May 16, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Veteran Notre Dame men’s tennis head coach Bobby Bayliss received special recognition in his hometown of Richmond, Va., recently as he was honored by The Pride of RPS: Living Legacies program in a ceremony on May 4.
The program, which was established by the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation, honored eight distinguished individuals. Among those honored besides Bayliss was a former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, the Founder and Executive Director of the Virginia Holocaust Museum, the co-founder of the Richmond Jazz Society and a pair of educators in the Richmond area among others.
“I was absolutely humbled and overwhelmed to be selected as part of this group,” said Bayliss, who has accumulated 747 victories – third most among active NCAA Division I coaches – in 43 seasons as a collegiate head coach. “Once I realized who they were and what each had accomplished my first thought was `what am I doing here? These people are giants in their respective fields and here I am still playing games 43 years after leaving Richmond.’
“They were celebrated entertainers, politicians, a Federal Reserve President and a Holocaust survivor. I am a tennis coach. Among those who attended were former players, students from my English classes, teammates, classmates, and friends. I was simply blown away by this affair.”
Bayliss lived in Richmond for much of his early life, attending elementary, middle and high school in the city before going to the University of Richmond in 1962. He graduated in 1966 with a degree in English and was named to the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002 after excelling on the tennis courts. He wasnamed a team captain as a senior. Bayliss also played basketball as a freshman.
After college, Bayliss obtained a Master’s degree in English literature from the University of Richmond while coaching at his high school alma mater, Thomas Jefferson High School.
After two successful seasons at Thomas Jefferson, including winning the 1968 state championship, Bayliss went to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1969, where he coached for 15 seasons and taught English for five years. Among his coaching career highlights with the Midshipmen was a perfect 15-0 record against archrival Army. Following a three-year stint at MIT from 1985-87, Bayliss arrived at Notre Dame and began his life under the Golden Dome.
Since 1987, Bayliss has turned in quite a resume at Notre Dame as his Irish teams have won 455 matches, advanced to 21 NCAA Tournaments, won 16 conference championships, advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals in 1993 and the finals in 1992. In 1992 he was named ITA National Coach of the Year. Bayliss has also earned 14 conference Coach of the Year and four ITA Midwest Coach of the Year plaques.
The Pride of RPS: Living Legacies program was established by the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation to recognize and applaud alumni of Richmond Public Schools who exemplify the criteria of leading extraordinary, honorable lives as inspirational leaders.