Who was Floyd Casey? And why is his name on Baylor’s stadium?
Tonight, Floyd Casey Stadium will host the biggest game in its 64-year history. One month from today, we will celebrate Floyd Casey’s final game, as the Bears host Texas on Dec. 7. You know the stadium — but what do you know about the men behind the name?
That’s right — men, plural. The stadium is named for Floyd Casey, but it was his son, Carl, who requested that honor for his father.
The elder Casey came to Waco as a young businessman in real estate and loans after World War I, but he was better known for what he did with his money than for how he earned it. In an interview recorded by Baylor’s Institute for Oral History, a business peer of Casey’s said, “There was just nobody in the world that Mr. Casey didn’t want to help.” One story, handed down through time, was of how Casey often provided shoes to East Waco children who couldn’t afford them. “He is the kind of person with whom we would like to have Baylor University associated,” said Baylor President Herbert Reynolds in 1988. “He had a strong desire to serve others.”
[Read more about the history of Floyd Casey Stadium in this feature from the Fall 2013 issue of Baylor Magazine.]
In 1988, Floyd Casey’s son and daughter-in-law, Carl (BBA ’31) and Thelma Casey, gave $5 million to support Baylor football — then the largest athletics-only gift in Southwest Conference history. In return, the stadium was named in honor of the elder Casey. Carl was a former Baylor Trustee and a recipient of both the W.R. White Meritorious Service Award and (along with Thelma) the Herbert H. Reynolds Award. Carl and Thelma Casey were also responsible for Baylor receiving its first computer; in 1962, the couple donated an IBM 1620 Data Processing System to the Hankamer School of Business. To this day, the business school’s computer lab is known as the Casey Computer Center.
The Casey family is just one of many from amongst the greater Baylor family who have contributed to the construction, maintenance and improvements at the stadium since construction began in 1949. As one of the thousands upon thousands who have enjoyed games there, first as Baylor Stadium and later as Floyd Casey Stadium, I say thank you to the men and women who have helped us along the way, and to those who are building the future now at the intersection of I-35 and the Brazos River.
Sic ’em, Baylor family!