Below is a list of just some of the many connections between Houston,Texas and Baylor University.
The city of Houston is named after Sam Houston, who was commanding general of the Texas Army during the revolutionary war with Mexico, President of the Republic of Texas, US Senator from the State of Texas, and Governor of the State of Texas. Sam Houston had numerous ties with Baylor University. For example:
Judge R.E.B. Baylor, one of the co-founders of Baylor University and for whom Baylor University is named, saved 11-year-old Margaret Lea from drowing. Margaret grew up to become Sam Houston's wife.
Judge Baylor and Sam Houston became close friends. In fact, Judge Baylor gave the prayer at Sam Houston's inauguration for his second term as President of the Republic of Texas.
Sam Houston became a Christian after listening to a sermon preached by then-Baylor President Rufus Burleson. Later that same day, Houston was baptized by Burleson in Rocky Creek at Independence, Texas, not far from where the Baylor campus was then located.
Four of Sam Houston's eight children attended Baylor University.
Sam Houston and his wife Margaret lived in Independence while their children were attending Baylor, in a house located on the banks of a creek between Baylor's men's and women's campuses. Sam Houston quipped that one of his responsibilities was to watch through his window every night, "to make sure none of the Baylor men crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land."
When Sam Houston's two daughters were married, their wedding ceremonies were conducted by then-Baylor President William Carey Crane.
(Note: Sam Houston may have served on Baylor's Board of Trustees, though there is some disagreement about that matter.)
Baylor College of Medicine was founded by a group of physicians who were Baylor alumni. It was affiliated with Baylor University for many years. Although it was originally started in Dallas, it was later moved to its present location in Houston, in the first building constructed in the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world.
Some of Baylor's most successful and well-known current and former athletes and coaches grew up in, currently live in, or have other significant connections with Houston. For example:
Don Trull was an All-American quarterback at Baylor, graduating in 1964. He won numerous awards and was a Heisman Tropy finalist in 1963. He went on to play professionally with the Houston Oilers. He is a member of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. He currently lives in the Houston area.
Mike Singletary graduated from Evan E. Worthing High School in Houston, where he played football. He went on to become an All-American middle linebacker at Baylor, and was on the 1980 Southwest Conference champion team. He was then drafted by the NFL's Chicago Bears, where he earned honors as NFL Rookie of the Year and All-Pro. Singletary is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Brittney Griner graduated from Nimitz High School in Houston. She went on to be an All-American basketball player for Baylor's Lady Bears, and helped lead the team to an undefeated season (40-0) and a national championship in the 2011-12 season. She received numerous national awards, including ESPN's ESPY award for national female athlete of the year. She currently plays professional basketball for the Phoenix Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA.)
Art Briles, Baylor's previous head football coach, played football at the University of Houston and was also the head football coach there for several years.
Several major sports events involving Baylor athletic teams have taken place in Houston in recent years.
Baylor men's basketball team played in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games of the 2010 NCAA Tournament at Reliant Stadium (now called NRG Stadium.) BU narrowly lost to Duke University in the final moments of the Elite 8 game, preventing the Bears from going to that year's Final Four.
Baylor's football team, led by Coach Art Briles and quarterback Robert Griffin III (aka RG3) played the University of Illinois in the 2010 Texas Bowl at what was then called Reliant Stadium (now NRG Stadium.)
In November, 2012, the defending national champion Lady Bears basketball team, led by Brittney Griner (a Houston native), defeated the Lady Owls of Rice University at Tudor Fieldhouse. The game had the largest attendance of any women's basketball game ever played on Rice's campus.
Baylor's football team, led by Coach Matt Rhule, defeated Vanderbilt in the 2018 Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium.
Drayton McLane, for whom Baylor's football stadium is named, is the former owner of the Houston Astros major league baseball team. He sold the Astros in 2011. Shortly thereafter, he made a gift to kick off funding for the new $260-million stadium at Baylor. His gift was the largest single capital donation ever made to Baylor University.
Earl Santee, with Populous, is one of the world's leading sports architects. Among his designs are Minute Maid Park (home of the Houston Astros), and Baylor's McLane Stadium. _____
Houston is the city with the second highest number of Baylor alumni. (Dallas is first.) Many of Houston's largest and most influential companies and organizations are headed by Baylor alumni.
Robert Sloan, current President of Houston Baptist University (HBU), is a Baylor graduate and a former president of Baylor University. Vic Shealy, head football coach at HBU, was formerly an assistant coach at Baylor under then-head coach Grant Teaff.
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