Read Part 2 Here
Era 3 - 1951-1999
Coach Bill Henderson, coming off the program’s second Final Four appearance and fifth Southwest Conference championship, coached the team for 11 more years. There aren't any astounding success stories from those later seasons, but it was during that time that Baylor defeated it’s first ranked opponent, Oklahoma State, in 1958. Henderson also still holds the Baylor record for conference titles with four.
A long drought of national success hit the Bears, ending briefly in 1969. The Bears opened the season ranked No. 19 in the nation and won their first game as a ranked team.
It wasn’t until a decade later that Baylor found it’s first true NBA-level talent in Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson. Before Johnson went on to play an important role on the late-80’s "Bad Boy" Detroit Pistons teams, he averaged 24 points per game over two seasons at Baylor. In one contest, Vinnie Johnson scored a school-record 50 points against TCU. An explosive, attacking guard, Vinnie is one of my personal favorite basketball players.
While I was unable to find any tape of him playing for Baylor, I did find one of his more notable NBA performances.
Alongside Vinnie Johnson was Terry Teagle.
Tim Watkins writes:
Terry Teagle was the Bears' all-time leading scorer, until Lacedarius Dunn broke his record in 2011, and was a four-year star for the Bears. From 1979-1982, Teagle dominated the Southwest Conference, including being named the conference’s best player in 1980. The 6-foot-5 guard was drafted 16th in the 1982 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets and went on to enjoy an 11 year career in the NBA.
NBA Journeyman Brian Skinner also played four years at Baylor, leading the newly created Big 12 in field goal percentage and blocks per game in the 1997-1998 season.
Did you know:
Former GM of the Houston Rockets Carroll Dawson played and coached basketball at Baylor University? Dawson coached the Bears from 1973 - 1976, but without much success.
Gene Iba was the coach to bring Baylor back to national prominence, but only briefly. The 1988 team was the first NCAA tournament appearance for the program in 38 years, but resulted in a first round loss to Memphis.
A few other postseason appearances are scattered among the latter half of the 20th century, but all resulted in a first round loss and exit.
From the beginning all the way to 1999, 85 years of basketball, Baylor University recorded 971 wins to 1106 losses for a winning percentage of around 46%.
But, things would get worse.