Three former Bisons baseball players, Buddy Harston, Phil Stinson and Jeff Guy, were inducted at a luncheon Saturday afternoon in Allen Arena.
Harston was introduced by former Bisons baseball assistant coach Roy Pardue. Stinson was introduced by Galen Foster. Guy was introduced by former McGavock and Lipscomb baseball coach Mel Brown.
Philip Hutcheson, Lipscomb’s Director of Athletics, served as the host for the event. Lipscomb baseball coach Jeff Forehand provided an update on the season. Most of his players attended the event.
Blake Bratcher, a key member of the 2008 team that earned the school’s first NCAA baseball berth, spoke briefly about what it meant for him to play at Lipscomb. He had made stops at a couple of schools before Lipscomb.
“Lipscomb is home for me,” said Bratcher. “It is a place where I feel comfortable. It is a place where I can hang my hat. “
He credited Forehand with bringing him and several other transfer players to the team over the last couple of seasons. Bratcher had earlier turned down a scholarship offer from Forehand when he was the coach at Trevecca Nazarene University.
“Not only does coach Forehand teach you how to play baseball, but he learns from his players as well,” said Bratcher. “This is a program where a lot of great things are going on behind the scenes. The lesson I learned was how a humble attitude can affect outcomes. When life throws a curve ball at you then you have to make the best of the situation.”
The three recipients made the best of their situations, though it wasn't always easy.
Harston, who now serves as the men’s and women’s golf coach at Lipscomb, was a standout baseball player that coach Ken Dugan thought enough of to make him and assistant coach when his playing days as a second baseman were over.
Harston, who played from 1971-74, was part of three NAIA national tournament teams for the Bisons. He was considered one of Lipscomb’s most consistent players with a .310 career batting average, 125 runs batted in and a .952 fielding percentage. In 1972 he was named to the All-Tournament Team at the NAIA World Series and also won the Gold Glove Award.
From 1975-77 Harston was an assistant coach under Dugan. He was part of the team that won the 1977 NAIA World Series.
Pardue, who recruited Harston, remembers that he and coach Dugan were scared they might say something that would persuade him to go to another school. He remembers vividly the summer night at Shelby Park when Harston told him he wanted to play for the Bisons.
“Buddy was a blue chip baseball player, “ said Pardue. “He is a leader both on and off of the field. He was a player that his teammates could go up and talk with.”
Harston thanked a number of people, especially his wife, Julie, and also wished that coach Dugan was still alive.
“He built an incredible baseball program built on the best of fundamentals and Christian values,” said Harston.
Foster remembered Stinson during his high school days at Hillwood when he started at quarterback, shortstop and point guard.
“Those are the places where you put your best athletes,” said Foster. “Phil came to Lipscomb and really made a difference.”
Stinson, part of a family baseball legacy at Lipscomb, talked about the influence of coach Dugan on his life.
“Coach Dugan was one of those teachers that you will always remember,” said Stinson. “Coach Dugan was tough, but he got everything out of you. It wasn’t until years later that I realized the reasons for all of the things he did.”
He talked of coach Dugan never giving up on him, even during a slump his sophomore year.
Stinson was part of NAIA World Series teams in 1974 and 1977. His last play as a college play was the final out that sealed the NAIA National Championship in 1977.
Stinson batted close to .300 for his career. He drove in 132 runs and scored 180. From 1974-77 he made 491 assists.
His best season was 1976 when he batted .384 with 48 RBI, 12 doubles and 60 runs. He was a First Team NAIA All-American.
Guy had been a star second baseman at McGavock High School, but coach Dugan quickly moved him to first base.
“Coach Brown was my mentor,” said Guy. “He taught us how to be human beings, not just baseball players.”
Guy was all set to play in the Southeastern Conference to play for the University of Mississippi. But when coach Jake Gibbs came to Memphis to watch him play Guy injured himself during warm-ups and didn’t play.
It wasn’t all that easy to convince coach Dugan to sign him either.
“Coach Dugan saw me play five times and I never got a hit in those games,” said Guy. “He kept on asking coach Brown if I could hit. Coach Brown told him he should sign me.”
Guy stressed that playing for Lipscomb was the best thing that could have happened to him.
“Coach Dugan taught me how to coach and play championship baseball,” Guy said.
Guy had a .364 career batting average. From 1978-81 he drove in 212 runs and scored 202. He had 48 doubles, 16 triples and 28 home runs. During his career he played in four NAIA World Series and was a part of the 1979 National Championship Team.