Book Signing at Eagles Sept. 25

Published 4:31 pm Friday, September 17, 2021

100 Years as a Warrior
‘The Charlie Bayless Story’

Coach Roscoe “Charlie” Bayless is a living legend who cemented his legacy as the longtime basketball coach at Happy Valley High School. 

The coach is one of the winningest prep coaches in both the state as well as the nation. In his 60 years as the Warriors’ skipper, he accomplished all that could be accomplished while directly (and indirectly) shaping the lives of untold scores of people. However, if one thinks Bayless’ life is solely defined by his time on the basketball court, he/she is in for a big surprise.

Bayless, who turns 98 this October, is much more than a coach. He has been an athlete, a soldier, an avid golfer and fisherman, a county commissioner, a carpenter, and much more. More importantly, he is a husband, a father, and “Granddad.” Those that think they know the spry coach will be shocked by how much they do not know.

When one lives a life such as the one lived by Bayless, it’s hard to capture it all, but a much-anticipated book about his life comes very close. This week, Charles “C.Y.” Peters released 100 Years as a Warrior “The Charlie Bayless Story,” a 461-page treasure trove of history that gives readers an inside look at Bayless’ life and family history. It details each of his six decades of coaching with results, leading scorers for each game and hundreds of pictures from the 1920s on. It also contains many interviews of Coach Bayless, former players, assistant coaches, rivals and others who were witness to the history-making coach’s career.

While most of the book centers around the history of the Happy Valley basketball team, it also includes a wealth of local and national history. In order to tell the story of Bayless, Peters teamed up with Roger Snodgrass to incorporate substantial local and national historical events that helped shape the country and the coach.

The book begins with the Bayless family’s arrival to present-day Long Island, New York, and follows them down to present-day Tennessee. It also highlights the settling of the area by the Wataugans as well as the area’s industrial boom of the early 1900s. 100 Years as a Warrior then tells of Bayless’ early childhood up to his participation in key World War II battles such as the “Battle of the Bulge” and the battle for the “Ludendorff Bridge.” From there, readers will be taken into Bayless’ coaching career with facts and figures from each of his teams from 1953-2012.

Readers will be fascinated by the depth of Bayless’ life. As one of the greatest of the “Greatest Generation,” Bayless embodies the spirit that helped shape the United States into a beacon of hope for the rest of the world. 100 Years as a Warrior is a timeless book that appeals to both the sporting and nonsporting enthusiasts. Readers will enjoy 400 years’ worth of Bayless, United States, Tennessee, and Carter County history.

The book includes countless facts and figures about Coach Bayless such as: How the family came to the area? How he acquired the nickname “Charlie?” When did he meet his wife, Jane? Origins of Carter County’s first high school. Leading scorers per game from the 1950s and on. Personal stories from Warrior men and women from the 1950s forward. Comprehensive statistics from both Bayless’ playing and coaching days. Countless pictures, beginning in the 1920s. And much, much more!

100 Years as a Warrior goes beyond athletics. It includes the history of Carter County/Elizabethton as well as origins of Tennessee and the United States. Historical stories from the book include: The Bayless family’s immigration to present-day New York. The family’s participation in every major war from the American Revolution to Bayless’ service in World War II. George Washington’s farm was close to the Bayless family’s in Virginia. Many local churches were started by Bayless family members. The family intersected with some of the country’s most famous people, including Davy Crockett, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, and more. When/who settled present-day Elizabethton. The first automobile in Elizabethton. When the streets of Elizabethton were first paved. And much, much more!

100 Years as a Warrior “The Charlie Bayless Story” is currently available in limited quantities at Eagles Co-Op in downtown Elizabethton (507 East Elk Avenue.) The 461-page book is $24.95. For schools wishing to order for their history departments, arrangements can be made to reserve multiple books.

On Saturday, Sept. 25, from noon till 3 p.m., Peters and Snodgrass will be at Eagles Co-Op to sign and sell books as well as answer questions. Peters has become the Carter County/Elizabethton sports historian as 100 Years as a Warrior is his third book chronicling high school sports in the area. He wrote 75 Years of Unaka Basketball and Little Men Of The Mountains (about the 1960 Hampton High School State Champion basketball squad.) He also wrote Legends 1 and Legends 2 about local sports stars. To his credit, he also wrote the 195th Peters Hollow Egg Fight book. He is also one of the founders of the Carter County Sports Hall Of Fame.