Joey Haines, a former track and field coach and athlete at Lipscomb University, has been named to the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Coaches Hall of Fame. Haines started his coaching career at Lipscomb. He retired in 2008 after 26 years as the track and field coach for both men’s and women’s teams at Southeast Missouri State (SEMO). He will be inducted Dec. 15 at the USTFCCCA Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. Haines is also a member of the Ohio Valley Conference and Drake Relays Halls of Fame. A previous “where are they now” feature he spent some time again this week with lipscombsports.com.updating his life.
What was is like to be named to the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame?
“It is really special to get that call from the coaches’ association because it spans the NAIA and all NCAA Divisions. It also honors my seven years in the NAIA at Lipscomb and my time at Austin Peay. When I first came to SEMO we were NCAA Division II.
“I coached both men and women at SEMO and I would have 60 or 70 student-athletes on my speed dial. Then all of sudden you retire and you are nobody. You go from working 18-20 hours a day dealing with your athletes to all of a sudden being a nobody. You walk around saying. `I used to be somebody’.
“I was put in the Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame a couple of years ago. Four or five years ago I was inducted into the Drake Relays Hall of Fame. It is nice that they have been kind of spread out. I am somebody again.”
What years did you participate on the track and field team at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
"I threw the javelin. I came to Lipscomb as a sophomore in the fall of 1966. I came from Columbus College (now Columbus State University). At the time I was there it was a junior college. They didn’t have athletics, but it was only a block from my house.
“Bailey Heflin was my coach at Lipscomb.
"I was an assistant coach at Lipscomb in 1970 and the head track and field coach at Franklin High in 1971. I returned to Lipscomb and spent the next seven years there as head track and field coach.
“We had a very good track and field program at Lipscomb. Bailey kind of got it started.
Why did you choose Lipscomb?
“I was headed to Auburn. They recruited me, but they didn’t have enough money for me to be able to go. So I went to junior college and continued to work out.
“Coach Heflin called me and I decided to go to Lipscomb. The school was NAIA then and you didn’t have to sit out a year if you were transferring from a junior college. If I had gone to Auburn the Southeastern Conference had a rule that you had to have graduated from the junior college or you had to sit out a year.
“Coach Heflin gave me enough money to go there. Lipscomb was the place I would have loved to have gone to anyway but without the scholarship I probably wouldn’t have been able to go.
“I liked the Christian atmosphere. I just liked everything about it. It was a no-brainer for me. My mother’s people were from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Lipscomb was a long way from Columbus, Georgia but I was getting closer to my mother’s people.”
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
“We were NAIA when I was an athlete and a coach at Lipscomb, but most of the teams we had to compete against were NCAA. Belmont and Trevecca were NAIA schools, but they didn’t have track and field programs at the time.
“We were competing against Tennessee Tech in a dual meet. And, at the time, Tennessee tech had a very good men’s track program. We had never beaten them in a dual meet. There were two events left – the javelin and the shot put. At the time I was second in the javelin and I had one throw left. I moved up and won the javelin. The shot putter finished second and we beat Tennessee Tech.
“As a coach it would have to be when Jim Bloomingburg won the NAIA National Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina. That was my biggest thrill as a coach at Lipscomb.
“We competed way over our heads. We recruited a lot of outstanding athletes…NCAA Division I level athletes…like Bloomingburg who could have gone any place in the country.
“We had athletes like Robert Smith, Robert Cobb? Charlie Lyle. We didn’t have a facility but the one thing we had going for us was the university had a WATS line back then. We could call anywhere we wanted long distance. As long as an athlete had a phone we could recruit them.
“We were able to sell the Christian education to them. We found a good balance. We had kids who were there for the Christian atmosphere.”
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
“That’s hard to say. Brother Willard Collins and Brother Carl McKelvey were always really good to me. Brother Collins was a vice-president when I was there and Brother McKelvey was the dean of students. They both had a big influence on me when I was coaching. As far as helping me make things work at Lipscomb they were both outstanding.
“Dean Hayes at Middle Tennessee State was mentor to me even though he didn’t have anything to do with Lipscomb. I got to know him when I was an athlete. He was always a guy I could count on for athletic help.
“Coach Heflin was very creative. He really got the ball rolling here in track and field. I learned from him how important recruiting was and how to recruit. He was real good at talking to the `mamas’. If you don’t recruit the mama you are in trouble because you aren’t going to get the kid.”
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
“My senior year my girlfriend, Jane, who is my wife, transferred to Lipscomb from Columbus College.
“I also remember the Tuesday night devotionals and things like that.”
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
“The Christian atmosphere definitely has an effect on everybody that goes there. If a student goes to Lipscomb he or she is going to be a better person than they were before they got there.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had gone to Auburn like I originally was headed. I don’t know that for sure, but I believe going to Lipscomb had a tremendous effect on my life.”
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
“Eugene `Fessor’ Boyce. Dr. Duane Slaughter. Dr. Ralph Nance in the physics department. I don’t remember having a bad professor.
“The neat thing about being a student there from 1966-69 and coming back as a coach a year later was really getting to know everyone. I knew them as professors like Batsell Barrett Baxter and Marlin Connelly in the Bible department when I was a student, but as a coach I got to talk to them in the faculty lounge and other places on campus. I really got to know them as people.
They were heroes to you but they weren’t superheroes. They were people like everybody else, but they were great teachers.
“Retention at Lipscomb was really important. Professors took it personally. They wanted their students to succeed, That was always a strong point.”
Where do you live now?
"About 20 miles north from Cape Girardeau, Missouri."
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
“I retired in 2008 after 26 years at SEMO. After I left Lipscomb I spent four years at Austin Peay.
“When I retired we bought 22 acres and we built a house. We wanted to have some kind of livestock. I started looking at different things. I bought a few goats and I just fell in love with them.
“I had around 70. I have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. God has been good for me. I am blessed. I am going to be all right. But farming is hard enough when you are healthy so we are in the process of selling down.
“We were raising show goats (Boers). When you retire from coaching you still want to compete. We tried to breed the best stock we could.”
Tell us about your family.
"My wife, Jane, and I have two children - Jennifer Doolittle who is a nurse and lives in Macon, Georgia and a son, Talley Haines, who is a baseball coach at Mobile Christian School in Mobile, Alabama.”
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.