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Baylor Makes Arizona Second Home at Fiesta Bowl Pep Rally

Baylor Makes Arizona Second Home at Fiesta Bowl Pep Rally
January 01
05:37 2014
No. 42 junior receiver Levi Norwood videos the crowd using a GoPro during the pep rally at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

No. 42 junior receiver Levi Norwood videos the crowd using a GoPro during the pep rally at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013.
Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

By Shehan Jeyarajah
Sports Writer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Thousands of Baylor fans converged on the Scottsdale Plaza Inn in sunny Arizona to celebrate the accomplishments of a historic season and celebrate the first ever BCS bowl appearance in school history at the Baylor Fiesta Bowl pep rally.

“It’s incredible to see this crowd, it really is,” said alumna Glynn Gilcrease. “We never thought this day would come, but here it is. Things were far different when I went to school in 1963! Even just to see the changes in the campus and new stadium. What Coach Briles has brought to the program, being Big 12 Champions is really amazing.”

Reportedly, more than 4,000 fans were in attendance for the pep rally. Speakers at the event included all-time Baylor rushing leader Walter Abercrombie and athletic director Ian McCaw. The Voice of the Bears, John Morris, was master of ceremonies. The evening was capped off with a performance from former “The Voice” contestant and Lorena junior Holly Tucker.

Fan excitement was at an all-time high in the courtyard of the Scottsdale Plaza. The pep rally brought together Baylor fans of all ages, including current students and thousands of alumni.

“Seeing a conference championship and getting to be here in a BCS bowl, it’s just great,” alumna Paula Burnett said. “To think that Baylor is a popular school, everyone’s talking about it…we’re at a BCS bowl! I would have never dreamed that the school would have this attention as long as I lived.”

Baylor alumnus Mike Fisher has worked on staff at the Fiesta Bowl for 25 years, and said it’s a dream come true to see his alma mater represented in the game.

“Seeing all of these people at the Fiesta Bowl pep rally is one of the most exciting moments of my life, after, of course, the Texas versus Baylor game four weeks ago,” Fisher said. “Being in a BCS bowl is going to get the team more visibility nationally and more visibility in the conference.”

The event also served as a celebration of esteemed alumnus Drayton McLane Jr. and his family. It was announced Monday that the $270 million stadium being built on the Brazos River would be named McLane Stadium after the leading donor for the upcoming stadium.

“It’s an honor to have our name on the stadium next year,” McLane said. “This university represents many of the values that we hold dear, including a committed Christian education.”

The newly named McLane Stadium is well on track to open for the first game of the 2014 football season against Southern Methodist University.

“This is, as Coach Briles says, one of the four big bowls in the United States of America,” Baylor president Ken Starr said. “This is great for Baylor, it generates excitement, and I’m so happy we’re also able to honor Drayton McLane Jr. and Elizabeth tonight. Tonight was a great night.”

No. 6 Baylor football will take on No. 15 University of Central Florida in the 43rd annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at 7:30 p.m. on New Year’s Day in Glendale, Ariz. The game will be nationally broadcast on ESPN.

Fiesta Bowl First Day 01
Fiesta Bowl First Day 02

Baylor head coach Art Briles arrives at the Fiesta Bowl Media Day and converses with his players on Monday, Dec. 30, at the Camelback Marriott Hotel in Glendale, Az.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

Fiesta Bowl First Day 03

Baylor head coach Art Briles receives a gift basket from Glendale, Ariz. mayor Jerry Weiers after entering the conference hall for Baylor's Media Day hour at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Dec. 30, 2013.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

Fiesta Bowl First Day 04

Head coach Art Briles receives a gift basket from a Tostitos representative after entering the press conference area for Baylor's Media Day hour at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Dec. 30, 2013.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

Fiesta Bowl First Day 05

No. 14 junior quarterback Bryce Petty participates in a one-on-one interview with a Fiesta Bowl media host during Baylor's Media Day hour at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Dec. 30, 2013.

Matt Hellman | Multimedia Producer

Fiesta Bowl First Day 06

No. 6 senior safety Ahmad Dixon participates in a series of interviews during Baylor's Media Day hour at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Dec. 30, 2013.

Matt Hellman | Multimedia Producer

Fiesta Bowl First Day 07

No. 16 senior wide receiver Tevin Reese, who is expected to participate in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl after missing after missing the last four games with a wrist injury, participates in Media Day interviews at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Dec. 30, 2013.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

A group of Baylor students meet up at the Grand Canyon before the Fiesta Bowl.

A group of Baylor students meet up at the Grand Canyon in Arizona on Monday, Dec. 30, before the Fiesta Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014.

Drew Mills | Round Up Photographer

_____ and his son pose for a Sic'em with current Baylor students.

Kevin Walls and his son pose for a Sic'em with current Baylor students in front of the Grand Canyon Map in Arizona on Monday, Dec. 30.

Drew Mills | Round Up Photographer

Fiesta Bowl First Day 10

Zach Heefner, Charly Lemmons and Michael Blair throw up a Sic'em at the Grand Canyon.

Fiesta Bowl First Day 11

Charly Lemmons, Zach Heefner and Michael Blair hold up a Sic'em into the sunset over the Grand Canyon.

Fiesta Bowl First Day 12

On Monday, Dec. 30, Hadiah, Phoenix Zoo's seven-year-old Sumatran tiger, predicts that the University of Central Florida will win the Fiesta Bowl against Baylor.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

Fiesta Bowl First Day 13

Hadiah attempts to predict the winner of the 2014 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl by opening the Baylor Box for a special treat on Monday, Dec. 30, at the Phoenix Zoo in Phoenix, Ariz.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

Fiesta Bowl First Day 14

When Hadiah cannot reach the food inside the Baylor Box, she returns to the UCF Box and finds the food easily attainable, eating it and providing her prediction that the University of Central Florida will win the Fiesta Bowl.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Multimedia Producer

Fiesta Bowl First Day 01Fiesta Bowl First Day 02Fiesta Bowl First Day 03Fiesta Bowl First Day 04Fiesta Bowl First Day 05Fiesta Bowl First Day 06Fiesta Bowl First Day 07A group of Baylor students meet up at the Grand Canyon before the Fiesta Bowl._____ and his son pose for a Sic'em with current Baylor students.Fiesta Bowl First Day 10Fiesta Bowl First Day 11Fiesta Bowl First Day 12Fiesta Bowl First Day 13Fiesta Bowl First Day 14
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