Since being hired in late November, Liberty Athletic Director Ian McCaw has certainly made his impact on the Flames’ football program. From the team’s announced FBS move in February, to the numerous scheduling agreements made, and even the Williams Stadium expansion. But, there’s still one notable thing he hasn’t been a part of during his tenure at Liberty, an actual football game. He finally gets that opportunity on Saturday as Liberty takes on Big 12 foe Baylor.
Of course, we all know the story by now. McCaw resigned as Baylor’s athletic director on May 30, 2016 amid the Baylor football scandal. This came after 13 years as Baylor’s AD. The Bears’ athletic program saw great growth and success on the field of play under McCaw’s tutelage, winning 4 team national championships and 56 Big 12 conference championships during McCaw’s tenure there. Under his watch, Robert Griffin III won the Heisman Trophy in 2011, the football team won 11 games and Big 12 titles in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. For the program’s success, McCaw was named the Waco Tribune-Herald Sportsman of the Year in 2010, the NACDA West Region Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year in 2012, and the Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year in 2014. Now, he is set to return this weekend as a visitor.
“It was exciting to be the Director of Athletics when Baylor opened McLane Stadium to sellout crowds and a Big 12 championship in 2014,” McCaw told ASeaofRed.com. “The setting will be familiar, but we will be on the other side of the field. Leading up to the game, I have heard from many friends and colleagues from my time in Waco which has been very heartening. There will be a time for fellowship and reunion, yet this is a business trip and we are going to Waco with a purpose.”
When this game was scheduled, it was McCaw doing the negotiating on Baylor’s side with former Liberty AD Jeff Barber. “At Baylor, we scheduled one FCS opponent each year,” McCaw said. “Liberty contacted us asking about a future date. We had an opening for the first game in 2017 and the game was scheduled. Typically, we played FCS teams in the Southwest, but Liberty fit a hole in the schedule. In hindsight, I should have given Liberty a much larger guarantee.”
With Ian’s special knowledge of the Baylor campus and the Waco area, he has special plans made for this weekend which includes a trip to Magnolia farm and market which has become wildly popular from the hit HGTV show “Fixer Upper”. The hosts of the show, Chip and Joanna Gaines, are family friends of Ian and his family.
“We plan to take a tour of McLane Stadium, and that will be helpful as we make our plans for renovating Williams Stadium. We have a group of donors traveling with us and look forward to hosting them. There is a lot of excitement among the guests to visit Magnolia, so that will take place on Saturday morning and we will hold a pre-game tailgate event for Flames Nation at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame beginning at 3:00 on Saturday,” McCaw said.
With the effects of Hurricane Harvey still lingering, Ian is anxious to help his former home state. “What has been foremost in my emotions this week is the flooding crisis in Houston and south Texas where we have many friends. We have 8 football players among our 20 student-athletes from Texas, including a number from areas affected by the flooding. We are committed to supporting these student-athletes along with Liberty coaches, staff and students from Texas who are concerned about their loved ones during this difficult time. There are a number of Liberty students and staff who have volunteered to assist in the relief efforts through our LUSend program to be the hands and feet of Jesus during this time of need for so many. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, evacuees and relief efforts.”
McCaw is thankful and appreciative for his time at Baylor, but is now focused on his new task in building Liberty’s athletic program.
“Baylor enjoyed some remarkable competitive success with Big 12 and national titles along the way,” McCaw said. “Even more important were the academic accomplishments, life skills programming, leadership academy, community service and mission opportunities. My focus is on our exceptional student-athletes at Liberty. I could not be more encouraged about our future and the possibilities to achieve success at the conference and national levels.”
Photo courtesy Liberty Athletic Department