By Mallory Harris | Staff Writer, Video by George Schroeder | Broadcast Reporter
To celebrate the first national championship title for Baylor’s men’s basketball team, a celebratory parade was held on Tuesday in downtown Waco.
Drawing in families, students, alumni and the general Waco community, the parade went down Austin Avenue from 14th Street all the way to City Hall on 3rd Street, where an honorific ceremony was held. Marking this moment in time, the parade was full of confetti, balloons and a sense of Baylor spirit.
There were also many Waco public officials who helped commemorate the team’s win at the parade. Waco mayor Dillon Meek, representatives from the Waco Chamber of Commerce and Baylor’s President Dr. Linda Livingstone were all present and supporting the new champs.
To fling their green and gold in person, the Golden Wave Band, Song Leaders, Baylor Cheer and Bruiser and Marigold brought joy to the event.
A group of over 130 former Baylor basketball players and their families were also honored in the parade and shared the spotlight with the current team. Spanning multiple seasons, their presence at the parade commemorated this championship as a feat that has been in the works for a long time.
“None of this is possible without all these guys pouring in all their bones, building the foundation for this program so these guys can bring us our first national championship,” Head Coach Scott Drew said.
Senior forward Mark Vital also acknowledged the history of the Baylor men’s basketball program and how it shaped this year’s success.
“Man, I was really thinking about those guys. They sacrificed a lot for us, and I know they went through a lot,” Vital told the audience.
To further acknowledge this journey for time to come, both Meek and the Waco Chamber of Commerce representatives made proclamations about the team and this day in general. Meek announced to the audience that April 13 is now recognized as National Championship Day in Waco, whereas the Chamber gave recognition to both the players and coach for the efforts.
One of the final notes within the ceremony included Drew receiving the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) National Championship trophy for coaching.
Williamsburg, Va., freshman Victoria Agbeibor said she felt this title has brought so much life back into campus, and she is excited to get a glimpse of “normal college life.”
“I am beyond excited to be here for this celebration because I think especially after this year, as freshmen, having so many things canceled because of COVID-19, this was a really big event for us,” Agbeibor said. “It was like a taste of what college is going to be like after COVID-19, and it was truly an incredible experience that I wouldn’t have missed for anything.”
Besides all the excitement, Waco freshman Mari Sanchez said she thinks this win brought the Waco community together in such a supportive manner.
“It is just so amazing to see the men be so passionate about something that really connects a community of all generations,” Sanchez said. “It is just amazing, and we are very excited. On a scale from one to ten, it’s like a million.”