Not since 1950 had East Texas Baptist University been represented by a football team. In 1998, President Bob Riley announced that Tiger football would resume in the fall of 2000. A new 2,000 seat football stadium in the northwest part of the campus was ready in time for the homecoming game in 2000. The Tiger football team brought excitement and school spirit—and many students—to the campus on the Hill. The university adopted “Sarge,” a beautiful Siberian tiger, which became the first live mascot in school history. Within two years a splendid statue of Sarge was unveiled adjacent to Scarborough Hall. Since its unveiling, students have enjoyed dressing “Sarge” up in festive garb each holiday.
That same year the Lady Tigers softball team won the American Southwest Conference title with a perfect 12-0 record and returned to the NCCAA World Series, winning one of three games. In 2003 the volleyball team won their third consecutive conference title. A few months later, in the spring of 2004, Lady Tiger sofballers won their fifth straight conference title while posting a superb 41-5 season record. The next year the ETBU cheerleading squad was crowned national champions in the Christian Cheerleaders of America Conference. During the next few years the pride level on the Hill remained high as other ETBU teams won additional titles.
Mr. Jim Moore began the new century by leading the ETBU Concert Choir to Italy, where the young Texans toured Rome, Florence, and Venice, and participated in an international choir competition. Three summers later, in June 2004, Mr. Moore took thirty-five choir members to Russia at the invitation of the Russian Ministry of Culture. The ETBU Concert Choir performed with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra in Moscow and St. Petersburg. There would be future choir trips to Europe, and ETBU students and faculty members studied in China. Members of the football team began taking mission trips abroad to the Czech Republic and the Ukraine. Many students also enjoyed semesters abroad through the CCCU, studying at some of the oldest universities in England, Poland, and Costa Rica.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. ~ Psalm 100:5
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