She helped volleyball become an olympic sport.
Alnet “Scotty” Bailess, a member of the Stephen F. Austin athletics hall of fame, and longtime Huntington resident, died Friday morning at the age of 89 in Williamsburg, Ohio.
Huntington high school head volleyball coach Ben Belshaw confirmed her passing.
Considered one of the greatest Ladyjacks in SFA history, Bailess played volleyball for SFA from 1947-49. She went on to help Team USA win a silver medal at the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico City.
Her efforts as a pioneer for the sport paid off when volleyball officially became an olympic sport in 1964.
She was honored at the Lufkin Pro Day banquet in 2014, an event which recognized outstanding Angelina County high school graduates that achieved success in professional sports.
Bailess and her late husband Benson gave back to their community as they established the Benson and Scotty Bailess scholarship which goes every year to a Huntington high school volleyball player.
Bailess added more funds to the scholarship’s endowment this past spring, which will allow it to continue to be awarded for at least the next 10 years.
Annually, the top SFA volleyball player receives the Scotty Bailess award.
On his Facebook page, Belshaw considers Bailess “a wonderful lady and big supporter of our Devilette players and program.” He adds that he, “always enjoyed talking the game with her and hearing about its history.”
Funeral services are pending.