Gaines Baty

Book Cover



ISBN: 1623492661
FORMAT: Hardcover
PAGE COUNT: 288 pages
PUBLISHER: Texas A&M University Press





R. Gaines Baty (Dallas, TX)

Author of Champion of the Barrio: The Legacy of Coach Buryl Baty


Jason Jones | | 512-720-2996 | Twitter: @Book_Publicist



  • Inspiring story
  • Highly-relevant topic (race, prejudice, unity, reconciliation, immigration) with tensions among whites, Hispanics and African-Americans running high. Texas is on the front lines.
  • Timely, not only due to the continually escalating racial tension in America today, but because this story unites us around something we all love – the kickoff of football season


  • Football (Texas football history, particularly)
  • Legacy, generational blessing
  • Leadership
  • Race/reconciliation


In 1947, after serving in WWII and quarterbacking the Texas Aggies during the glory days of the old Southwest Conference, Texas football legend Buryl Baty was drafted by the Detroit Lions. But, the NFL wouldn’t be where he’d create his legacy. He instead became the head football coach at Bowie High School in El Paso, where he’d inspire a team of Mexican Americans from the Segundo Barrio with his winning ways and stand against the era’s extreme, deep-seated bigotry.

Tragically, however, just as the team was in a position to win a third championship in 1954, they were jolted by news that would turn their their worlds upside down.

Later, as mature adults, these players reflected on Coach Baty’s lasting inspiration and influence, and 44 years after the coach’s death, dedicated their high school stadium in his name. The El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame followed up that honor in 2013 by inducting Baty posthumously.

In this poignant memoir, Baty’s son, R. Gaines Baty, describes his own journey to know his father, portraying the man’s life and accomplishments through the perspectives of nearly 100 individuals who knew him, including many of the young men he coached and whose lives he changed.


R. GAINES BATY, Coach Buryl Baty’s son, founded and leads a nationally-recognized executive search firm. Previously, he was an accomplished college athlete, receiving All-Southwest Conference and All-Era honors. In 2011, he was inducted into the Garland (TX) Sports Hall of Fame.


“This is an evocative, heartfelt book about borders–a border town; the invisible border that divided Texans in the mid-20th century; and how Buryl Baty, an Anglo man with a football pedigree, reached across that line to influence scores of Latinos through the game he knew and loved. Champion of the Barrio is an important contribution to our understanding of the power of sports to reach, teach, and transform and a vivid portrait of an inspirational figure who was cut down too soon.” –Alexander Wolff, award-winning sports journalist 

“He was a great leader on and off the field. It’s a great story about a great man.” –Roger Staubach, Heisman Trophy winner, Super Bowl champion, Hall of Fame quarterback

Perhaps the most talented and gifted athlete to ever come out of Paris High School . . . a coach would consider himself mightily blessed to get one Buryl Baty during his coaching career.” –Raymond Berry, NFL Hall of Famer and Super Bowl coach

“You could not grow up in Paris, Texas without knowing about Buryl Baty. I’ve heard about him all my life, and now I know why. He took on the world, and he won. This is an inspiring account and a great read.” –Gene Stallings, former head coach at Texas A&M, of the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals and of the national champion Alabama Crimson Tide; Member, College Football Hall of Fame

“The spirit of Buryl Baty lives on so strongly in our hearts and minds because this man was a hero to us all. Coach Baty was a god-send, touching so many lives. He left us too soon, but he left his legacy of inspiration, social consciousness, and love. This book is a must read.” –Nolan Richardson Jr., Hall of Fame & National Championship Coach at the University of Arkansas; Graduate of Bowie High School in Segundo Barrio, El Paso

“I knew Buryl Baty well. He created a glorious era and legacy for his team and school, and it was unbelievable how he captured El Paso’s heart. This is a gripping story — that brought tears to my eyes. Buryl Baty’s name lives on.” –Ray Sanchez, former writer and editor of the El Paso Herald-Post, author of seven books, member of five Halls of Fame and consultant for the movie Glory Road

“The author describes his father as a hero and a legend, and by the end of the story the case is made. Buryl Baty was an athlete and a coach, but he is a legend because he inspired young Latinos to reach for a better life … Coach Baty’s fight against racism and bigotry should resonate with readers.”–Michael Barr, author, Remembering Bulldog Turner, Unsung Monster of the Midway

“Perhaps one of Buryl Baty’s most important legacies is the hard lessons he taught a generation of Mexican Americans, who overcame so many strikes against them. El Paso owes Gaines Baty a ton of gratitude for reconnecting us with a man whose story continues to inspire.”El Paso Times

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