Bad News Bears: A Tough Decade For Baylor

This is what lame-duck Baylor football coach <B>Kevin Steele </B>said in his school&#146;s media guide at the beginning of the season: &quot;Coaches are usually careful not to paint themselves into a corner, but the truth is we expect to win, and need to win.&quot;

But Steele was unofficially cornered after his squad opened with a 70-22 loss at California, a debacle that undoubtedly sealed his fate every bit as much as John Mackovic’s 66-3 loss to UCLA in 1997 doomed him. Steele was fired Sunday within 24 hours of losing 62-11 at Texas Tech. The Bears are 3-6 and (bless their hearts) complete the season at Texas (11:30 a.m. Saturday), against Oklahoma and at resurgent Oklahoma State.

Baylor officials are now searching for their fourth head coach in ten years and, in essence for Grant Teaff’s heir apparent. The worm-swallowing Teaff, who presided over the 1974 "miracle on the Brazos" upset win of Texas (and too damn many wins over Texas after that) retired in 1992.

Now, it will take an even bigger miracle to resurrect this program. In just under four seasons, Steele assembled a 9-33 record in Waco. He had not won a Big 12 game until his team defeated Kansas, 35-32, on Oct. 5, and is now 1-28 in conference play. To his credit, Steele opted to complete his tenure at Baylor in order to show his team that one should never quit.

"Kevin is a great coach, a super person and an even better friend," head coach Mack Brown said. "He’s done an outstanding job and he sure is leaving the program in better shape than it was when he came. There will be a long line of people trying to hire Kevin Steele."

Steele’s predecessors did not fare much better at the Baylor helm. Dave Roberts lasted two seasons (1997-98) in posting a 4-18 mark and has been the only coach since Teaff to beat Texas. Chuck Reedy (1993-96) compiled a 23-22 record, including an appearance in the 1994 Alamo Bowl.

Texas leads the all-time series against Baylor, 65-22-4, and has won eight of the past nine meetings. Brown’s teams have defeated the Bears by an average score of 47-11.

Baylor has won but five Big 12 games since the league began in 1996 and has yet to win a Big 12 road game.

Baylor’s Big 12 Wins

1996: 49-21 over Iowa State

1997: 23-21 over Texas

1998: 31-24 over Kansas

2002: 35-32 over Kansas

And that's all, folks!

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