Damon Bailey, Indiana’s career scoring leader in boys basketball, and Bob Gardner, retired executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and former IHSAA commissioner, are among 12 individuals who will be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame on Sunday, June 30, in Indianapolis.
Bailey and Gardner are part of the 2019 hall of fame class which also includes former NFL player Derrick Brooks of Florida, baseball legend Dusty Baker of California and women’s basketball great Seimone Augustus of Louisiana.
The hall of fame induction ceremony is a highlight of the annual NFHS summer meeting which also is celebrating the Indianapolis‐based organization’s centennial year.
Bailey, the most celebrated player in the history of Indiana high school basketball, capped a legendary career by leading Bedford North Lawrence to the 1990 IHSAA state championship during Indiana’s single class tournament era. He also was the main attraction that drew a national record crowd of 41,046 spectators to the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis that day.
The native of Heltonville, Indiana, finished as our state’s career scoring leader with 3,134 points (28.4 ppg), was consensus National High School Player of the Year, McDonald’s All‐American, and Indiana Mr. Basketball in 1990 while earning First Team All‐State all four years of high school career. He led Bedford North Lawrence to the Final Four in three of his four seasons (1987, 1988 and 1990) and was honored as the recipient of the IHSAA’s Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award following the 1990 state championship game.
He went on to be a four‐year starter at Indiana University which won Big Ten Conference championships in 1991 and 1993 and played in the 1992 NCAA Final Four. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 1991, an AP All‐American in 1994 and finished sixth on IU’s all‐time scoring list with 1,741 points. In 2014, he coached the Bedford North Lawrence girls basketball team, which included his daughter Alexa, to the Class 4A state title to become one of only a handful of individuals to win basketball state titles as a player and a coach.
Gardner retired last summer after a 48‐year career in secondary education including his final 18 years on the NFHS staff. He served as the NFHS Executive Director for eight years (2010‐18) and was just the fifth individual to serve in that position in the Federation’s near 100 years of existence. Prior to that, he was the NFHS Chief Operating Officer (2000‐10) in which he chaired the NFHS Rules Review Committee and was responsible for the day‐to‐day operations of the organization.
The Boonville, Indiana native was a vigorous proponent of the values of high school athletics and activities nationwide. During his tenure, participation increased by nearly 400,000 students, he helped expand opportunities for students with disabilities and led the NFHS’s focus on risk minimization in high school sports especially in the area of concussion awareness.
Gardner joined the Federation after serving five and a half years (1995‐2000) as commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association and 15½ years on its staff. While an assistant commissioner (1985‐95),
Gardner administered the sports of wrestling, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls track and field, and boys swimming and diving. While principal at Milan Junior‐Senior High School, he was elected to the IHSAA Board of Directors by his peers in 1982. Interestingly, his entire career was spent in the state of Indiana.
Bailey and Gardner become the 15th and 16th individuals from the state of Indiana to be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame. Others that have been inducted from Indiana and year of induction include:
Damon Bailey (2019)
Larry Bird (1995)
Terry Dischinger (1995)
Rick Mount (1986)
LaTaunya Pollard (2005)
Oscar Robertson (1983)
Robert “Fuzzy” Vandivier (1986)
John Wooden (1991)
John Campbell (1989)
Dick Dullaghan (2009)
Chuck Koeppen (2013)
Ken Schreiber (1999)
Steve Shondell (2017)
Robert Gardner (2019)
Robert Marcinek (1996)
Dave Krider (1997)
The 2019 Hall of Fame Class was chosen after a two‐level selection process involving a screening committee composed of active high school state association administrators, coaches and officials, and a final selection committee composed of coaches, former athletes, state association officials, media representatives and educational leaders. Nominations were made through NFHS member associations.