WACO, Texas – If you find a Baylor alum that is the only person in his or her family to go to Baylor, you might as well play the lottery because it’s awfully rare.
Being a Bear is usually a generational rite of passage, and those families may just have deserved the Baylor Men’s Basketball program’s first ever National Championship more than other fans.
Dean and Carol Ann Gafford know all about the struggle it has been being a Baylor fan over the decades.
“We’ve suffered a lot,” Dean Gafford said. “We’re so glad this has happened.”
The Gaffords are a four-generation Baylor family, making last Tuesday’s victory over Gonzaga and the ensuing parade momentous occasions.
“We had trouble sleeping the first night,” Dean Gafford said. “While the players were hugging each other and jumping up and down on the court, we were doing the same thing at our house.”
Players, coaches, and staff paraded the National Championship trophy down Austin Avenue Tuesday night for all to see.
For the Howertons, who have been Bear fans for over 50 years, and estimate they have at least ten family members who went to Baylor, they thought the trophy couldn’t have been won by a better group.
“We’re so proud of Scott Drew and what he’s done here, and just the man he is to represent Baylor, and the way he has raised these boys to be the men that they are,” Gail Howerton said.
Head coach Scott Drew vowed to win a National Championship when he stepped into possibly the worst position in college sports history back in 2003. Whether the fans believed he would take them to the promised land? That split families.
When asked if she ever believed in 2003 they would be celebrating this title someday, Gail Howerton confidently said “Yes” before turning to her husband, Rob, who laughed and said, “No, they were too far down.”
This is the first National Championship for any Baylor men’s sports program since tennis won it all in 2004.