Jim Baird

This collection began with the Kentucky Oral History Commission’s effort to establish oral history programs in each of the state’s 120 counties. County libraries worked with local volunteers to collect interviews. Since 1987, county oral histories have been generated primarily by recipients of technical assistance grants from the commission that provide training and equipment to volunteer interviewers. Interviews donated by independent researchers are also included. Original collection held at Kentucky Oral History Commission/Kentucky Historical Society Access copies available at Lincoln County Public Library. Authorization must by granted by KHS to use or publish by any means the archival material to which the Society holds copyright.



August 12, 2013 

 Provided by WPBK-FM

Mr. Pendleton: All right, I’m talking to Jim Baird here in Lincoln County.  Jim, the High School Athletic Association records show that you played basketball at Hustonville High School, is that correct? 

Mr. Baird: Yes, sir, it is.  We was the Tigers. 

Mr. Pendleton: And, you graduated in 1961, is that right? 

Mr. Baird: Right. 

Mr. Pendleton: And, where did you go to college? 

Mr. Baird: I went to Eastern, Eastern Kentucky. 

Mr. Pendleton: And, did you play basketball? 

Mr. Baird: I tried out, but I got cut.  I was too short. 


Mr. Baird: I couldn’t make it. 

Mr. Pendleton: How did that make you feel? 

Mr. Baird: Well, it made me feel great to make the first cut, and then I had a lot of…K. Morris, I knew he played at Monticello…by the way, they were the ones that beat us in the region when I was a junior, but, anyway, he tried to help me out by talking to Coach { }, but it didn’t work. 

Mr. Pendleton: I guess, that…you know, you play in high school, and you go to college and you think, oh, maybe I’m going to be able to play here and then it doesn’t work out, but, I guess…was it kind of like a thing where you’re like, well, I can focus on a hundred percent on my school work now?  (laughing) 

Mr. Baird: Well, I didn’t do that either. 


Mr. Baird: But, they ended up with five players that year.  They played games with three players.  Tennessee Tech…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow, really. 

Mr. Baird: Yeah, sure did. 

Mr. Pendleton: Interesting; you played for Jack Denny Johnson.  What was he like as a coach? 

Mr. Baird: He was a great coach.  We played zone, and I’m sure a lot of people remember Dale Moore from Inez, he was an all American at Eastern, and he wanted Coach Johnson to teach him how to play that two-three zone.  But, I don’t think he ever learned it. 

Mr. Pendleton: Hmm.  What do you think made him such a good coach? 

Mr. Baird: Well, probably the, you know, player/coach rapport.  I don’t know, cause he…he was from McKinney, and I know we could beat them. 


Mr. Baird: But, I really don’t know.  He just was that good a fundamentalist and kept it, you know, simple. 

Mr. Pendleton: Right; now, there were a lot of future coaches that played on teams that you were on at Hustonville; people like Mike Candler, Glenn Jeffries, Johnny Wilder, and you.  Why do you think so many went into coaching? 

Mr. Baird: I guess, possibly…oh, by the way, I was the best coach. 

Mr. Pendleton: Okay. 

Mr. Baird: No, just kidding again. 


Mr. Baird: Probably because of Johnson’s fundamental basketball and, you know, he kept it simple and you win games.  You don’t get too complicated with high school players. 

Mr. Pendleton: Hmm.  Talk about what you did after college. 

Mr. Baird: After college, I got a job…I was a major in physical education and health and recreation.  My first job was a half year at Waynesburg Elementary School teaching math.  And, I loved it.  I had good kids up there; great.  And, then I went to McKinney for a year and I had great kids down there, and, you know, I got along with them.  And, then, I went to Stanford for 28 years. 

Mr. Pendleton: Talk about when you made the decision there, or you had the opportunity presented to you or whatever, to go into coaching.  How did that come about? 

Mr. Baird: Well, that’s the reason I went into the teaching profession, because I wanted to coach.  And, I think I was fairly successful, until the last game we played and I’ll never forget it. 

Mr. Pendleton: And, I guess that was back in the time…and I guess it has been that way for most of the High School Athletic Association, you had to be a teacher to be a coach, is that right? 

Mr. Baird: Back then you did, now you don’t. 

Mr. Pendleton: Hmm, interesting. 

Mr. Baird: They consolidated in 1974, and I’ve got to tell you this.  I’m still mad. 

Mr. Pendleton: Oh, really. 

Mr. Baird: We won the district and, which, I’m thinking that’s…until someone proves me different, I think that’s the only time Stanford won the district. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Baird: And, went to the region, Monticello again, but the thing about that, we outscored them nine field goals, and got beat five points.  We shot five free throws and they shot thirty some.   

Mr. Pendleton: Hmm. 

Mr. Baird: And, there was one referee…I won’t call his name, but we really had it out after that game. (laughing) 

Mr. Pendleton: Now, were you an assistant to Doug Pendygraft? 

Mr. Baird: I sure was.  I sure was, and Doug was a good coach, but he was trying to run the Auburn shuffle with high school kids.  And, I told him, I said, Auburn can’t even run it, so, we need to change.  But, anyway, Doug was a good coach, and I really enjoyed being an assistant under him.  And, he did me a favor.  They kinda…you know how they do, they kind of wanted to get rid of him, and he said, if you will let Jim have the job, I’ll quit. 

Mr. Pendleton: Really. 

Mr. Baird: And, he sure did. 

Mr. Pendleton: Now, he…you know, I didn’t realize it, about him, he played for U.K., played under Coach Rupp.  Anything about his style, that he learned, or you saw, that maybe he was influenced by Adolph Rupp? 

Mr. Baird: Well, he competed.  And, he was a winner.  And, we sent lots of nights…I wasn’t married…but lots of nights up at his house figuring out which…to do.  By the way, I think he still has the record of 68 points in the final game for Lindsay Wilson. 

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah, we talked about that.  Okay, um…. 

Mr. Baird: His family was nice, too. 

Mr. Pendleton: You remained as a teacher at Stanford for a while, right?  Is that correct? 

Mr. Baird: After consolidation, they wanted me to go to the high school, but I just stayed with the elementary and junior high. 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes).  Uh, did you coach the middle school team at Stanford for a while? 

Mr. Baird: Well, we couldn’t find anybody to coach, and the year after, I’d coached 7th and 8th grade boys and girls.  That was in ’75. 

Mr. Pendleton: When did you retire? 

Mr. Baird: 1995. 

Mr. Pendleton: Okay; and, at some point, were you an assistant at the high school, Lincoln County High School? 

Mr. Baird: Well, back at Stanford, Coach Leedy was my assistant, and I was assistant in football, and I was assistant in football out there for three or four years.  That was in 1980, I think, I went out as assistance coach in basketball. 

Mr. Pendleton: What are your members…what are your memories of the era when you were playing at Hustonville? 

Mr. Baird: Oh, man. 

Mr. Pendleton: They were the Tigers, is that right? 

Mr. Baird: Hustonville Tigers, yes.  Well, it might be the year we played Ferguson at Hustonville.  We had a cracker box gym.  I mean, it was little.  The out of bounds line went under the stage. 

Mr. Pendleton: (laughing) 

Mr. Baird: It was about a foot out.  You had to…you didn’t want to go straight in for a lay up.   

Mr. Pendleton: Wow. 

Mr. Baird: But, we were down a point, and not many seconds left, and I stole the ball and went in for a lay up to win the game. 

Mr. Pendleton: Hm. 

Mr. Baird: I’ll never forget that. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow, that’s one of those…is that more like one of those moments where time stands still? 

Mr. Baird: I was scared, that boy was about 6’3” and I was about 5’6” and I just knew he was going to block it, but he didn’t. 

Mr. Pendleton: What about when you were coaching.  What was the era like then?  What was the time like, I guess you could say? 

Mr. Baird: Well, you know, I never was even at Hustonville.  I dated girls in Stanford and Crab Orchard.  But, it’s always been…or used to be, you know, the county seat was Stanford, and everybody wanted to beat you…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Hmm. 

Mr. Baird: Really bad.  So, I suggested the last year, we just play each other one game or none, really, is what I wanted, so, that, maybe, the friction would leave.  But, anyway…I don’t know…I just…gosh, I…I liked all the county people, and because I was county, and I didn’t have any problems with…I’m sure I had problems with a few of them (laughing)…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Right. 

Mr. Baird: But…. 

Mr. Pendleton: You know, a lot of people talk about the rivalry was with Lancaster.  Was there another school in the county where there was a rivalry too? 

Mr. Baird: I’d say, when I was…McKinney was our rival, and Liberty, down in Casey County, when I played.  But, I don’t think…I didn’t consider it a rival.  I wanted to beat Lancaster or Garrard County, when I coached, and I didn’t think I would ever be for Garrard County, but I’ve got two twin grandsons that are playing and go to school in Garrard County, so I told them that I guessed I’d have to pull for them. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow. 

Mr. Baird: But, as far as a real rivalry, I don’t…I can’t really say that it was that strong, from my point of view. 

Mr. Pendleton: What are you doing these days? 

Mr. Baird: Loafing most of the time. 


Mr. Baird: And, doing a little farming. 

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah. 

Mr. Baird: I was born and raised on the farm, and I had to have something to do, so I bought my brother and sister out on the old home farm when my mother died.  Then, I listed it this year, because I just can’t do it like I want to do it. 

Mr. Pendleton: Now, talk about…what do you want to say about this question about the…Virgil Benge was named the head girls’ coach, Johnny Wilder the assistant boys’ coach, Mike Candler the Athletic Director, Roger Meek, the head boys’ coach…when the consolidation came, you weren’t really in the running as the new basketball coach because of the politics involved and Coach Leedy being the football coach, and coming from Stanford.  

Mr. Baird: Well, I understood that.  And, like I say, I was offered co-coach by the Chairman of the Board, which was Lowell McGuffey, and I just turned that down.  But, I had no problems with that, because Coach Leedy is such a great guy, and I knew no other team had football, and he’s the one they should have picked.  And, I understood that.  But, later on, I did want to be…try to give it a try, and if I didn’t win, they wouldn’t have to fire me, because I would quit after 34 years. 

Mr. Pendleton: Do you wish the consolidation never would have come about? 

Mr. Baird: In a way, yes, I do, for the next two years, because I had some good athletes… 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Baird: And, helped them in Lincoln County. 

Mr. Pendleton: Hmm. 

Mr. Baird: And, I had some good athletes that were cut from the team out there. 

Mr. Pendleton: Because, see, Lincoln County went to the state tournament its first year. 

Mr. Baird: Right. 

Mr. Pendleton: And, if those athletes would have stayed at Stanford, do you feel like Stanford would have been so good that you would have made it more successful than Lincoln County would have done? 

Mr. Baird: Well, we wouldn’t have had the quickness, but we would have had another shot at going to the state. 

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah. 

Mr. Baird: Like I say, in all the players, every time they come in, they’d say, they messed over us, didn’t they coach? 

Mr. Pendleton: (laughing) 

Mr. Baird: I’d say, yes, they did.  I’ll tell you how bad it was.  Of course, we didn’t have all the filming and all that… 

Mr. Pendleton: Uh huh (yes). 

Mr. Baird: And, I tried my best to get Coach Harper to let me have that film, and he wouldn’t do it.  And, I know why; because I would have sent it to the official’s association. 

Mr. Pendleton: Hmm. 

Mr. Baird: And, he didn’t want that to happen. 

Mr. Pendleton: How was the Athletic Association different then than what it is today? 

Mr. Baird: Well, I can’t really comment, because I don’t  know what it is today. 

Mr. Pendleton: Yeah. 

Mr. Baird: It’s been so long, you know. 

              Mr. Pendleton: Yeah. 

Mr. Baird: But, I just always thought when they assigned officials that I didn’t think that was right.  I thought that back in the old days, the coaches got together and they picked the officials…the officials for the, you know, tournaments.  And, you know, the bad ones wouldn’t get in there, because, you know…I call them homers, because…. 

Mr. Pendleton: I hear ya. 

Mr. Baird: But, in this case, I knew that guy was a homer, because, I hate to say it, but, when I was an assistant to Mike Candler down at McKinney and we beat a team from Berea down at McKinney with this guy coaching, I was ashamed. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow. 

Mr. Baird: That’s all I can say. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow. 

Mr. Baird: I started to turn him down, but you know, I figured he’d go back and tell other officials, and I’d still get ripped off. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow; well, that’s all the questions that we’ve got.  Anything else about your coaching or playing days that you’d like to add? 

Mr. Baird: Well, nothing other than I really, really enjoyed it.  And, one time…well, the last year I coached, we were in CKC conference, you know, with Henry Clay, Anderson County, Danville, and I couldn’t believe it, but…and I’m bragging a little, but they voted me Coach of the Year…. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow. 

Mr. Baird: For the CKC; and I told Al Prewitt, I said, Coach, you and the coach from Anderson County, one of you two should have got it.  You took your teams to the state.  He said, look, young man, he said, I’m supposed to.  He said, you had a bunch of little guys that should have gone to the state and didn’t.  So, that made me feel great. 

Mr. Pendleton: Wow; okay, well, that will do it.  I’ll turn this thing off now. 



Scroll to Top