Baylor, Briles and the Facilities Arms Race

With the announcement of the Beauchamp Athletics Nutrition Center, the Baylor Bears are giving pretty much every tool and need that Art Briles can dream up. What could be the impact of these on Briles and the Baylor Program?

Check off another box on the list of things that Baylor football coach Art Briles had when he first came to Baylor. Following the construction of the Highers Athletic Complex, the Jay and Jenny Allison Indoor Practice Facility and of course the $270 million Baylor Stadium, Baylor University announced the creation of a 12,000-14,000-square-foot dining hall focused "on the overall health and performance of student-athletes".

"The Beauchamp Athletics Nutrition Center will be invaluable in helping our coaches recruit top prospects in all of our programs and in meeting the nutritional needs of Baylor student-athletes as they strive to reach their full potential," said Ian McCaw, director of athletics at Baylor.

The Beauchamp Athletics Nutrition Center (BANC) is made possible by a lead gift of $3 million from Bob and Laura Beauchamp. This facility was just approved by the Baylor board of regents on the 19th and construction will start sometime in 2014. The BANC will be located on the Brazos River along with the Higher Complex and Indoor practice facility.

Well over $300 million will be spent on these facilities, all of which were merely a dream on a piece of paper when Art Briles accepted the head coaching position in November of 2007. Now, all of them will probably be a reality by the time the 2015 season opens up. With Art Briles signing a 10-year extension that could keep him in Waco until the 2023 season, the Baylor football team is currently in a period of unprecedented success. Bowl games in the last four years, record crowds in Floyd Casey Stadium's farewell season, and a Big 12 championship featuring the most wins in school history.

The Bears administration and boosters have stepped up to the plate to help continue this success, mainly by providing coach Briles with the tools that he needs to not only compete with the best in the nation, but to beat them as well. His staff has received pay increases alongside his last two extensions and Briles is reportedly one of the 20 highest paid college coaches in the country, though it is difficult to really figure out what any coach gets after side deals and other benefits.

This is an arms race, one that the Bears had lagged far behind in for decades, even as Art Briles has rebuilt the program. With these tools at his disposal, how much higher can the Bears climb? The stadium of course is the crown jewel of it all, rising high just off of the Brazos River showing the world that Baylor is serious about its football program and staying not only relevant and competitive, but building a dominant program.

Of course, the elephant in the room is the job opening 90 miles south of Waco on I-35. You could call them rumors, but it is more just wide speculation has the Longhorns possibly looking at Art Briles for their head coaching position. Of course, their "wish" list is littered with NFL coaches and much bigger names than that of a 58-year old man from Rule, TX who happens to be building a program in his own image in the same state and conference.

In any event though, it appears that Baylor is literally doing everything they can to keep the man that has brought the program back to respectability and championships. The BANC is just another example of that. Right now, if Art Briles asks for something, he will probably get it sooner rather than later. The Bears have stepped up to the plate and made sure to not only do things to keep Art Briles on the home side of the Baylor sidelines, but to give him the tools required to keep his Baylor program climbing.

"Our University leadership has shown great vision by allowing Baylor to become a national trend-setter when it comes to new facilities such as Baylor Stadium and the BANC, and that's exciting for our football program and its future," said Art Briles.

Exciting indeed.

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