Bill McMahan, head track and field coach at Baylor School for 28 years, announced on April 11 that he will retire from that role at the end of the 2018 season, but will continue coaching the Middle School team as well as continuing to serve as Middle School athletic director.
"Coach McMahan had alerted us to his intentions several months ago and we have had a chance to plan the future of the program, building on Coach McMahan's great legacy," said Baylor headmaster Scott Wilson. "Coach McMahan joined the Baylor faculty my senior year at Baylor and has established himself as an icon of our faculty and coaching staff," continued Wilson. "What his teams and athletes have accomplished is nothing short of phenomenal. We are blessed that Coach McMahan will remain on our faculty, but his presence at the track every day will be deeply missed, especially by his athletes."
A 1967 Baylor graduate, McMahan returned to campus as a teacher and coach in 1974. He was named an assistant varsity football coach in 1977 and served on the Baylor staff for 31 seasons. McMahan took over as head varsity track and field coach for both girls' and boys' teams in 1991.
Taking a team approach to track and field, McMahan has a knack for positioning athletes where the most team points can be earned at large meets. Under his leadership, Baylor girls' teams have won seven state championships, including four in a row from 2008-2011, and a runner-up trophy. Added to that are 20 region championships, 10 Southeastern Optimist championships, and seven Mid-South titles. Baylor boys' teams during McMahan's tenure have won two state championships and were runners-up twice, took three region titles and were runners-up nine times, and won two Optimist championships and three Mid-South crowns.
McMahan has been named Chattanooga Area Track Coach of the Year 14 times in his 28 years as head coach and received the A.F. Bridges Coach of the Year award from the TSSAA in recognition of good sportsmanship and citizenship in 2008. He was named Tennessee State Coach of the Year for 2009-10. In 2012, McMahan was inducted into the Baylor Sports Hall of Fame and the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame.
"I want to thank (former athletic director) Austin Clark, who asked me to take over the program in 1991," said McMahan. "I told him I would do it if I could remain the head coach for both Middle School and varsity programs. I wanted the two teams to be doing things the same way. That was one of the ways I tried to create the 'team' atmosphere. I also want to thank all the coaches, some of whom worked with me for over 20 years, who have been part of the program. They deserve all the credit because they're the ones working with the kids every day."
"I will miss the competition, but as I've gotten older, and, hopefully, wiser, I've learned that winning or losing is not the most important thing. It's the relationships that you build with your coaches and, more importantly, the kids," said McMahan. "When someone comes back for a reunion, 10 or 15 years down the road, they're not going to remember how high they jumped or how fast they ran; they're going to remember their teammates and the interactions they had with their coaches. It took me a while to understand how important that is. To me, personally, some of the greatest joy I have is when track alums stop by for a visit, call me, reach out on Facebook, send me a picture of their baby, or stuff like that. That will never go away."