After Bailey Heflin graduated from Lipscomb University he became a coach at the school, serving as head coach for track and as an assistant coach for basketball. As the president of Big Rock Construction (BRC) he constructs buildings. As a coach at Lipscomb he helped to build young athletes into being successful adults. He played a historic role in the development of the athletic department, recruiting the first black athletes to the school. He took time out from his work day to spend some time with Lipscombsports.com.
What sport did you play at Lipscomb? What years? Who were your coaches?
“I played basketball and ran track from 1960-64, and coached track and was an assistant coach for basketball from 1965-69. My coaches were Coach Charley "Tiger" Morris and Coach Ken Dugan.”
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
“As a student, setting the high jump record that wasn't broken for many years, playing in the first basketball game at the new Municipal Auditorium and beating Western Kentucky, and getting to go to the National NAIA Championship.
“As a coach, it was winning several track and cross country championships and having several athletes make All-American -- Andy Russell, Joey Haines, and Lewis Allen.”
What do you think of the successes of cross country and track and field at Lipscomb?
“A lot of things have changed since I was a student and coach at Lipscomb. I think the athletic department is in good hands. Coach Bill Taylor and Coach Luke Syverson are doing a great job with the track and cross country teams.
“When I was there we built track up and then it sort of faded over the years. They have done well building it back up. Winning both cross country championships in the Atlantic Sun Conference Saturday was really good. People should be proud of what they are doing.
“Back in my day we only had two-and-half scholarships for track. We were competing against Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, Tennessee Tech and Austin Peay. The budget and support have increased for track and cross country and they have done well. They recruit all over the country. They work hard.”
What was it like to be involved recruit the first black athletes for the Lipscomb program?
“In the “Nashville Banner” in 1968 the headline was “Lipscomb signs first black athletes”.
“We recruited James Teat and Lewis Allen, two track stars from Miami-Jackson High School in Miami, Fla. I recruited Bruce Bowers for basketball from Cumberland High School in Bordeaux.
“I ran into Bruce a few years ago, and he told me that he had been a teacher, coach, and principal for Metro Nashville Schools and then was an Assistant Director with the School Board. He has done really well. He gave a lot of credit to Lipscomb for his success.
“He could play basketball. He could shoot and rebound. He loved Lipscomb when he was playing. He had a good experience at Lipscomb.
“Bruce Bowers, James Teat, and Lewis Allen were three fine young men who came to Lipscomb and excelled.”
What is your connection with new Lipscomb Bisons basketball coach Casey Alexander?
“I'm excited with the hire of Casey Alexander. Casey played basketball and baseball for me when he was 8 - 15 years old. He is an outstanding young man and a real competitor and will be a great asset to Lipscomb. I look forward to watching his success.”
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
“Coach Charlie Morris and Dr. James Ward.
Dr. Ward worked really hard to build the track and cross country teams at Lipscomb. We didn't have a track, but we trained hard and he encouraged us in everything we attempted.
“Coach Morris once told me that I wasn't as good as I thought I was. After coaching with him, I learned to really appreciate him. He was the most detail-oriented coach I've ever known. He taught me more about discipline than I had ever known.
“I also had so much encouragement from others outside of the athletic department. Lee Marsh, Jim Woods, Robert Hooper, Doyle Gaw and many others supported me and I greatly appreciated their friendships and encouragement.”
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
“Tuesday night devotions on the steps with Dean Mack Craig, and the friendships and camaraderie with other students and teachers that have lasted all these years.
“Also, watching some of the young men that were elementary and high school students, who hung out at the gym when I coached, and now seeing the success of Frank Bennett, Ernie Smith, Tom Dillingham and some of those other guys. They were great young students and athletes who grew into outstanding men.”
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
“I grew up on a farm in Big Rock, Tenn., a small town in Stewart County. When I came to Lipscomb, I had been a "big fish in a small pond". I soon learned that there were a lot of "big fish" at Lipscomb and many of them had excelled in their high schools and communities.
“Getting to know those students and learning from them and their experiences and being able to share my experiences with them was a great learning experience for me. I made friends that have lasted a lifetime and I look forward to seeing and talking to those people every chance that I get.
“For years after I left Lipscomb, I had lunch with Leo Snow almost every week. He was one of the funniest people that I have ever met and I learned much more from him after I left Lipscomb, than I learned in his class. Also, having the opportunity to discuss history with Dean Craig and going hunting with Coach Tom Hanvy were two of the relationships that started at Lipscomb and continued for many years afterwards.”
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
“I really enjoyed Coach Duane Slaughter, "Fessor" Boyce, Coach Hanvy, Dean Craig, Dr. Lewis Maiden, Coach Morris, Dr. Ward and Leo Snow. All of these men were very influential in my life. Even after I left Lipscomb, I continued my friendship with Dr. Ward, Dr. Maiden, Leo Snow and others, and they were some of the finest Christian men that I've ever known. They all had a great effect on my life.”
Where do you live now?
“I've lived in Nashville since 1960 when I came to Lipscomb. It's a great city and I've enjoyed being here.”
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
“I’m the President of Big Rock Construction (BRC), a small company that primarily does commercial build-outs. We've worked on the Hard Rock Café in downtown Nashville, Cross Point Church, Trevecca Nazarene Community Church, Blue Coast Burrito in Cool Springs, and several other large projects.”
Tell us about your family.
“My son, Bailey Heflin III, attended Lipscomb from kindergarten through college. He played baseball for Coach Dugan and is a businessman in Nashville.
“Both of my sisters, Brenda Heflin Hunter and Connie Heflin Anderson, graduated from Lipscomb and my niece, Candice McQueen, is the Dean of the College of Education at Lipscomb.
“My parents decided early in my life that I would go to college and that Lipscomb was the best place for me. They knew what they were doing. It was a great experience for all of us.”
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.