Texas Hoops – One Passion, One Purpose

The idea for the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches was born when a small group of coaches yearned to see the sport attain the recognition that it enjoyed in other states. It was during a basketball clinic sponsored by the Waco Chamber of Commerce that a group of less than 200 men assembled and pledged their untiring support to see the sport achieve the ranks of credibility. With lofty goals and plenty of perseverance the association was officially organized in April of 1975.

Growth was slow during those first few years and the association struggled to get the recognition from the press that it so avidly desired. The Waco Chamber of Commerce continued to sponsor the clinic and TABC hung onto its coattails, hoping to gain new membership as a by-product.

The newsletter was originally written by Kendall Pete, a Metroplex freelance sports writer, from the spring of 1975 until Alton Ballard took over the duty in July of 1978.

In 1979 a group of girls’ coaches showed interest in joining in with the previously all-male TABC. In 1980, the association’s board of directors voted to recruit all basketball coaches in the state and add girls’ coaches to its board. Promising results were seen that first year and soon the membership goal of 1000 coaches seemed to be realistic. In 1981, the association voted to hire Alton Ballard, who had been the editor of the association’s newsletter since 1978, as its Executive Director, a post he held until his death in April 2002. TABC now had an official director with an office in his home to spearhead membership drives and coordinate other efforts. The hope was that growth would soon give TABC more recognition and respect.

It did! Membership zoomed past the 1000 mark in 1981 and the association then went about its task of sending special liaisons to all meetings of the University Interscholastic League Athletic and Legislative Councils in Austin. Former Baylor University head men’s coach, Harry Miller, a TABC past president, was the association’s first such liaison, and under his direction, great things were accomplished. Working with the officers and members of the board, goal after goal was met including approval for summer camps and leagues, an earlier starting date for practices and games and more recognition from the League itself. In 1982, an agreement was forged with both the Lubbock Avalanche – Journal and the Associated Press to carry a weekly Top Ten Coaches Poll in January and February. TABC provided the poll and the media distributed it throughout the state. TABC now sends its weekly top 25 polls in all UIL classes plus large and small private schools directly to the Dallas’ office of the Associated Press, which posts it on the AP wire.

With the credibility gained from statewide exposure through the media and its success in legislative circles, more and more coaches and other friends of basketball began to get involved with the association and support it with both membership and praise. Because of this, in 1988 TABC was able to announce that, with the signing up of 2250 members, it became one of the largest state basketball associations in the nation!

By the year 2000 TABC began approaching 3,000 members, while the May clinic hosted nearly 1,200 coaches and four all-star games. Add to that the summer camps, Hall of Fame induction banquet and numerous awards and TABC was prepared to make another surge.

But, as Mr. Ballard’s health began to fail TABC was faced with a task it had never performed; the hiring of a new executive director. When Alton passed away in April 2002, TABC had been off course and was actually passed by Michigan and Ohio in total membership. Through the clinic and the summer the organization limped along as interviews were held. In August of 2002, the TABC board of directors hired Rick Sherley as only the second executive director and an office space was rented in Houston. After a year of recovery the TABC burst back into the forefront of state basketball associations. By the 2010-11 season, we had increased membership to a national high with 4,543 members and set a clinic record of 2,213. Additional benefits and awards for assistant and middle school coaches, student assistants and outstanding coaches were passed by the Board of Directors and had TABC on its way to new heights again.

Although Michigan (BCAM) continues to be the largest basketball association, TABC finally surpassed the 5,000 barrier in 2015-16 and will continue to grow with 6,000 the new membership goal. We have come a long way since 1975.