Six years ago, Art Briles came to Baylor University and talked of winning the Big 12 Championship. On the day he was announced as the Bears' head coach, he had a few bold words to say about his vision for Baylor Football:
I can do all these things and say all these things, but what we have to do is win football games. Y'all are winning in basketball. You are outstanding in track and field, baseball has been to the World Series, but we need to win football games. That's our mission. That's our goal. That's our job. That's what we are going to do to bring Baylor back, not that it isn't where it needs to be, but we are going to get bowl eligible. We are going to win the South. We're going to win the Big 12 championship, and then we'll take it from there. Lip service is easy, but we do have a plan. And we have a mission, and we have a way to follow through with it.
On Saturday, his Bears accomplished that mission, winning the Big 12 outright for the first time ever, bringing the school its first outright conference championship since 1980. And today, the Associated Press rewarded Briles for achieving that vision by unanimously voting him as the AP Big 12 Coach of the Year.
I think it's safe to say that on November 28, 2007, none of us imagined that Coach Briles would take the program to the heights its reached, at least in such a short time and in such a fashion. Along the way, he's notched a few more milestones, coaching Robert Griffin III to bring home the school's first Heisman Trophy, taking the team to a fourth consecutive bowl game (a school record), enjoying multiple sellouts at Floyd Casey Stadium (also a first, I would imagine), building new athletic facilities, and last but not least, overseeing the construction of an on-campus stadium. One can't help but feel that this is merely the tip of the iceberg for Coach Briles and the Baylor football team. Congratulations, Coach. The honor is well-deserved.
I'll close this post with another quote from Coach Art Briles' very first press conference.
With people like you helping us when those guys on campus, and they see the support and the love, then we can make it happen. And we are going to make it happen. So let's get in this thing together. Let's not worry about what happened yesterday. Let's work today and make sure it's a great tomorrow for the Baylor Bears. Sic `Em Bears.
You've done it, Coach. You've ensured that tomorrow is going to be very great indeed. Congratulations, and Sic 'Em!