The Athletic Program 339
discomfort among Baptists was occasioned by the fact that Wake
Forest was required to play a Sunday game in Omaha in order to stay
in contention. It was either play or forfeit, giving up not only the
game but also a chance at the championship. Athletic director Pat
Preston chose to play, and a fundamentalist minority chided him for
it. Looking back years later, Preston said he had no regrets at all over
his decision.
Nor did a majority of Wake Forest's students, alumni, and other
supporters regret it at the time. The 1955 baseball team brought the
college its first national team title in a major sport, and the accom-
plishment glows in the record books. Taylor Sanford was named
Coach of the Year, catcher Linwood Holt, one of only three seniors
on the squad, won All-American honors, and the strength of the team
at other positions was widely acknowledged. The other two seniors,
outfielders Tommy Cole and Frank McRae, were mainstays, as were
Bill Barnes, a footballer who played third base, Jack Bryant at second
base, Luther McKeel in the outfield, Harold Moore at shortstop, and
Bob Waggoner on first. Pitching was in the hands of Jack McGinley,
who won three games in Omaha; Lefty Davis, also a star in
basketball; and Buck Fichter.
One of the ironies of Wake Forest athletic history is that Taylor
Sanford, who brought Wake Forest its greatest baseball glory, felt so
much hostility from the Tribble administration that he resigned on
February 1, 1956. In doing so he bitterly criticized Wake Forest for its
failure to provide job security and said he was "disillusioned and
deeply hurt over my situation here." To succeed him, the college
employed former All-American Charlie Teague on a part-time basis
with the understanding that his friend Gene Hooks would take over in
September. Hooks remained as coach until the fall of 1959, when he
chose to become a member of the teaching staff of the Department of
Physical Education.
Jack Stallings, who had been a member of the team that went to the
Pan-American Games in 1951, succeeded Hooks. Stallings, who
graduated in 1953, had signed a professional contract with the Boston
Red Sox after leaving school and spent a year on a farm team. His
playing career was cut short by an attack of polio, and he turned to
coaching, gaining experience at the University of North Carolina and
at Hanes High School in Winston-Salem before joining the Wake
Forest staff in 1958. Under Stallings the college had
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