Strong relationships made Camdenton home for Assistant Steve Bayless

Camenton assistant football coach Steve Bayless could not quite find the right fit in his first six years as a coach and educator.

Bayless, who went to school in Washington, Mo., got his first start in the Rockwood School District upon graduating college and made stops at three other schools before a job at Camdenton opened up. Once the opportunity came about, Bayless did not hesitate to seize it and he has spent the last 23 years teaching and coaching football and track and field at the school.

It proved to be a good move for the Camdenton assistant who helped coach three state champion football teams and helped another reach the state title game. Just this past year, he got to feel that wonderful state championship feeling again after helping the Camdenton girls’ track and field team win a state title this past spring.

However, there was more to it for Bayless than just establishing a winning tradition as he developed strong relationships with the coaching staff around him as well.

“I thought I had a handle on things until I got to work for Bob (Shore), Mike (Silverwood) and ‘Pappy’ (Jim Pirch),” Bayless said of the former longtime Laker coaches. “Then I realized I did not know anything. I learned a lot from them in the years that I worked for them and now, I am fortunate to work with these guys (current coaching staff) and we work really well together.

“I’ve known all these coaches for along time and these guys are my best friends,” he added.

Bayless started out as the freshmen offensive and defensive line coach and his duties also involved scouting, film work breakdowns and meeting with the rest of the coaching staff on Saturdays and Sundays. Now looking back as he enters his 24th year on the Camdenton sidelines, the assistant said the most important key to success was simplicity.

“The biggest thing is to make things simple. If it is simple kids will grasp it, lock onto it and execute full blast,” Bayless pointed out.

The assistant currently serves as the offensive line coach and that simplicity is still key as he works to teach the “Hogs” tradition to the current group of offensive linemen that was passed down from the longtime Laker coaches he once worked with.

“As a group of ‘Hogs’ we try to maintain all those techniques, all the effort, the alignment and assignments through the years,” he remarked. “We do not make big changes and we just like consistency and the kids like that. It is easy to learn and now it is all about effort.”

Bayless hopes to see the group bring their full effort like those before them because one of the most rewarding aspects of coaching for him is seeing kids reach their full potential.

“The players make the coaches. We can get them pointed in the right way, get their effort going and get them in shape, but athletes really make the coaches,” he stated.

Looking ahead, Bayless said he is undecided about his future as he enters year No. 30 in education, but one thing for sure is that he has not regretted his time as a Laker and looks forward to making the most of the time he has left.