Bailie Inducted into Hall of Fame

Aug 31, 2013


IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa gymnastics standout and head coach Sam Bailie was one of six individuals who will be inducted into the National Iowa Varsity Club Athletics Hall of Fame on Aug. 30.

Bailie won the National AAU flying rings championship and the Big Ten Conference high bar title in 1955, the Big Ten pommel horse title in 1956 and 1957, and the Big Ten flying rings title in 1957. He came within a half point of winning the NCAA pommel horse title while wearing a full leg cast in 1957.

Bailie also served as the head coach of the UI men’s gymnastics team from 1966-68, where he led the Hawkeyes to two Big Ten Conference titles, the first of which ended a 30-year conference championship drought.

The St. Petersburg, Fla., native succeeded Norman Holzaepfel as head coach in 1966, and credits him for the series of successes he garnered in his career as a gymnast and coach.

“I was very fortunate to have an outstanding coach in (Holzaepfel),” Bailie said. “He was able to turn me into something useful. He was a hero to a lot of us.”

Since his final season as head coach in 1968, Bailie has been active in the world of gymnastics training and equipment. He has worked for Medalist Industries as a brand ambassador and opened numerous training facilities across the United States with his wife, Topsi. They also coined the Bailie brand of gymnastics equipment, which is still operational.

“I was unable to call my kids because I couldn’t stop crying.”
Sam Bailie

“We’ve been fortunate because of the people that we worked with,” he said. “But the smartest thing I ever did was marry my wife.”

Bailie said he was overcome with emotion when he was notified of his upcoming induction.

“I was unable to call my kids because I couldn’t stop crying,” he said.

The former All-American said he is incredibly honored to join the likes of former football star Alex Karras and Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Terry McCann in Hall of Fame.

“Those were guys I looked up to while I was in school,” he said. “Now I’m in the same club.”

Bailie resides in Mesquite, Nev., with his wife, and serves on the board of directors for the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Joining Bailie in the 2013 Hall of Fame class are Craig Clemons (football, 1969-71), Brad Banks (football, 2001-02), Jennifer Brower-McNutt (cross country, 1988-91; track and field, 1989-92), Franthea Price (women’s basketball, 1987-90), and Diane Thomason (head women’s golf coach, 1979-2002).

The six inductees were selected by a vote of all dues-paying members of the National Iowa Varsity Club. All former Hawkeye student-athletes who have won at least one major letter are eligible for the UI Athletics Hall of Fame. Athletes must have completed their eligibility at least 10 years and coaches/administrators at least five years prior to their selection.