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Wednesday, April 25, 2007
April 25, 2007
By Nate Rau, Sports Correspondent
Before Bud Adams ever moved the Houston Oilers to Tennessee, before the NHL even thought about selling hockey in the South and before Music City was chocked full of Division I athletic programs, Lipscomb baseball was as big of a sports story as any other in Nashville.
Thirty years have passed since the legendary Ken Dugan coached the Bisons to the first national championship in the program's history. Lipscomb went to St. Joseph, Mo., and won the 1977 NAIA World Series by defeating Southeast Oklahoma 2-1.
This weekend the school will honor that team by inducting its pitching coach, the also legendary Roy Pardue, into its athletic Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place prior to Saturday's game against Boulevard rival Belmont.
Prior to that game, the 1977 team will be on hand to throw out the first pitch and celebrate its historic accomplishment. The Bisons went on to win the national championship again in 1979.
"We played as a team. That's what made our team what it was," said Tim Pardue, the son of the Hall of Fame coach, who was the winning pitcher on both championship teams. "There weren't a lot of superstars, although there were several guys that had the opportunity to play pro ball when they graduated. We all still played as a team."
It was a team known for its pitching, as was often the case under Roy Pardue-coached teams. Tim Pardue went 12-0 that year and was one of a handful of Bisons pitchers to go on to play professionally.
Roy Pardue, who coached pitchers at the school for 17 years, also tutored Bo McLaughlin, who became the first Lipscomb player to make it to the majors, and Butch Stinson, a first round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox.
"If you talk to native Nashvillians who know the game of baseball, the first person they'll mention when thinking back to the great players and great teams is my daddy," Tim Pardue said. "People will come up to me over the years and say, `You were great, but your daddy was the best there was.'"
It's fitting that the school's first national championship team is being honored this year, during a baseball rejuvenation under first-year coach Jeff Forehand. The Bisons (25-17, 9-6 Atlantic Sun) are contending for a spot in the A-Sun tournament and their series with BU will be the most important ever since the two teams went to NCAA Division I. The Bruins (24-16, 11-7) are second in the league.
"The thing about coach Forehand is he has us believing and buying into what he's teaching," said Caleb Joseph, the team's catcher. "We believe in him and we believe we can get Lipscomb baseball back to what it once was."