Bayless scholarship tourney turns 10

Joe Avento • Apr 25, 2014 at 8:37 PM

When you hear the name Charlie Bayless, one of the first words that comes to mind is “longevity,” so it’s only fitting that a golf tournament bearing his name is enjoying a lengthy run.

Bayless, the 90-year-old legendary basketball coach at Happy Valley High School, remains an avid golfer. When he retired in 2012, Bayless was the longest-tenured high school coach in the country with 62 years of service under his belt. He won 965 games as a head coach.

The Charlie and Jane Bayless Scholarship Fund has been helping Happy Valley High school graduates attend college for years, and its fund-raising golf tournament has been a big part of its success.

The tournament will be held for the 10th consecutive year on May 3 at Elizabethton Golf Course.

“We hope it continues for another 10,” said Bob Sams, one of the founders of the scholarship fund. “This thing has gone strong for 10 years and we feel like it can keep going if we keep pushing it.

“It’s a great day, a fun day. Everybody enjoys it so much.”

The scholarship fund was begun in 2000 by a couple of former Happy Valley student-athletes, Sams and Richard Edens. They each pledged $1,000. Fittingly, the idea was hatched during a round of golf.

Today, the fund has a board of directors, $135,000 in the bank and four students presently in college. Five recipients of the scholarships have graduated from college, two from Tennessee, one from East Tennessee State, one from Milligan College and one from Virginia Tech.

The scholarships are worth $1,000 each year, but Sams said there are hopes to raise it to $2,000 someday.

The golf tournament helps raise those funds.

“We fill the tournament every year,” said Sams, who is still involved in the fund and golf tournament. “We put 90-some people in that thing every year. It’s been a great tournament and people really enjoy it.”

The entry for the tournament is $200 per four-person team.

“We have some of the greatest gifts you can get,” Sams said. “We go to all the businesses and get them to give some sort of gifts. We’ve given away everything imaginable ... vacations in Gatlinburg, oil changes, hats, shirts. We expect everybody who plays in it to get a gift.”

Hole sponsorships are available. For $100, a sign bearing the sponsor’s name will be placed on a tee box.

“We’ve had real good success sponsoring the holes,” Sams said. “That’s our money maker in this thing.”

Mulligans will also be for sale, and they’re always a popular item.

“We sell a bunch of them,” Sams said. “Everybody wants a mulligan or two. We’ll sell as many of those things as we can.”

Call Elizabethton Golf Course at 542-8051 to enter or for more information.

Follow Joe Avento on Twitter. Like him on Facebook.

Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos