor tied a program record with 11 wins, notching its third undefeated season in program history. Baylor set a program record with six National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association (NCATA) season honors: Felecia Mulkey as NCATA Coach of the Year, junior base/ back base Ceara Gray as NCATA Most Outstanding Player, junior top/base Kaylee Adams as NCATA Specialist of the Year and Adams, Gray and senior base/back base Lauren Sturm as NCATA All-Americans.
Gray gave Baylor its second straight season with the Most Outstanding Player and third overall as she joins Kiara Nowlin (2017, 2015) on the list of Bears to earn the honor. Adams hauled in the specialist award in its first year of existence for the sport. Both Adams and Gray were named All-Americans for the first time in their careers, while Sturm made it two straight years as Baylor tied the program record for most All-Americans in a season for the fourth straight year (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017). Baylor won six NCATA individual national titles: acro event seven-element, toss open heat, tumbling duo pass, tumbling trio pass, tumbling quad pass and tumbling aerial pass. Baylor defeated No. 2 Oregon on Feb. 25. Reached No. 1 ranking in NCATA preseason, midseason and final poll.
Baseball Baylor won its first Big 12 Championship title in program history.
Bradford, seven; Alex Phillips, seven) for the first time since 2012.
Baylor made its 20th NCAA Regional appearance and second straight for the first time since 2009-12.
Baylor led the league for a secondstraight year with 14 All-Big 12 honors. Also for the second straight year, BU placed a league-high 13 student-athletes on All-Big 12 teams.
Baylor won its first conference tournament title since 1993 (Southwest Conference) and its fourth overall (1977, 1978 - both SWC). Baylor is the first No. 5 seed to win the title since Texas in 2015 and the fifth overall (Nebraska in 1999, Texas A&M in 2007, Texas in 2008). Cody Bradford, Richard Cunningham, Shea Langeliers, Nick Loftin and Davis Wendzel were named to the 2018 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship AllTournament Team, and Bradford and Langeliers shared Most Outstanding Player honors. Baylor had three pitchers post seven or more wins (Hayden Kettler, eight;
Sophomore LHP Bradford earned the program’s first Big 12 Pitcher of the Year award. He is the sixth underclassman (all sophomores) to win the award in the league’s history and the third straight. Sophomore INF Wendzel reached base in a career-high 37 straight games from March 10-May 13, marking Baylor’s longest since a 39-game streak by David Murphy in 2003. Baylor led the conference with 17 Academic All-Big 12 choices on May 15, including a league-best 13 first team honorees.
19 Bradford and junior DH Cunningham were named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District Seven Team. Sophomore C Langeliers was the first choice for the 2018 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. On Feb. 16 vs. Houston Baptist, Baylor posted its first one-hitter since March 11, 2011, vs. Louisiana Tech (70, Logan Verrett pitched a complete game). Troy Montemayor and Wendzel selected in the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Montemayor was chosen in the 25th
round with the 753rd pick by the St. Louis Cardinals, while Wendzel was chosen in the 37th round with the 1,120th pick by the Boston Red Sox. Cunningham became the programâ€™s first Academic All-American since 2015, earning 2018 Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic All-America third team recognition. Bradford and Langeliers received 2018 Collegiate Baseball All-American accolades. Loftin named a 2018 Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American.
Men’s Basketball Baylor defeated No. 7 Texas Tech, 59-57, to notch its fifth-straight win after starting Big 12 play 2-7. Senior Jo Lual-Acuil Jr.’s putback dunk with six seconds left gave the Bears a 74-73 double OT win at Texas. Baylor knocked off No. 10 Kansas, 80-64, behind two clutch three-pointers from senior Manu Lecomte. The Bears rallied from 12 points down to defeat Creighton, 6559, and win the Hall of Fame Classic Championship.
21 Baylor reached a season-high No. 16 in the AP Top 25, to make its 11th consecutive season of representation in national rankings. Senior Terry Maston was named NCAA.com National Player of the Week after averaging 25.0 points per game in wins at Texas and against No. 7 Texas Tech. Head coach Scott Drew notched his 300th career win, leading the Bears past Alcorn State, 78-61. Baylor knocked off Wagner in its NIT first round game, extending the programâ€™s school record with its seventh consecutive postseason appearance. The Bears hosted an exhibition game against Houston, which raised $20,000 for Hurricane Harvey Relief.
Womenâ€™s Basketball The Lady Bears earned their eighth Big 12 regular season championship in a row with an 18-0 record. The Lady Bears went on to win its ninth overall Big 12 Championship to secure the conferenceâ€™s automatic NCAA berth. The Lady Bear trio of Kim Mulkey (Coach of the Year), Kalani Brown (Player of the Year) and Lauren Cox (Defensive Player of the Year) took home three major Big 12 honors. Three Lady Bears secured All-America awards, including Brown, Cox and Kristy Wallace.
Kristy Wallace was selected by the Atlanta Dream with the 16th overall pick in the second round of the 2018 WNBA Draft and signed a two-year WNBL contract with the UC Capitals in Australia. The Lady Bears led all NCAA teams in field goal percentage defense and rebound margin in 2017-18. Kalani Brown and Kristy Wallace joined the 1,000-career points club at Baylor. Mulkey was named WBCA Regional Coach of the Year.
Men’s Cross Country
Devin Meyrer became the program’s third All-Big 12 honoree and the program’s first since 2004 after a Top 25 finish at the Big 12 Championship. He went on to earn All-Region honors, and is the first Bear since Bo Price (2003-06) to post multiple AllRegion performances. Baylor claimed the Ken Garland Invitational team crown after seeing all five scoring runners finish in the Top 10. Senior Jordan West won the Bear Twilight Invitational with a 6,000-meter time of 18:13.2. Seth Brown was named the Big 12 Runner of the Week after he posted a Top 20 finish at the Aggieland Open, finishing with a team-leading time of 16:13.8 on the 5,000-meter course. The Top 20 finish was his first since his freshman season. Seniors West and Eric Anderson scored in every meet this season, finishing as top five runners for the Bears.
Women’s Cross Country Anna West became the program’s seventh All-American after a Top 40 finish at the NCAA Championships. Lindsey Bradley was named the Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, a program first. Baylor won the Ken Garland Invitational title after all five scoring runners finished in the Top 25, edging North Texas, 39-38, in final team scores. Kasey Kinzel was named the Big 12 Runner of the Week after securing a Top 10 finish at the Aggieland Open. The Lady Bears earned US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team recognition with a 3.56 team GPA.
Equestrian Casie Maxwell named the second equestrian head coach in Baylorâ€™s program history. Baylor downed West Texas A&M, 18-2, in the season opener to notch the first win of the Maxwell era. Abbi Demel won the AQHA Collegiate Horsemanship Challenge, the first-ever title by a Baylor rider. Baylor rallied to beat No. 5 Auburn, the first Top 10 win for Maxwell at Baylor. Baylor had five All-Big 12 selections and two of the four Big 12 Riders of the Year awards, earned by freshman Rachael Davis (flat) and sophomore Georgia Smith (reining). Demel and Elizabeth Forney earned NCEA All-America honors, both taking home the recognition in horsemanship. Rachel Van Allen was named the Big 12 Equestrian Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Football Matt Rhule began his first full season as head coach of the program. Quarterback Charlie Brewer was named Big 12 Co-Offensive Freshman of the Year. Defensive tackle James Lynch was named a Freshman All-American by ESPN. Denzel Mims became the 10th receiver in school history to register 1,000-plus yards in a season. Rhule posted the first win of his Baylor career at Kansas, 38-9. Baylor had 17 true freshmen appear in a game in 2017, the fourth largest total nationally. Baylor football secured a top-25 recruiting class heading into the 2018 season.
Menâ€™s Golf Baylor advanced to NCAA Championship for a school-record third-straight season. The Bears finished third in the NCAA Bryan Regional, the second-highest regional finish in program history. Colin Kober became the first player in program history to receive the NCAA Elite 90 Award. Matthew Perrine secured the programâ€™s first major honor, winning the 2018 Byron Nelson Award. Garrett May was named to the 2018 All-Big 12 Team, becoming the fourth player on the current squad to earn All-Big 12 honors.
33 Baylor won the 2017 Royal Oaks Intercollegiate, the 10th tournament title under fourth-year head coach Mike McGraw. Baylor achieved a school-record seven Academic All-Big 12 first team honorees. Four players were named to the Ping All-Central Region team. May tied Baylorâ€™s school record, shooting a 63 in the final round of the Gopher Individual. May posted the fourth-best single-season stroke average in program history at 71.24. Perrine wrapped up his Baylor career with the fifth-best stroke average in program history at 71.97.
Womenâ€™s Golf The Lady Bears finished in the Top 10 at the NCAA Championship for third time in last four years. Baylor advanced to the NCAA Championship for second consecutive season and the third time in last four seasons. Baylor placed third in the NCAA Austin Regional, including a memorable final round when three of five golfers played through illness. Baylor finished second at the 2018 Big 12 Championship, recording its fifth top three finish in seven seasons under head coach Jay Goble.
35 Baylor tied a school record with three players named to the 2018 Big 12 All-Tournament Team, including a pair of freshmen. Freshman Gurleen Kaur, who graduated high school a semester early and enrolled in January, earned NCAA All-Championship honors after finishing tied for seventh. Baylor played live on the Golf Channel for fourth consecutive season, when the Bears advanced to the final round of NCAA Championship stroke play. Baylor matched the school record for the third-straight season with five Academic All-Big 12 honorees.
Soccer Baylor garnered a No. 11 ranking in the final United Soccer Coaches Top 25 poll, tying for the best finish in the rankings in program history. The Bears swept Kansas and Kansas State on the road. Precious Akanyirige, Aline De Lima and Julie James earned All-Big 12 first team recognition, a program record for first team honorees. Jennifer Wandt earned a goalkeeper selection on the Big 12 All-Freshman team. Baylor set a Big 12 and program record with 17 Academic All-Big 12 selections, all earning first team honors. Baylor swept by No. 14 Texas and No. 16 Oklahoma State, clinching the programâ€™s third-ever Big 12 title on a golden goal win over TCU in the conference tournament title match. Baylor earned its first postseason bid since 2012 and hosted the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
37 Baylor advanced to the Sweet 16 on penalty kicks over defending national champion, No. 9 USC. Baylor punched its ticket into the Elite 8 for the first time in program history, knocking off Notre Dame on a golden goal in overtime. De Lima became the fourth United Soccer Coaches All-American in program history after a remarkable senior campaign. Akanyirige was named the Big 12 Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Baylor drummed SMU, 4-1, on the road.
Softball Gia Rodoni collected her third-career no-hitter and her third-straight no-no in starts at Getterman Stadium, holding Northwestern State hitless in the teamâ€™s season opener. Carlee Wallace became the first player in Big 12 and Baylor history to hit for a cycle, going 4-for-4 in a road win at Abilene Christian. Shelby Friudenberg launched a two-run home run in a 5-1 win over Texas Tech to punch her way into the Baylor record books as the programâ€™s all-time HR leader with No. 45, passing Chelsi Lake (44, 2004-2007) for the top spot. Jessie Scroggins was drafted No. 15 overall by Chicago in the NPF Draft.
39 Scroggins named Top 25 finalist for USA Softball Player of the Year. Friudenberg became Baylor’s career RBI leader with the 185th of her career, passing Chelsi Lake (184, 2004-2007) for the top spot in program history. Rodoni earns her sixth Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honor, extending her own program record for single-season honors. Baylor finishes three-game series sweep over Texas, the first in the all-time series for either program. Baylor falls short to No. 2 Oklahoma in the program’s first-ever appearance in the Big 12 Softball Championship title game. Rodoni spins her third-career NCAA postseason no-hitter, blanking McNeese to give BU a spot in the NCAA College Station Regional final, the sixthstraight season BU has advanced to the regional finals. Scroggins (.461) set a new program record for single-season batting average, 31 points higher than the previous total set in 2017 by Lindsey Cargill (.430). Kyla Walker (.433) marked her third-straight season where she has exceeded the previous single-season record, finishing three points higher than Cargill’s record entering the 2018 season. Walker now holds three of the Top 5 single-season batting averages in program history.
Menâ€™s Tennis The Bears secure the programâ€™s 21st consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. Baylor upset No. 7 TCU, 4-2, in Big 12 Semifinals to advance to championship final. Bears post 14-1 home record during 2018 season, rallying for 14-straight wins during home schedule. Bears avenge 4-3 road loss to Oklahoma State with dominant 4-0 victory over Cowboys in Big 12 Championship quarterfinals.
Bears take down No. 21 Florida State, 4-1, during ITA Kick-Off Weekend to advance to ITA National Team Indoor Championships for eighth time in the last 10 seasons. After losing to No. 11 Columbia at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, the Bears upended the Lions at home with a 4-2 win. Bjoern Petersen won his highest ranked win with Top 10 singles victory at the No. 1 spot. After falling down 3-1 to UCF on the road, the Bears used three singles victories to come back and take the 4-3 win. Four Bears earn All-Big 12 honors, including Sven Lah & Roy Smith (first team doubles), Johannes Schretter (first team singles) and Will Little (second team singles). The four freshmen post a combined 70-22 (.761) doubles and 60-36 (.625) singles record in their first seasons in Waco; no freshman had double-digit losses in doubles. Brian Boland hired as Director of Tennis and Menâ€™s Tennis Head Coach, becoming the ninth head coach in program history.
Womenâ€™s Tennis Baylor earned its 14th NCAA selection in a row and its 21st overall. Baylor defeated its first Top 15 program since March 15, 2015, toppling 11th-ranked Ohio State, 4-1, on March 2, 2018. The Bears downed ninth-ranked Northwestern, 5-2, on March 27, 2018, to secure the programâ€™s 29th Top 10 win in program history. Freshman Livia Kraus named to the Big 12 AllTournament Team. Sophomore Camilla Abbate was named to the All-Big 12 second team, while Kraus and Kristina Sorokolet were named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team. The Bears advanced to the NCAA second round for the 14th-straight year with a comeback victory over 36thranked NC State, 4-3. Following the 2017-18 season, head coach Joey Scrivano remains the winningest head coach in the history of the Big 12 Conference with a 141-21 overall record.
Men’s Track & Field For the 39th consecutive year, Baylor’s 4x400-meter relay advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene after auto-qualifying out of the preliminary round. Wil London won his third consecutive Big 12 outdoor title in the 400 meters. Freshman Jalen Seals posted the seventh-best indoor long jump in program history at Fayetteville, Arkansas, with 25’ 3 ¼”. Malik Wilson became a top-10 all-time indoor performer after he ran 6.72 at the Texas Tech Matador Qualifier in Lubbock. After sitting out nearly all season due to injury, Ricky Sanchez became Baylor’s fifth-best all-time performer after he threw 203’ 9” at the Big 12 Outdoor Championship in Waco. Riley Richards became a top-10 all-time indoor performer and joins his father and current Baylor pole vault coach, Brandon Richards, on the list after going 17’ 4 ½” in Lubbock.
Womenâ€™s Track & Field Kiana Horton becomes an Indoor All-American in the 400 meters after she raced in the event for the first time in her collegiate career this season; won the indoor and outdoor 400m Big 12 title and broke the outdoor school record in 51.22 in Waco at the conference meet. Horton was also named the Big 12 Performer of the Year. After sitting out six months and last yearâ€™s outdoor season, Aaliyah Miller came back to win the 800m Big 12 title, both indoor and outdoor, and qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene. Miller was also named the Big 12 Outdoor Freshman of the Year.
Megan SaxvanderWeyden broke the javelin school record twice this season, first at the TCU Invitational with 158’ 7” and second at the Big 12 Outdoor Championship with 166’ 7” (she now owns eight of the all-time top 10 throws in program history). Sprint Medley Relay team of: Horton, Taylor Bennett, Victoria Powell and Miller become school record holders at Texas Relays with 3:43.87, then a few weeks later broke their own school record at the National Relays Championship with 3:42.11. Morgan Stewart has a breakout indoor season and becomes the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year after winning the 600-yard conference title with the seventh-fastest time in school history (1:20.45). The Big 12 champion 4x100 and 4x400m relay teams win the conference title on their home track during the outdoor season and advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Volleyball For the first time in program history, Baylor is selected to host NCAA First and Second Rounds. The Bears made the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time. After program-best conference finish, Ryan McGuyre was awarded Big 12 Coach of the Year and Yossiana Pressley was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Katie Staiger broke Baylorâ€™s rally-scoring era record with 1,700 career kills. With 3,617 fans in attendance for its match against No. 15 Florida State, volleyball broke the programâ€™s single match attendance record.
49 Pressley, Shelly Fanning and Hannah Lockin were named AVCA Honorable Mention All-Americans. The Bears appeared in the AVCA team poll for the first time since 2009 and remained in the rankings eight-straight weeks. Baylor swept Kansas on the road in Lawrence, Kan., for its first win over the Jayhawks since 2012. The Bears overcame a 2-0 deficit to upset No. 10 BYU in five sets to earn the programâ€™s first Top 10 win since 2009 and the first in the Ryan McGuyre era. Baylor defeated Iowa State twice during the regular season for the first time since 2004. Assistant coach Samantha Erger received an AVCA Thirty Under 30 Award.
$19.1 Million Given in Support of Baylor Student-Athletes
For those within the Baylor Athletics family, 2017-18 will be remembered as a year marked by the incredible support and loyalty of the Baylor faithful. Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Mack B. Rhoades, IV, announced a successful fundraising year with $19.1 million in in total annual giving at the close of the fiscal year. The Baylor Bear Foundation again exceeded budgeted goals, reporting $12 million in cash giving from more than 7,500 members. This figure marks the foundation’s third-highest annual giving total in its 70-year history. “We are deeply grateful to the thousands of Baylor Athletics donors and Bear Foundation members who have given thoughtfully and generously to help us achieve this milestone year,” Rhoades said. “Baylor alumni and friends are remarkable in terms of their support, loyalty and belief in Baylor University and our athletics program. Their giving is essential to our ability to compete
- Mack B. Rhoades, IV
A Banner Year For The Baylor Family
We are deeply grateful to the thousands of Baylor Athletics donors and Bear Foundation members who have given thoughtfully and generously to help us achieve this milestone year. Baylor alumni and friends are remarkable in terms of their support, loyalty and belief in Baylor University and our athletics program.
at an elite level among the top programs in the country, and it has a tremendous impact as we invest in more than 530 student-athletes each year, Preparing Champions for Life.” Baylor Athletics’ fiscal year runs from June 1 through May 31. The yearend total reflects giving across the department, including Baylor Bear Foundation contributions, credits and gift-in-kind totals, along with gifts to athletic excellence funds ($1.2 million) and athletic endowment interest distributions. It excludes capital gifts and ticket revenue received during the year. An expanded reporting model was recently adopted to offer more reporting transparency to donors and to align more closely with fundraising totals reported by peer institution athletic programs. The successful fundraising year is attributed to improved year-over-year annual giving from Bear Foundation donors, along with a significant boost from endowment interest as a result of a strengthening economy. Through the Bear Foundation, excellence funds and other means of giving, generous donors to Baylor provide essential funds that help to offset the significant cost of athletic scholarships and other expenses associated with operating a Division 1 FBS NCAA athletics department. “Fundraising totals from last year reflect the confidence the Baylor community has in the strong tradition of Baylor Athletics and our bright future,” said Mitch Mann, Associate Athletics Director for Baylor Bear Foundation. “Their belief and consistency fuels the work we do every day.” To learn more about the how annual support helps Baylor Athletics Prepare Champions for Life, visit BaylorBearFoundation.com.
GET TO KNOW
Baylor Athletics | Director of Development Just like football didn’t define him, whether he was throwing for 8,000 yards at South Garland High or leading Baylor to a bowl-game victory over UCLA (2012 Holiday Bowl), Nick Florence says his job as Baylor’s Director of Development “is not who I am, it’s what I do.” “If God calls me to go do something else, the person of Nick Florence should never really change,” he said. “What’s paying the bills may change, but my mindset and mentality and who I am – being the salt and light, as it calls us to do in Matthew 5 – that should never change.” That is also what makes Baylor unique in the world of major college athletics, he says. And as Baylor President, Dr. Linda Livingstone, so eloquently put it in her inauguration speech, “The world needs a Baylor.” “If we’re only out to win championships and win games, we’re no different, we’re hypocrites,” Florence said. “I hate losing, I love to win. But, if somebody goes through four or five years here and all they do is win championships, nothing changed in their life and they didn’t know who Jesus is and wh,at he did on the cross for them – then we’ve missed an opportunity. We’re no different.” “It’s more than just winning a trophy,” he said. “ Baylor coaches love their sport, they want to win, but I guarantee you that it’s deeper than that, it’s bigger than that for them. They’re doing it because they want to impact kids’ lives and share the love of Jesus with them. “We are a city on a hill – individually, as an institution and as an athletics department.”
The 29-year-old Florence lived out his faith on the field as the Baylor quarterback (2009-12) and has continued to do that with his life, his job and his family. Nick and his wife, Rachel, have a 3-year old daughter, Ella Kate, who was born 11 weeks premature and came home three days before Christmas 2015. “Best Christmas present ever,” he said. “She’s such a little fighter. They prepared us for her to be born not breathing at that point because your lungs are not developed until 32 weeks. She was supposed to be silent, and she came out crying. It was unbelievable. All I could tell her was, ‘You’re brave and you’re strong! You’re brave and you’re strong!’ And today, she’s not scared of anything. She’s full of life, full of joy. You would never know that she was born early.” Even after five years, Nick said he is still learning on the job. After finishing his playing career in 2012, he did an internship in the summer and fall of ’13 and then ascended to the full-time position in January 2014. “It’s a great opportunity to meet a lot of great people,” he said. “The cliché is that it’s better to give than to receive, and I have the opportunity to help people give and make a difference. Me being able to tell them, and for them to believe and see that they’re not just giving money to higher education, they’re giving money to the Kingdom of God and impacting young people’s lives, there’s nothing more meaningful than that.”
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Preparing Champions For Life