In 2003-04, the University of Texas had a memorable sports year across football, men's and women's basketball and baseball. They won 123 games across those four sports against only 31 losses. Hard to imagine an athletic department in one of the top competitive conferences having this kind of across the board success.
There have been schools that have come close including two in 2008-09- Oklahoma University (117) and UCONN (114). And there is actually a team this year that is having a phenomenal athletic year outside of football- the University of Kentucky. UK has an overall record in 2011-12 of 114-31 currently.
UK football went 5-7. UK Men's basketball was 38-2 and won the national championship. UK Women's basketball was 28-7 and made the Elite 8- losing to UCONN 80-65 with a chance to go to the Final 4. And the baseball team for UK is currently 43-15 and still alive in the SEC championship tourney.
As great as that season has been for UK, they are still 10 wins behind Baylor University. When Jim Rome went on a radio rant in the Fall of 2011 at a time that the Big12 appeared to be on the verge of dissolving, he referred to Baylor as "Scrubby Little Baylor." When he said that, he probably didn't have this type of athletic year in mind for Scrubby Little Baylor. Baylor is currently 124-24 across the four major sports after blasting Kansas State 11-2 in the Big12 baseball tournament Friday afternoon.
Football went 10-3. That by itself is a remarkable accomplishment for a private school in a BCS league. But 10-3 doesn't tell the whole story. The 10 wins included a Heisman Trophy winner in Robert Griffin III. To give you an idea of how hard that is to accomplish. Texas has 2 (Earl Campbell-77; Ricky Williams- 98). Alabama has 1 (Ingram- 2009). LSU has 1 (Cannon- 59). Baylor football also won six straight games to end the year. The Bears had the 10th toughest schedule in college football (as ranked by Sagarin). They hung 50 points on TCU; 45 points on Oklahoma; 42 points on Missouri; 48 points on Texas; 49 on Iowa State; 66 on Texas Tech; and 67 on Washington in defeating those seven teams who won at least 5 games each.
Men's basketball went to their second elite 8 in the last 3 years. They finished 30-8 on the year. Their record against teams from Texas and Oklahoma in their own conference was 10-0. Coach Scott Drew's program doesn't appear to have any signs of slowing down. Drew just signed a top 5 recruiting class and returns Pierre Jackson who will be a candidate for Big12 player of the year. Jeff Borzello from CBS Sports had Jackson and newcomer Isaiah Austin on his 1st team all Big12 team for next year. The Bears are picked by most national publications in the top 20 to start the 2012-13 year.
Women's basketball won the national championship with a perfect 40-0 record. The bad news for Baylor opponents is that they return 90% of their production from last year including All-Americans Brittney Griner and Odyssey Sims for the 2012-13 year.
The Baylor baseball team breezed through the Big12 schedule finishing 20-4. After winning today in the Big12 tournament, they are 44-13 on the year. They are a likely #1 seed for the NCAA tournament that starts next week.
A year for the ages. The Year of the Bear? Hard to argue otherwise. Baylor hopes to make it the decade of the Bear. They currently have athletic director Ian McCaw- who helped orchestrate all this success- locked up in a long-term contract for many years to come. For the first time ever, Baylor had 19 of 19 sports making post-season tournaments.
Art Briles- Baylor's football coach; Scott Drew- Baylor's men's basketball coach; Kim Mulkey- Baylor's women's basketball coach and Steve Smith- baseball coach are all locked up in long-term contracts as well. Part of the secret of Baylor's success has been paying coaches well and retaining them by giving them a lot of freedom to make decisions for their programs. Coaches enjoy working at Baylor and that has brought a lot of continuity to the athletic program.
It is impossible to ignore where Baylor came from to get to where they are today. Just looking at the two bell cow revenue sports of football and men's basketball, ten years ago Baylor was 0-8 in Big12 football. They were outscored 109-329 in those games. The men's basketball team was 4-13 in the Big12. The men's team was close to having one of the worst incidents in basketball history in the summer of 2003 which led to the removal of Dave Bliss as the Baylor basketball coach and Tom Stanton as the athletic director.
But from the ashes, Baylor has risen. A new $250 million football stadium on the way in 2014-15. A football program with a lot of momentum- that is seeing better recruiting results each year coming off two straight bowl games. Basketball programs that are among the elite in the nation. A baseball program that is experiencing its best year during the regular season. What a great time to be a Baylor Bear.