BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Springfield Township resident Lance Baylis has hung up his whistle as head coach for Holly Boys Varsity Basketball after 13 years, leaving an impact on the program and its players.
“He is the most driven and motivated coaches I have ever played for,” Justin Fowler shared. “He has a lot of great value and really goes above and beyond for every single player he has. I can’t say enough good things about him.”
Fowler played for Baylis from 2006-2010 as a varsity player and also when he was in Kindergarten playing with Holly Hoops, a peewee program.
“I have seen Lance in many difference scenarios,” he explained. “One thing I always take away from Lance is the underline motivation he had given me. I attribute my success and where I am today as a result of Lance. He always encourage me to network and meet people.”
Fowler added networking helped not only in basketball but on personal and professional levels as well.
“I spent so much time with him I imitated him, and tried to imiated everything he was doing,” he said.
Kyle Sherwin played for Baylis for three years. Then, he was an assistant coach with Baylis.
“I have known Lance for so long. He always put education first before basketball,” he said. “He was always telling us how everything on the basketball court translates to life – hard work, being on time, being a team player, being responsible, being thoughtful and accountable for what you do. It doesn’t even have to be education – work hard in whatever you do, and you can really achieve anything you want as long as you are driven.”
Mitch Belanger shared he learned a lot about leadership from Baylis.
“I am an electrical foreman now, and I run my own crew so it definitely helped to become a leader,” he said. “I learned a lot of life lessons, too.”
From his players, Baylis also learned a few things. A big one was success doesn’t mean a winning record.
“I could not be more proud of what they are doing,” he said about his players, adding many have gone on to higher education at great academic institutions. “Multiple players in medical school, physical therapy school, PhD scientists, chemical engineers, vice-presidents, financial planners, investment bankers, day traders, coaches, master electricians and business owners. I have built so many life-long relationships with many former players. I receive calls or texts from former players on a weekly basis. I get wishes on Father’s Day and holidays. I’ve attended weddings of my former players. All of these things mean so much to me. These relationships are why we coach.”
Baylis said he will remember all the great games and the huge crowds which game out for special games and rivalry matches. So will his players.
Fowler reflected on when Holly beat Swartz Creek during Snowcoming.
“It was the first game I started,” he said. “Lance had built enough trust in me, he let a scrawny 5’10” start in a game. We ended up winning. It was one of my favorite games.”
Belanger also reflected on a Snowcoming game against Swartz Creek.
“It was a close game and we ended up beating them,” he said. “The intensity was insane. There were a lot of big plays at the end of the game. One I went in for a big dunk. I missed and he yelled at me for it. His attitude was the best. It fired you up. He was a second father figure.”
Sherwin will always remember coaching alongside Baylis and being there when Holly won their first district championship in Class A and first in 33 years.
“I was really proud of him to achieve it in his career,” he said. “The team that won the district championship, we knew we had a special group of kids. Our mindset throughout that whole season was take it one game at a time, but we also had a confidence, we always said this is the year we will win a district championship, and we could even get to the Breslin to win a state championship.”
Baylis added during that season, 2014-2015, Holly had a tremendous following. The Bronchos hosted regionals and beat Plymouth in the semifinals and lost by two in the finals against Walled Lake Central.
“In all three games, the people in the stands were packed like sardines and the track above was filled with standing room only fans,” Baylis reflected. “It’s hard to believe, but that team started out the season 3-2. Then, won the next 19 straight games. We caught lightning in a bottle. The crowds and support felt like a scene out of the movie Hoosiers.”
Baylis said he is proud of his many accomplishments at Holly High School.
“None of these could be possible without the many incredibly talented players I was fortunate enough to coach,” he said.
His accomplishments include:
• 175 Career coaching wins for a school record;
• 136 league wins – fourth best in the 50-year history of the Flint Metro League;
• Class A District Championship in 2015 – 1st Class A in school history and 1st in 33 Years;
• Class “A” Regional Finals in 2015 – 1st Class “A” in School History;
• Three Flint Metro League Titles;
• Three Class A District Finals;
• School record for most wins 2014-2015 with 22-3 record, same year 14-0 undefeated in FML;
• FML record for 16 wins in the league, 2008-2009;
• “Oakland County Coach of the Year” in 2015; and
• 21 Players sent on to play college basketball, with four being Division 2 players.
“For 13 years, we traveled the state as we built a reputation for a consistently good basketball program on the court,” Baylis said. “We met and competed against great coaches, players and teams from all over Michigan.”
Not only did Baylis coach varsity basketball, he was the founder and Youth Director of Holly Hoops and the Broncho Basketball League.
“For 21 years I’ve dedicated a large part of my life to Holly basketball,” he shared. “I put my heart, soul, energy, effort, time, money, expertise and passion into Holly basketball almost each and every day – 365 days a year. I loved it and I did it with absolute intense involvement.
Baylis graduated from Birmingham Groves. His family moved to Clarkston, a 30-acre horse farm where Independence Elementary is now locatated, when he was 20-years-old in 1979.
He cofounded North Oakland Home Health Care, Inc. with his mother Maria Baylis, off M-15 and I-75 in 1982. He continued to live in Clarkston until he got married and bought a house in Davisburg. His brothers Dr. Larry Baylis, Dr. Lincoln Baylis and Dr. Lee Baylis, and his sister, Louise Baylis, all graduated from Clarkston High School. All but Lee continue to live in Clarkston.