Thursday, 23 May 2024

All-Time Great, Pioneer Scotty Bailess Passes Away

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 21, 2019) – It is with great sadness that USA Volleyball announces the passing of Alnet “Scotty” Bailess, the 2014 USA Volleyball Flo Hyman All-Time Great Female Player and a member of USA Volleyball’s Hall of Fame. Bailess, 89, passed away on Friday morning after battling recent health issues.

Paving the Way for Women’s Volleyball

Scotty Bailess was one of the pioneering players who played a vital role in the inclusion of women’s volleyball in the Olympic Games. In an era when sporting opportunities for females were limited, particularly in team sports, Bailess helped push for greater recognition and representation. She won a silver medal at the 1955 Pan American Games, which marked the first inclusion of volleyball in the event and the first-ever women’s team sport from the United States. This paved the way for volleyball to be added to the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, making it the first women’s team sport to be contested at an Olympic Games.

A Trailblazer and Inspiration

USA Volleyball CEO Jamie Davis expressed his deep appreciation for Scotty Bailess and her impact on the sport of volleyball. He referred to her as a trailblazer not only in volleyball but also in women’s sports in general. Despite competing in a time when international volleyball events were scarce and lacking fanfare, Bailess and her teammates from the 1950s played a significant role in the growth of women’s volleyball in the United States. Today, it stands as the number-one team participatory sport in U.S. high schools, with playing opportunities available at all levels, from grassroots to college to international competitions representing Team USA.

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Lori Okimura, a fellow volleyball player who has served in various leadership roles within USA Volleyball, recognizes the impact of Bailess and her generation of players. They paved the way for future generations of female athletes, creating opportunities and inspiring young girls to pursue volleyball.

An Accomplished Career

Before her groundbreaking achievements, Bailess earned all-American first-team honors at the 1951 and 1954 USA Volleyball Open National Championships. She continued to leave her mark on the sport, receiving a second-team selection at the 1956 Nationals in Seattle. Even after retiring from playing, Bailess remained committed to supporting and growing the sport of volleyball. She attended the USA Volleyball Open National Championships and showed up to watch matches in various divisions. Bailess also made it a point to support the U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Sitting Volleyball Teams as they competed against international teams and cheered for the U.S. Men’s National Team during FIVB World League matches.

A Life of Leadership

Beyond her athletic achievements, Bailess was a leader from a young age. She graduated from high school as valedictorian at the age of 15 and completed her college education at Stephen F. Austin State College by the age of 19 in 1949. She began her career as a coach and teacher in Liberty, Texas, where some of her high school students were only a year younger than her.

Bailess’ love for volleyball developed at an early age. She and her sister would use makeshift equipment, using balls made from hole-in-the-heel socks and a barnyard fence as the net. In college, Bailess played volleyball on an indoor court for the first time and discovered her passion for the sport. She went on to earn 15 letter awards in various sports, including volleyball, basketball, tennis, softball, field hockey, speedball, and badminton. However, volleyball remained her true calling.

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A Lasting Legacy

Bailess’s impact on women’s volleyball extended far beyond her playing days. During her second year as a coach, she founded the Houstonettes volleyball team, which won the USA Volleyball Nationals in Los Angeles in 1949. It was the first year that women’s volleyball was included in the competition. Bailess joined the team the following year, and together they reached the semifinals before narrowly losing. It was during this tournament that Bailess met her future husband, Benson. They tied the knot in December 1950 and traveled to the 1951 USA Volleyball Nationals in Springfield, Massachusetts, where Bailess’s team, the Houston Eagles, emerged victorious.

The Houstonettes enjoyed continued success, winning Nationals at Tucson and the National AAU Volleyball Tournament in Galena Park, Texas, in 1954. Bailess, along with her Houstonettes teammates and standout players from California and Texas, were selected to represent the United States at the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico City. Remarkably, Bailess competed in the Games just six months after giving birth to her second son.

Bailess’s contribution to volleyball earned her a place in the SFA Ladyjack Hall of Fame in 1986. Later, in 2009, she was enshrined in the SFA Hall of Fame. Each year, the most outstanding player at SFA receives the Alnet “Scotty” Bailess Volleyball Award in recognition of her achievements.

FAQs

Q: What were Scotty Bailess’s notable achievements in volleyball?

A: Scotty Bailess was an instrumental figure in women’s volleyball. She helped push for the inclusion of women’s volleyball in the Olympic Games. Bailess won a silver medal at the 1955 Pan American Games, marking the first inclusion of volleyball in the event and the first-ever women’s team sport from the United States. She also earned all-American first-team honors at the 1951 and 1954 USA Volleyball Open National Championships.

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Q: How did Scotty Bailess contribute to the growth of women’s volleyball?

A: Scotty Bailess’s achievements and dedication to volleyball played a significant role in the sport’s growth. She competed in a time when opportunities for women in team sports were limited, particularly in terms of international events. Bailess and her teammates from the 1950s paved the way for women’s volleyball to become the number-one team participatory sport in U.S. high schools. Their contributions created playing opportunities at all levels, from grassroots to college to international competitions representing Team USA.

Summary

Scotty Bailess, an all-time great and pioneer in women’s volleyball, passed away at the age of 89. Her legacy is marked by her pioneering efforts in pushing for the inclusion of women’s volleyball in the Olympic Games. Bailess won a silver medal at the 1955 Pan American Games, the first event to include volleyball and the first-ever women’s team sport from the United States. She paved the way for the sport’s inclusion in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. Beyond her playing career, Bailess continued to contribute to the growth of volleyball and inspired future generations of female athletes. Her impact on the sport will forever be remembered and cherished. For more information and to stay updated on the latest volleyball news, visit Alpinetgheep.com.