Something happened recently that I had hoped would never occur. Nick Joos resigned at Baylor to become the University of Missouri’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for Strategic Communications. At 92 years of age I know I’m too old to cry, but that is what I felt like doing.
When I first became sports editor of the Waco Tribune-Herald in 1954, Dub King was sports information director of the Baylor Bears. Dub had worked quite awhile for the Fort Worth Telegram before being hired to become the SID for the Texas A&M Aggies, and then Baylor football coach and athletics director George Sauer hired him away from the Aggies to take over those duties at Baylor.
Later, Sam Boyd replaced Sauer and Boyd coached the Bears to an 8-2 record and won an invitation to take the Bears to the Sugar Bowl to play No. 2-ranked Tennessee (coached by Bowden Wyatt and featuring tailback and do-it-all Johnny Majors). At that point, George Wright had replaced King as Baylor’s SID. So Sauer, Wright and I flew together to New Orleans to see what the Bears could expect (what I especially remember about that trip is that Sauer on one occasion ate two dozen oysters at one sitting). Baylor upset the highly-favored Vols, 13-7, mainly because fullback Reuben Saage recovered Majors’ fumbled punt, setting up Baylor’s winning touchdown, and because the overconfident Vols couldn’t handle the likes of Del Shofner (voted the game’s MVP) plus quarterback Bobby Jones, the touchdown passes caught by Jerry Marcontell, and the great defensive effort led by All-American Bill Glass. The team flew back to Waco two days later to be welcomed by a huge turnout.
Wright was still SID in 1961 when the Bears were invited to play Utah State in what was called the Gotham Bowl. Utah State was undefeated and ranked No. 10 nationally by the Associated Press but Don Trull, taking over for an injured Ronnie Stanley at quarterback, led the Bears to a 24-9 upset victory. Running back Ronnie Bull (later voted NFL Rookie of the Year after being drafted by the Chicago Bears), was voted the game’s MVP.
Since 1961 the Bears have had a succession of SIDs (Maxey Parrish, now a professor in Baylor’s School of Journalism, was outstanding), but Nick Joos truly was one of the best.
Former athletic director Ian McCaw brought Nick with him when he was hired as director of media and broadcast properties, and then kept moving up until he was executive associate athletic director for external affairs.
As such he became the primary spokesman for Baylor on affairs in athletics. In that capacity, he provided the strategies that helped increase net ticket revenues from $5.6 million to $14.3 million in 2016; registered nine consecutive years of football season ticket sale increases, with record sale increases the last four seasons, and among other noteworthy accomplishments he created the first-ever college basketball game to be played on the grounds of Fort Hood, the world’s largest U.S. Army post at Killeen.
Joos actually came to Baylor from the University of Minnesota, but he was only there from August-September of 2003 before McCaw, who had been director of athletics at the University of Massachusetts, persuaded Joos to accompany him to Baylor. Nick had been associate director of media relations at UMass from 2000 to 2003.
Earlier, he had been an intern in sports information, where he must have worked under the instruction of one of the all-time great SIDs Don Bryant at the University of Nebraska from August of 1987 to April of 1988. Joos moved up at Nebraska to assistant SID and then director of men’s basketball operations.
In 2008-09, while at Baylor, Joos served as president of the 2,563-member College Sports Information Directors of America and he worked out a unique hybrid relationship between Cosida and the National Collegiate Athletic Directors Association, and was able to double Cosida’s full-time staff. He was on the Board of Directors of Cosida’s Board of Directors from 2006-2012 and currently is still on the Cosida Academic All-America Committee and that organization’s Leadership Forum Committee.
And to repeat myself, Nick Joos was a friend, an accomplished athletic executive and one of the most gifted athletic department people I’ve ever been around in 65 years of covering athletic events. He leaves big shoes to fill.