Editorial: The fate and legacy of a Baylor football giant

Asher Freeman Editorial | Cartoonist


Asher Freeman
Editorial | Cartoonist

All things Baylor will pass.

To think otherwise would be foolishness, it has happened before and it will happen again.

For example, there used to be a very large pool where our very large practice field is now. Brooks College and Flats — the insular havens for “potterphiles” and married couples ­— is a completely new creation. It used to be a men’s dormitory called Brooks Hall. The face of Baylor has fundamentally changed over the years, and will continue to change in the future.

Sure some of the more stately buildings will stay around. Carroll Science is still here for no particularly good reason. It looks cool and all. It’s a storied old institution, but it’s not really fitting with the sleek new Baylor that’s taking over the area’s low-income housing.

Eventually Penland and Martin will probably be knocked over — much to the relief of everyone that has or might ever have to live there — to make room for new dormitories. They will be better and maybe won’t smell so bad and they’ll have big televisions and views of the river and parking. There’s absolutely no reason that we should lament the destruction of those old, poorly furnished sanitariums.

Except we’re not talking about dormitories or English buildings.

We’re talking about a Baylor and Waco institution with more history and meaning than probably anything else that Baylor has built — Floyd Casey Stadium.

We now know that the stadium’s most likely fate is destruction. In this economy the used stadium market has really gone down the rathole. Nobody is looking for a midsize luxury football arena anymore — especially the classic models.

Maybe it’s a good thing anyway. The new stadium will be a spectacular sight.

A broad oxbow of green and gold with screens and luxury boxes and a sweeping view back across the Brazos to campus. It will be modern and comfortable, and it will make us look really good in front of the other schools. There will be fewer seats so we don’t have to sell so many tickets to people from Oklahoma or Tech when they come to play.

Next to the plans for Baylor Stadium, Floyd Casey looks a bit shabby.

Very few of the seats are covered, there aren’t many boxes, the bathrooms smell, the whole place gets wet and crowded when it rains, the insides are made of mostly unpainted cinderblocks and concrete. The seats are old and hard, the sun shines on the student section and we have trouble filling it on a good day.

More importantly Floyd Casey is the stadium of the past.

The shining new light of Baylor and Baylor football is calling us one and all to fling our green and gold afar. We hold our Heisman and bowl trophy aloft to light the ways of time. Look ahead, not back, young freshmen. The past is gone and a new green and golden age has begun.

Pro Futuris.

We are shedding what affectations of the past we can to make room for the new Baylor.

Floyd Casey is a stadium of the hard times, the times when Baylor couldn’t win a game. The times when Baylor was almost left alone in the Big 12. It is the stadium of our ascension, the stadium of the revolution. We rose up and cast off those degradations, but there is no room for Trotsky in Lenin’s Russia. Floyd Casey has no place in Baylor’s future.

No wonder we’re knocking it down.

You would be hard pressed to find a Baylor grad that has been to a Baylor game in Waco not played at Floyd Casey. Most of them would be well into their eighties by now. The old battleship has been around since 1950 and has hosted such notable events as the Miracle on the Brazos where Baylor beat a heavily favored University of Texas team for the Southwest Conference Title. It saw the Grant Teaff years, and the Art Briles years. It saw Griffin and Singletary and Everett and Trull bring awards and notoriety to our university.

It also saw seasons where we couldn’t win a game, or where three wins was a banner year for the bears. It saw that die hard fan stand up in the cheap seats after a near shutout and loudly proclaim, “By God, next time we’ll make two field goals.”

We will lose that when Floyd Casey is gone. It is a little early to mourn for it, but we as the Baylor community need to remember what that stadium means for us. In its waning years we should honor it and be thankful for all the memories it has given us.

Floyd Casey raised generations of Baylor fans to consider what was really important­ — that it doesn’t matter if our team wins every game.

All that matters is that we can all get out there and enjoy a football game with our Dads, and share peanuts and Dr, Pepper and all stand up together at the end of games and sing “That Good Old Baylor Line”.