As Baylor coach Art Briles built his football program into a Big 12 champion, Floyd Casey Stadium was one place he avoided taking recruits.
Briles doesn’t need a calculator to count how many times he took them to Baylor’s old stadium.
“Z-E-R-O,” Briles said. “The last four years, unless a kid came and saw a game, they never went to the stadium on a recruiting trip. It wasn’t a positive for us in recruiting. Now we can recruit in one of the nicest stadiums in the United States of America.”
Briles can’t wait to show off McLane Stadium to recruits in upcoming seasons.
The two places he will beat a trail through the most are sanctuaries for players — a locker room that would be the envy of any NFL team and a recruiting room that will be one of the most unique places in college football.
The locker room is 50 yards long and 17 yards wide and features 100 cherry veneer lockers with lighted shelves for players to place their helmets. Descending from the ceiling is a glowing, interlocking BU. The wall at the end of the locker room will feature murals of former Baylor players like Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.
When Baylor wins football games, it won’t be hard to get the party started with 14 speakers spread throughout the locker room. Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty was shocked by the size of the locker room the first time he stepped into it.
“You can play a football game in that locker room,” Petty said. “I won’t tell you the first words I said, but holy cow it’s big. It’s everything I envisioned but more. It’s a blessing to be a part of, considering where we came from to where we are now.”
If Baylor’s locker room is elegant enough for a president, the recruiting room looks like it was designed by a teenager with a hefty trust fund. It features lime green walls with Xboxes spread throughout the room. Large TV screens will play Baylor highlights, and a snack bar will be stocked for games.
Standing at field level in the end zone, the room gives recruits a stunning view of the football game. While the color scheme and video games might not be your father’s idea of football décor, it will appeal to high school recruits.
“We think it’s pretty spectacular,” Baylor associate athletic director Todd Patulski said. “The recruiting game is competitive, and you’re bringing in 17-year-old and 18-year-old kids who want to be impressed. This is certainly going to accomplish that. You’re basically managing their entire experience.”
Several other rooms on the ground floor of the stadium will enhance the gameday experience for players, coaches, media and former Baylor athletes.
A spacious training room will feature state-of-the-art medical equipment, and will be flanked by an X-ray room. Briles will have his own dressing room complete with a lounge, and his assistant coaches will be housed in another dressing room. There are also separate offensive and defensive meeting rooms.
The media has a large post-game interview room that includes a photographers’ work room. There is a visiting locker room area that can be used by as many as three different teams, which will be beneficial for high school playoff games. An 11,000-square-foot lettermen’s club will welcome former athletes.
But the places where Briles and his coaching staff had the most input were the Bears’ locker room and the recruiting room. Briles plans to put on a show for those recruits.
“That’s going to be as cool as a place as there is,” Briles said. “To be on field level with the glass, that’s definitely next-level stuff. In the next 25 years you’ll see ours and see some more. The fun part for me is for them to look out there and see us winning and getting after someone.”