April 28, 2007
As is often the case, a chance meeting set the stage for a working relationship that made history.
Roy Pardue was a spectator at a Vanderbilt baseball game with a friend, Bobby Reasonover, a major league scout. The temperature was about 25 degrees, less than perfect baseball weather.
When Lipscomb coach Ken Dugan walked into the stadium Reasonover said "There's Ken Dugan."
Pardue's response was, "Who?"
Reasonover introduced Pardue and Dugan. On that chilly day the two talked about baseball for 30 or 40 minutes.
"Coach Dugan told me he had a pitcher with bad form," Pardue recalled. "He told me, `he can't throw the ball over the plate'. I said, `Coach, that doesn't sound too bad. If you want to call me I will come over and work with him. That's what I did."
Pardue did much more than that. He would twice serve as pitching coach for the Bisons. His first stint was 1969 through 1980. He would return again from 1990 to 1996. He developed some of the top pitchers in the history of the Lipscomb baseball program. He helped guide the Bisons to 11 NAIA District 24 championships, five NAIA Area 5 Championships and two NAIA National Championships in 1977 and 1979.
For his contributions to the success of the Lipscomb baseball program Pardue was inducted into the Lipscomb Athletics Hall of Fame Saturday night at a dinner before the start of the Bisons baseball game with Belmont.
"Roy Pardue's symbolizes quality and habit of excellence both on the playing field and in his commitment to Lipscomb athletics and to Lipscomb baseball in particular," said Dr. Steve Potts, Lipscomb's director of athletics. "His contributions could not be recognized in better fashion than to bestow upon him our highest honor, induction in the Lipscomb Athletics Hall of Fame."
Pardue joins his son Tim, the winning pitcher in the 1977 NAIA National Championship game, as a Hall of Fame member. They are the first father-and-son to be inducted. Tim was inducted in 1994.
The evening known as a "Celebration of Champions" also honored members of the 1977 team. Marshall Shumate, an outfielder on that team, offered the opening prayer for the dinner.
Steve Fletcher, a left-handed pitcher who was named MVP of the NAIA National Tournament in 1977 and a member of the Hall of Fame, represented the team.
"I came here in the fall of 1973," Fletcher said. "In the fall coach Pardue put you out there to pitch and he just let you go. As an 18-year-old kid pitching against 21 and 22 year olds you find out that you have a lot to learn.
"He watched and saw things we could work on. After you had gotten knocked around a little bit he offered to teach you and put you to work to learn how to be successful."
Pardue didn't speak much about his playing days as part of his coaching tactics, but the players knew what he had done.
"He was very passionate about helping us be the best we could be," Fletcher said. "He and coach Dugan complemented each other wonderfully. They were best of friends. They had a lot of respect for each other."
Butch Stinson, also a Hall of Fame member, was one of the first pitchers to work with Coach Pardue.
"When you reflect back over the years you come to realize that there were a handful of people who had a profound influence on your life," Stinson said. "Roy Pardue was one of those people.
"We both came to the Lipscomb campus in the fall of 1969. I had just turned 18 and was anxious to show coach Ken Dugan what I could do. Roy was a star pitcher in his day and was left-handed two."
The two worked together for four years as Stinson developed in the all-time earned run leader in school history and also signed to play professionally.
"Roy taught me that hard work paid off," Stinson said. "He taught me that you win ball games not only with your arm, but with your legs. He taught me that those extra 100 pick-ups and extra 50 wind sprints could mean the difference in the late innings in a crucial ball game.
"He taught me how to set goals and how to get into a batter's head. I can't imagine where I would be now if it had not been for him. I am so thankful he was willing to give of his time and talents and have such a prominent impact on young men."
Another pupil was Bo McLaughlin, a former Major League pitcher who is a minor league pitching coach on the Double AA level in the Colorado Rockies organization.
"Coach Pardue taught me that if I believed in myself and used the talent I was blessed with that everything else would take care of itself," McLaughlin said. "He always taught me to let the ball go after it left my hand because after that I couldn't do anything about it. With that philosophy I made it to the big leagues.
"I now have the opportunity to teach young ball players and I use the same tactics on them. It works. I have sent over 100 pitchers to the Major Leagues in 15 years of coaching. Baseball needs more Roy Pardues."
Pardue spent 17 seasons with the Bisons. But he also had an extensive professional baseball career. A Nashville native, he played for the Nashville Vols in the early 1950s, taking time out for two years of service in the U.S. Army. He also played for the Seattle Pilots and finished his professional career in 1957 in Havana, Cuba.
He started his baseball career at North High School. He led the team to the 1949 State Championship. In 1950 and 1951 he was named the Most Valuable Player in the Nashville Interscholastic League.