Sports Briefs, Spring 2011

March 15, 2011

Baylor fares well in All-Big 12 basketball honors

Three men and five women were honored by the Big 12 when the league announced its all-conference basketball teams and honors in March.

The Lady Bears became the first team in Big 12 history to collect five individual awards from the conference. Brittney Griner was named Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, joining Coach of the Year Kim Mulkey, Newcomer of the Year Destiny Williams and Freshman of the Year Odyssey Sims. Griner, Sims and Melissa Jones were each named first-team All-Big 12.

On the men's side, LaceDarius Dunn became just the third Bear ever to be named first-team All-Big 12, joining Terry Black (2001) and Curtis Jerrells (2008). Perry Jones III made the second team as well as the All-Rookie Team, while Quincy Acy received honorable mention and was co-winner of the league's Sixth Man Award.

Briles tabs Bennett as new defensive coordinator

The Baylor defensive coaching staff received a new look in January, as veteran Phil Bennett was named the Bears' new defensive coordinator and several other changes followed.

Bennett, a 32-year coaching veteran, has served as defensive coordinator at seven schools, including LSU, Texas A&M, Kansas State and Pitt, and is widely respected for his experience and defensive mind. Last fall at Pitt, his squad ranked ninth nationally in total defense. Bennett served as the Panthers' interim coach and led the team to a BBVA Compass bowl victory after head coach Dave Wannstedt's departure.

Joining Bennett on the BU defensive staff will be linebackers coach Jim Gush and cornerbacks coach Carlton Buckels. Former defensive coordinator Brian Norwood is now in charge of the Bears' secondary as associate head coach. Larry Hoefer, Kim McCloud and Theo Young were not retained.

Pair of Bears invited to NFL Combine

Seniors Phil Taylor and Danny Watkins were both invited to work out for National Football League coaches and scouts at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine Feb. 23-March 1 in Indianapolis, a h3 indication that each has a good chance of being selected in this year's NFL draft (April 28-30).

Both Taylor, a defensive lineman, and Watkins, an offensive lineman, stood out during workouts leading up to the 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl in late January.