With all 19 sports reaching the postseason during the Year of the Bear and topped by the Lady Bears’ national championship, Baylor came in at No. 25 in the 2011-12 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings released last month by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
The finish matched the Bears’ best-ever placing in the standings, which use a mathematical formula to sum up how each university did across its entire range of varsity athletic programs. The Bears’ 19 varsity sports were the fewest of any team in this year’s top 25.
[YEAR OF THE BEAR, from Baylor Magazine: Why Baylor may have just had the best year in NCAA history || Kim Mulkey on the Lady Bears || Men's hoops, baseball, equestrian and other spring sports success]
This marks the sixth time Baylor has finished in the top 35 during Ian McCaw’s eight full seasons as director of athletics. Baylor finished third among the state of Texas’ nine Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs, behind only Texas (No. 6) and Texas A&M (9), and fifth among all private FBS institutions, after Stanford, Southern California, Duke and Notre Dame.
The Bears placed fourth in the Big 12 for 2011-12, behind Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma (14) but ahead of Oklahoma State (42), Iowa State (46), Missouri (49), Kansas (56), Kansas State (62) and Texas Tech (71). The Bears also finished with a higher ranking than incoming conference members TCU (45) and West Virginia (52).
Baylor.edu/Nation and BaylorBears.com both have excellent recaps of the Year of the Bear, from the popular “Baylor Rising” highlight video to a series of infographics illustrating the year’s highlights.
And let’s not forget a school-record 630 student-athletes were named to the Big 12’s Commissioner’s Honor Roll, the number of Baylor faces in both the NFL and NBA have increased and Baylor’s impressive presence at the ESPYs.
The Year of the Bear was fun — and a great beginning to the Decade of the Bear.
Sic ’em, Baylor athletics!