History of Boys' Basketball at Baylor
Baylor throughout its athletic history has enjoyed a rich tradition of excellence in boys’ basketball, producing a number of outstanding teams that have been known for reaching their maximum potential.
This has been particularly true for Baylor teams since 1982, when Austin Clark began his tenure as head coach. Under his watch, Baylor has advanced to the region or state tournament most years. His teams have also developed a reputation for playing hard, playing smart and playing as a team.
This tradition of teamwork was actually established many years before. Among the early Baylor teams that were successful were the city champion 1915-16 squad, the state championship team of 1916-17, the city champions of 1917-18, the state champions of 1929-30 and the city champions of 1930-31.
The early Baylor basketball coaches included Sam McAllester, who had formerly been the head football coach at the University of Chattanooga (now UTC); former Baylor headmasters Herbert Barks Sr. and Alex Guerry Sr.; and legendary former head Baylor football coach James Rike.
In 1929, alumnus Bob Hill became coach and served for 31 years. Among his numerous outstanding teams were the Mid-South championship squads of 1934-35, 1944-45, 1945-46 and 1956-57.
In 1960 Jack Stanford took over and continued the run of excellence, winning the Mid-South championship an impressive four seasons in a row, from 1961-62 through 1964-65.
After stepping down in 1971 following a successful tenure to work in administration full time, Coach Stanford was replaced by Jimmy Duke, who had come to Baylor from City High. The popular Coach Duke had an outstanding team in 1973-74 led by the tall Stewart Zane, Larry and Harry Cash, Randy Levi, Greg Carden, Jack Latimer and football standouts Andy Rutledge, Cal Jumper and Scott Price.
After a couple of down years in the mid-1970s, Coach Duke returned Baylor to prominence with three outstanding teams from 1976-79. The 1977-78 squad, which tied for first in the former Chattanooga Interscholastic League, was the first since Baylor had joined the TSSAA to win a Chattanooga league or district title. Part of the reason for the success during these three years was Jimmy Braddock ‘79, who enjoyed a stellar career at Baylor before playing at North Carolina.
Coach Duke stepped down as a coach in 1980 and was replaced by Larry Reid. After two competitive seasons, he left to become the coach at Tennessee State.
Reid was replaced by former Tennessee Vol player Austin Clark in 1982. After a couple of rebuilding years, Coach Clark began setting quite a standard of excellence with his 1984-85 team, which won the district regular season championship.
The 1985-86 team may have been the best in modern school history. It lost only three regular season games and was ranked No. 3 in the state at one point. Unfortunately, that squad was upset by McCallie in the first round of the district tournament.
The next season, 1986-87, Baylor redeemed itself. Led by Brian Partridge, Evans Dunn, Murray Willis, Eric Smith, John Reid, Mike McCamish, Matt Brown and Doug Trivers, the Red Raiders advanced all the way to the state Final Four. After losing to Brainerd in the region finals, they defeated Murfreesboro Riverdale in the sub-state and then beat Nashville Stratford in the quarterfinals of the state tournament at Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gymnasium. They lost to Dyersburg in the semifinals but had already accomplished quite a lot by being the first team in Baylor history to make the State Final Four. Coach Clark’s teams then went on to win district championships in 1989-90 and 1993-94. In 1989-90, the Red Raiders again made it all the way through district regular season competition without a league loss and advanced to the sub-state. Standouts on the team included Allen Carter and Terry Readus.
Coach Clark retired as head coach after the 2018 season, his 36th at the helm, and Mark Price was named the new head coach.
The Red Raiders entered TSSAA Division II (private schools) in 1997 and reached the state Final Four in that first 1997-98 season and finished as state runner-up in 2002 and 2018.
Since the 2002 season, Baylor has been a state D-II quarterfinalist 13 times and a state semifinalist four times.