(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
Think back, if you can, to November, 1985.
Microsoft released its first version of Windows 1.0, the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes debuted in 35 newspapers all across the nation, and REO Speedwagon sang its song “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”
But it is a particular day in November we need to focus on in 1985.
It was on this day Cougar fanatics watched their beloved team upset the then, undefeated Air Force squad 28-21. This victory did not come easy however as it wasn’t until a second half final push gave BYU its first lead of the game.
During the Falcon’s final drive, and with the game on the line, Air Force looked to seal the deal by running a passing play worked earlier in the bout. As the ball went up, then BYU safety, Rob Ledenko, leaped into the air, intercepted the pass intended for an Air Force wide receiver, and ran it into the end zone bringing the game and Air Forces’ undefeated season to an end.
Cougar fans all throughout Utah Valley were ecstatic over BYU’s victory. Two such fans were an expecting father, anxiously awaiting the birth of his youngest son, and the anesthesiologist on the job.
There was one BYU fan however, who could care less about the Cougars big moment of celebration as she was in labor. Minutes after game-winning play, BYU’s very own Matt Bauman came into the world.
Determination in life:
Matt Bauman, son of Tom and Mary Ann Bauman, and now husband to Lindsay Watts-Bauman, is the youngest of five children consisting of two boys and two girls.
His father is a physician which requires him to work long and random hours, and his mother is a stay at home mom who, as Matt puts it, “raised a beautiful family, and definitely deserves credit for doing so.”
As a child, Matt was a cheerful and pleasant baby to be around. His parents also characterized their son as an independent and persistent child. One example of Matt’s early persistence could be demonstrated by his first football experience, at the age of two, where he wanted to learn to punt a football, and didn’t quit until he knew how.
As Matt continued to grow, he quickly developed into a determined, sensitive and caring young man.
“He has always been sensitive to others needs, and he always speaks kindly of everyone he comes into contact with,” Matt’s mother, Mary Anne Bauman explained. “Matt always knew what he wanted in life and wasn’t afraid to put in the work to accomplish his goals.”
One such goal Matt set for himself was to become an Eagle Scout. As a young child, Matt always loved the activities and challenges scouting offered. Of course, with both his older brothers earning their Eagle Scout awards, and with a father was the scoutmaster, everything just seemed to fall into place.
Matt’s Eagle Scout dreams were not forced however, but were supported by his family.
His project inspiration came one day while visiting an elderly home where one of his sisters used to work. He noticed the elderly women loved to garden but either could not bend down low enough to work on the ground, or couldn’t work in the garden boxes because their wheel chairs got in the way.
Matt fixed this problem by building planter boxes were wheelchair-accessible. His solution allowed the elderly women to simply wheel right up to the box so they could enjoy what they loved to do.
Matt’s project turned out to be a huge success, and an enormous blessing to the nursing home. After completing the finishing touches to this project, he achieved the rank of Eagle at the young age of 15.
Another goal Matt set for himself was to not only learn how to bowl, but to be the best at it. During his junior high school years, he signed up for bowling classes, and by the time he left middle school, Matt found himself placing first in the state of Utah.
As you can see, failure is not in Matt’s vocabulary.
Throughout his teenage years, Matt always assumed he would go in to the medical field, a path taken by his father and two older brothers, who are both dentists.
To do so, Matt realized if he wanted to succeed in this field he needed to learn everything he could in school and get superior grades. Matt took his schooling seriously and in 2004 he graduated number one in his class with a 4.0 grade point average, crushing the rumors all athletes are “total meat heads.”
After entering college at BYU however, Matt decided to forgo the medical route, and enter into the business world with an emphasis on finance.
“I realized I didn’t really like science classes...at all,” Matt explained. “The business world is one of variety and is very competitive. I like math and analytical thinking, and so studying business, with a finance emphasis is a perfect fit for me.”
Now, almost halfway through his senior year, Matt looks forward to graduating with honors from the Marriott School of Business with an emphasis in finance.
After Matt’s freshman year of college, he made the sacrifice to serve a full time mission. Serving a mission was always something Matt had planned on doing since he was a young boy. As both of his brothers served a mission, Matt saw the change in their lives’ and wanted the same experience in his.
“I wanted to help people in another, more diverse part of the world other than Utah. I wanted to develop a stronger testimony and find lose myself in the gospel,” Matt said. “Now, as I look at my life, I can definitely say I can see the blessings from serving.”
Called to the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Mission in 2005, Matt served in a variety of different areas. From the Penn State Campus to downtown Harrisburg, and from Amish area’s to project riddled ghettos, Matt learned and grew in each area he was sent to, and blessed the lives’ of those he came into contact with.
“I had many great experiences during my mission, and was fortunate to serve in an area with so much history in it; both regarding our country, and our church,” Matt said. “On one hand you had Gettysburg and other Civil War locations, and on the other you had the Susquehanna River where Joseph Smith was baptized. You can’t ask for much more.”
Matt did experience something with which the majority of missionaries do not have to deal. Most missionaries only serve with one mission president, while others are fortunate to serve under two. Matt however was fortunate to serve while three mission presidents during his two years.
“I entered the mission field around the time my first mission president was going home,” Matt explained. “The president followed actually died while serving which turned out to be really hard to deal with. We all still love him though and think of him often. I think it goes without saying the other two presidents were definitely great leaders and inspired men.”
Throughout Matt’s two year mission, he was able to form really close bonds with those he served, and served with. One such bond was with one of his Utah native companions by the name of Zac Bloxham.
Matt and Zac served together for three transfers, four and a half months, and during this short period of time, they solidified what they hope will be a life-long friendship.
“Zac always had a knack for where to go. He was really good at finding those homes where people were ready to hear our message,” Matt said. “He always had great insights and there was never a dull moment between us. Plus he is a huge BYU football fan, so we still stay in touch.”
Dedication on the Field:
Coming out of high school, Matt had not been recruited by a lot of big schools. He got a couple of offers to play at other institutions within the Mountain West Region, but in Matt’s mind, the only college worth playing for was BYU. Matt decided he was going to try out for the team and hopefully walk on as a freshman.
“I remember when I told my old high school coach I was going to try out to play for BYU. His words of encouragement to me were...’Well, good luck with fall camp. There is nothing you can do to prepare for it’,” Matt recalled. “So with those words stuck in the back of my mind, I began training harder than I ever have before.”
Matt described summer workout schedule as rigorous, but once you see what he did, most people would consider this routine as absolutely miserable.
Every morning Matt would go to the gym for two hours to lift weights. After he was done there, he went to his high school to do agility drills. After drills, and a quick bite to eat, he would hop on his bike and ride up the canyon to work on his endurance.
“I guess looking back now, I busted my butt before try outs, but it paid off in the end,” Matt said. “I was still nervous, but I feel my preparation gave me a huge advantage.”
After making the team, Matt landed himself a spot playing fifth and sixth string defense.
“I remember the first practice with full pads and full contact,” Matt recalled. “The offensive play was called where Scott Young’s, (a BYU offensive linemen) only job was to block me from getting to the running back.”
And block Matt he did!
“All I remember is the ball being hiked and the running back coming right at me. Unfortunately, I didn’t see Scott also plowing towards me. The next thing I knew, I was literally picked up off the ground and thrown through the air.”
Matt ended up bruising his tailbone after the play, and he began to question his desires to pursue a collegiate football career.
“Although I was in pain, I just knew I had to keep going. I have never been a quitter before, and I was going to start quitting then,” Matt said. “My motto I have always lived by is if you fight through the adversity, you will come to appreciate the end rewards a lot more.”
After his first “learning” experience, Matt’s freshman year only improved from there. His hard work and dedication on the field definitely paid off and he began to see a lot of time on special teams, and eventually started for the last five games of first season.
“I remember Coach (Barry) Lamb, the defensive coach at the time, pulled me aside and said to me, ‘Freshman, (my nickname from him was freshman), you’ve been doing well and I think we are going to start you this Saturday,” Matt recalled. “My first reaction was one of shock, and then I got extremely nervous. The other two linebackers then were Cameron Jensen and Brady Poppinga, and I didn’t feel I was up to their level yet.”
The game came and went, and Matt found himself forced to learn quickly as the opposing team decided to run the ball to his side a lot. In the end, Matt came away with a fair amount of bruises, but more importantly, a lot of valuable experience.
After his mission, Matt was presented, by Coach Bronco Mendenhall, with a full-time scholarship to play football. Considered as one of the greatest blessings in his life, Matt has loved every minute of playing for BYU.
“Playing here is different than playing anywhere else in the world,” Matt said. “The coaching staff does such a great job at keeping the environment unique, and always reminds us what is important as far as the gospel goes.”
Since returning from his mission, Matt’s accomplishments, and skills have grown leaps and bounds. Just in his Junior year alone, Matt earned several prestigious awards and preformed at a professional level.
Such accomplishments include earning the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American, Academic All-Mountain West Conference, the Chad Lewis Flag Bearer Award for Integrity recipient, and numerous letterman honors.
Matt also led the Cougars with 108 tackles on the season including 50 solo takedowns.
Now, halfway through his senior season, Matt continues to lead on and off the field through example, hard work, determination and dedication.
“I am so blessed to have the loving support of my family, my wife and the coaching staff here at BYU. It has truly been a blessing to play here and I am grateful for every moment I have. I want my wife, who is my best friend, to know I love her and I am grateful for her and how she keeps me grounded. I am anxious for what the future holds for us.”
BAUMAN'S FAVORITE RECIPES
On average, a collegiate athlete consumes anywhere from 3,500 to 4,000 calories a day while their sport is in season. This is especially true for a 6-foot-1, 229, linebacker. So what meal makes Matt Bauman happy and full? None other than his mother’s Swiss Steak recipe and his wife’s Chicken Tikka Masala recipe.
“I am blessed that both my wife and mother are excellent cooks,” Matt said. “It definitely is a plus to have excellent home cooked meals. I hope you enjoy my mom’s recipe.”
So check out Matt’s favorite meals, and see why he loves them so much.
Mary Ann’s Swiss Steak...A “Matt Bauman Favorite!”
Cut thin round steak into serving-size pieces (about 3x5 inches)
Coat each piece with flour, salt, onion salt, and pepper
Pound each piece, then recoat with flour mixture againBrown each piece in hot oil in Dutch oven, or cooking pot
Layer the following
Steak sprinkled with Worcestershire sauce
Cream of Mushroom soup and a can of water – (The amount depends on how much meat there is...but this makes the gravy. Soup and water should almost cover the meat.
Repeat layering until all the meat is layered.
Top with two bay leaves
Cook in Dutch oven at 300 degrees, or in a crockpot on low for 4 to 6 hours
Note: If using a crockpot, be sure to scrape out all the drippings from the browning pan.
Lindsay’s Chicken Tikka Masala
1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons garam masala
1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Cook chicken in oven at 475 till cooked through.
3. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, 2 teaspoons garam masala and 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.
4. It’s really good on top of white rice. I also serve it with the flour tortillas that you can buy un-cooked and grill at home. Enjoy!