Ultimate Bass

Baylor Basketball Coach Taps Classic Champ Alton Jones for Player Inspiration

Baylor Basketball Coach Taps Classic Champ Alton Jones for Player Inspiration
Alton Jones

Reigning Bassmaster Classic champion Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, soon will be the first professional angler to have his photo on the “wall of fame” in Baylor University’s Athletic Department.

Head basketball coach Scott Drew recently asked the champ to autograph a photo for the collection that serves as an inspiration to Baylor athletes.

Baylor Basketball Coach Taps Classic Champ Alton Jones for Player Inspiration
Alton Jones

Reigning Bassmaster Classic champion Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, soon will be the first professional angler to have his photo on the “wall of fame” in Baylor University’s Athletic Department.

Head basketball coach Scott Drew recently asked the champ to autograph a photo for the collection that serves as an inspiration to Baylor athletes.

“The wall has many distinguished Baylor attendees,” Drew said. “It’s a who’s-who from Baylor University. A lot of the photos are of CEOs from corporations and other successful people as well as famous athletes. Alton’s a great guy and a great role model for young people, and he will be the first pro angler included.

“Bass fishing is becoming more and more popular and nationally known. Some of our recruits who come in like to fish, and when they see Alton’s picture up there, it’s a great lead-in to tell what he’s done. Also, I love to fish, so it’s a common conversation bond.”

Jones attended Baylor, which is in his hometown of Waco, and closely follows Bears basketball. He’s such an avid fan he’s a season ticketholder, but he only recently met Drew.

“I didn’t know Coach Drew until he called me after I won the Classic,” Jones said. “He congratulated me and invited me to come down and tour the basketball facilities. It was a very special time for me to draw some insights from a man of Drew’s caliber.

“I feel very honored that he would even consider putting me on the wall next to the famous people who have been a part of Baylor.”

Drew, now in his fifth year as Baylor’s basketball coach, is somewhat of a tournament angler himself.

“I’m sure not in Alton’s class,” he said, “but I fish Wednesday night tournaments on Lake Waco. We usually have about 50 boats. I’ve been in it four times this summer, and so far have placed first, second and third.”

Drew was quick to give credit to others for his tournament success.

“One thing about coaches is they know how to recruit, so I always make sure I have very good partners,” he said.

NEW DEAL. Mike McClelland of Bella Vista, Ark., who leads the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race, set the pace in sponsorship deals late last week with the announcement that he’ll have one sponsor and a new boat wrap for a single tournament.

Rock Bridge Tobacco Corp. of Keysville, Va., manufacturer of Tahoe Smokeless, will serve as McClelland’s primary sponsor at the Bluegrass Brawl presented by Diehard Platinum Marine Batteries, the June 12-15 Bassmaster Elite Series event on Kentucky Lake out of Gilbertsville, Ky.

The agreement includes a boat wrap for the Bassmaster Elite Series pro. Just for the Kentucky event, McClelland will leave his signature orange-red Champion-Falcon Rods wrap on shore and instead run a boat wrapped with Tahoe’s logo and green-and-black signature colors.

“I’ve got a second Champion/Mercury rig that’s being wrapped right now to be ready in time,” McClelland said. “It will have the Tahoe colors and logo, but both Champion and Falcon Rods will still be part of the wrap.”

The Tahoe wrap might figure into future deals with Tahoe after the Kentucky Lake event, McClelland said, so he’ll hang on to it.

He said he also has had new tournament jerseys made with the Tahoe logo and colors for the Bluegrass Brawl.

FAN FUN IN ALABAMA. Always chock-full of activities for fishing fans and their families, the Bassmaster Elite Series promises to outdo itself this week in Decatur, Ala., at the Southern Challenge presented by Advance Auto Parts.

With a first prize of $100,000, the June 5-8 Elite competition on Wheeler Lake is the star of the show, but the slate of free entertainment at Ingalls Harbor, 701 Market St. NW in Decatur, will keep fans busy all four days.

Everyone’s invited to watch the world’s best bass pros launch their wrapped boat rigs at Ingalls Harbor Thursday-Sunday at 6 a.m. CT. At the same location, weigh-ins will begin each day at 3 p.m. CT.

Singer Chadd Bradford will kick off the weekend fun at noon Saturday. The fun continues through Sunday with more than two dozen activities, such as Skeeter Boat rides, Berkley Beginner fishing classes, Bassmaster University’s “Ask the Experts” hosted by Steve “Lurch” Scott and the Toyota Prove It Tour.

The live taping of Bassmaster.com’s Hooked Up, always a fan favorite, will begin at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. ESPN Outdoors personalities Tommy Sanders and Mark Zona will host the show that previews the final-day weigh-in. The show will be followed by live, streaming video of the weigh-in.

For the full list of Southern Challenge events, fans can go to http://www.Bassmaster.com (from the Tournaments tab, pull down to the “Attend an Event” link).

ON THE RADIO. Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Rick Clunn of Ava, Mo., went on the air last week to talk up National Fishing & Boating Week, June 1-8.

The two Bassmaster Elite Series pros did a series of radio interviews to help get the word out about the eighth annual celebration of sportfishing and boating.

The national observance includes thousands of fishing and boating activities for families and kids, and those activities are sponsored and conducted by private groups and state and federal agencies. A searchable resource that describes what’s happening in each state this week is available at http://www.takemefishing.org.

National Fishing & Boating Week is coordinated by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation of Alexandria, Va., a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing participation in fishing, boating and aquatic stewardship.

COMING UP EMPTY. "It’s quite embarrassing … if you come in with nothing, you don’t get any points. I really went up there just to gain some points and see where it’d put me at the end of the day if I could catch five. I didn’t even think I had a chance of catching five that late in the day." — Carolina Clash winner Fred Roumbanis, on the desperate situation he was in by 10:30 a.m. on the final day of the event, which caused him to run miles across South Carolina’s Lake Murray at the last minute; Roumbanis eventually landed a five-fish limit weighing 17 pounds, 14 ounces, and just made it back in time for the final weigh-in

About BASS

For 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multi-media platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive web properties in Bassmaster.com and ESPNOutdoors.com, the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage to passionate audiences.

The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Women’s Bassmaster Tour and the Bassmaster Classic, the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS sanctions more than 20,000 events annually.

BASS also offers an array of services to its more than 525,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.



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