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 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 sportswriter, 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 realistic. In 1981, the association voted to hire Alton Ballard, who had been the editor of the TABC 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, goals were 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 in all UIL classes plus top 10 rankings for 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 growing in both membership and clinic attendance. But, as Mr. Ballard ’s health began to fail, TABC was faced with a task it had never performed. When Alton passed away in April 2002, TABC’s board appointed a special committee to redefine the role of leadership and interview and hire a new executive director.

In June of 2002, Rick Sherley was hired as the next executive director and an office space was rented in Houston. After a year of recovery, TABC burst back into the forefront of state basketball associations. By the 2010 -11 season, they had increased membership to 4,543 members and the TABC clinic was at 2,000 for five years. Additional benefits and awards moved TABC to new heights. In 2013 the association hired immediate past president Bob Wall to assist as another director. A year later Johnnie “Hawk” Carter joined the team in the same capacity. In 2016 membership passed the 5,000 mark for 5 years before Covid 19 ended the streak. A successful Virtual Clinic and budget cuts helped TABC not only survive but look to forward to the future. In 2021 TABC hosted its first Showcase with 174 boy’s teams and almost 300 college coaches in attendance. But, in the fall of 2022, Rick was unable to perform all his duties due to numerous health problems. As the season progressed, Hawk and Bob were forced to take on new responsibilities. But, TABC didn’t miss a beat and in September of 2023, Johnnie Carter was officially named the third executive director of TABC. Bob and Rick remain on board as Assistant Directors. For the first time in history, Texas coaches were allowed to coach their own teams during the TABC Showcase and 2023 saw 116 girl’s teams and 400 boy’s teams participate. Watch for the sport to continue to rise behind TABC, the voice and force behind Texas basketball!.