WACO, Texas (KWTX) The Women's NCAA National Championship game had Baylor fans on the edge of their seats, but likely none more so than a local family-owned business with tens of thousands of dollars on the line.
(Photo courtesy of Butch Mogavero)
We're not talking about gambling: we're talking about stone, cold faith.
In anticipation of the Lady Bears winning the NCAA National Championship, Boulder Designs in Waco made an eleven foot, 20,000-pound boulder monument recognizing the accomplishment well before it happened.
"My wife is probably the biggest Baylor fan out here, and she was at the UConn game and she came home and said 'hey, that wasn't a fluke, they are legitimately better than anybody else,'" said Butch Mogavero, CEO & Owner of Boulder Designs. "I said 'okay, let's go ahead and build it.'"
The Lady Bears beat UConn 68-57 on Jan. 3, 2019, three months before the team clenched the school's third national championship title.
Mogavero said it took about a month of planning and a month to build the monument which was finished last week.
Since then, they've been hiding it, he says.
"I wouldn't want to get it out there and say we jinxed 'em by getting it out there ahead of time, so we tarped it up and covered it," said Mogavero.
The secret was out and in the sunlight at the Ferrell Center Monday for all of Baylor Nation to see.
In addition to fans who stopped by throughout the day to snap photos, the basketball team and coaches including Head Coach Kim Mulkey came to take photos in front of their new monument.
Although Mogavero already has Baylor licensing, he says KWTX helped make the idea come to fruition by connecting him with coaches and athletic staff.
"Julie (Hays) was instrumental from the start, I talked to her about it probably a couple months ago," said Mogavero.
The months of planning, designing and building the $30,000 boulder nearly crumbled Sunday night when what was shaping out to be a landslide victory turned into a nail-biter.
"I'm not going to lie to you, there was some stuff going on in our living room that was scary," joked Mogavero.
Although Baylor was up by 17 at one point, following a major injury, the Lady Bears lost their lead but came back to beat Notre Dame by one point, 82-81.
Mogavero said, if the team had lost, they would have been left with one very expensive paperweight.
"The bottom of Lake Waco was a thought, there were several ideas," Mogavero said jokingly about what to do with the monument had the team not won. "I was truly just hoping we didn't have to go there."
And they didn't have to go anywhere except to Baylor to celebrate the team which simultaneously clenched a national championship while solidifying a destiny the Mogaveros had enough faith in to have it set in stone...literally.
"When we finally made the decision to put 'national champions' on it, and then they fulfilled it, it was just a neat thing, not just for us but I think for all of Baylor," said Mogavero.