By Daniel Hill
After an unprecedented year of athletic success, current and former Baylor student-athletes hauled in a number of prestigious awards this summer.
On July 11, at the ESPY awards in Los Angeles, Heisman trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III was given “Best College Male Athlete.”
Senior women’s basketball phenom Brittney Griner actually ended up winning two trophies at the ESPY’s, laying claim to the “Best Female College Athlete” in addition to the “Best Female Athlete” award.
Not only did Griner sweep the ESPY’s, but she also won the Honda Cup award as the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.
The Honda Sports Award is given to the top female athletes in the NCAA. Griner became eligible to win the Honda Cup because she already won the Honda Award for women’s basketball.
The winner of the Honda Cup is chosen among the 12 winners of the Honda Award from their respective sports.
These notable awards for Griffin and Griner elevate Baylor to a level of national sports prominence that the school has never known before.
Griffin already put Baylor on the map by winning the Heisman Trophy, but having multiple athletes of a different sport and gender win awards on national television helps continue the momentum of Baylor sports.
In a world where recruiting is the centerpiece of college sports, gaining national exposure for Baylor athletes helps create a winning brand for the university and it creates a positive perception of the school among prospective recruits.
Baylor individuals and teams were up for a combined six awards at the ESPY’s.
Not only are the awards fantastic displays of Baylor’s winning ways, but the character that Griffin and Griner display also reflects glowingly on the university.
Baylor doesn’t just win on the scoreboard, but Baylor also does it with class, character and integrity.
With Griffin quite possibly being the face of the university for many years to come, Baylor could not ask for a better person to represent the institution.
Arguably the greatest athlete in the entire history of the school, Griffin is also the face of the NFL’s Washington Redskins.
His endorsement deals are making him one of America’s most recognizable athletes with sponsorships from Adidas, Castrol, EvoShield, Gatorade and Subway, among others (like EA Sports).
Should Griffin have the kind of successful career that NFL experts predict he’ll have, then he will be a shining example of the kind of talent and persona that thrives at Baylor.
Griner’s Baylor legacy is far from being completed.
Despite suffering an unfortunate broken right wrist in a longboarding accident this summer, she still returns as a senior to the women’s basketball team for a run at possible back-to-back national titles.
Last year’s national championship game against Notre Dame drew the highest ratings for a women’s NCAA final since 2004.
People want to watch Griner throw down ferocious dunks and witness her spectacular athleticism at 6-foot-8-inches.
She is an unprecedented blend of athleticism and height. She is also full of charisma and charm.
The Ferrell Center is packed to the rafters whenever Griner takes the court.
Her powerful offensive skills and defensive prowess are one of the main reasons she is the face of women’s college hoops.
Griffin has moved on to the pros, and Griner only has one more year left as a Bear, but the athletic duo have already left quite an indelible mark on Baylor.