By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – The legend of Damon Bailey has now reached a national level.
Bailey, who led Bedford North Lawrence to the 1990 state championship, will be inducted into the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame during the 37th annual induction ceremony on June 30 in Indianapolis.
Bailey will join football star Derrick Brooks, baseball standout and manager Dusty Baker, women’s basketball legend Seimone Augustus and field hockey star Tracey Fuchs in the 2019 class.
He is already a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, joining that elite group in 2016. Bailey, the 1990 Mr. Basketball and a McDonald’s All-American, still holds the state career scoring record with 3,134 points, and he was named the Naismith National Player of the Year.
“I guess when you get older, what I always thought, that’s when people get recognized in this manner,” Bailey said. “To have a career worthy of this is something to be proud of.”
Bailey also had an outstanding career at Indiana University, playing four seasons for Bob Knight and the Hoosiers, scoring 1,741 points before being drafted by the Indiana Pacers. He also guided the BNL girls to the 2014 Class 4A state championship as a head coach. But he has been immortalized for his prep accomplishments, capped by the state title in front of a world record crowd of 41,046 in the Hoosier Dome.
“For me, playing a team sport and earning individual honors, there are hundreds of people – coaches, family, teammates – to thank,” Bailey said. “You don’t get something like this by yourself. There was a lot of help along the way.
“It’s a tremendous individual honor, but you can’t do it without those people being a big part of helping you get there.”
Bailey currently works as an assistant coach with the BNL boys program.
The rest of the class includes household names.
Baker, a star outfielder with the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers and former manager of the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants, was a four-sport athlete at Del Campo High School in Sacramento.
Brooks, a football stud from Pensacola, Fla., starred as a linebacker with Florida State and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Augustus led Capitol High School (Baton Rouge) to two Louisiana state titles before a stellar career at Louisiana State and with Minnesota in the WNBA.
Fuchs set national records a field hockey star in New York in the 1980s before leading Connecticut to the NCAA title and appearing in four World Championships.
The National Federation of State High School Associations started the Hall of Fame in 1982 to honor athletes, coaches, officials and administrators for their extraordinary achievements in high school sports. Nominees must pass through a two-stage selection process.