In 1971, the love of the sport of baseball influenced Coach Mack Terry to put together a team to represent Camden Central High School. Coach Terry's teams played about 50 games during his 4 year tenure as head of the Lions, proudly racking up an impressive winning record for a beginning program of 38 wins and 12 losses. This program was up and going after Coach Terry's 4 years of hard work and continued effort to get baseball at CHS started. In just his second year as coach of the Lions ('72), Coach Terry posted a 13-5 W/L record including wins at the Fish Fry tornament in Paris, wins over Huntingdon and McKenzie in taking the area tournament title, and placed second behind Trenton in the district tournament. An exerpt from the yearbook concerning the 1972 season said "This season's schedule promises to be a rough one, but behind the pitching of Thomas Rowsey and Barney Bain, and the hitting of Randy Haskins and Mike Brown, the Lions should be equal to any and all challenges."
Coach Ron Saunders, assisted by Jim Latendresse, took over in the 1975 season, then turned over the reigns to Coach Steve Steele. Coach Steele led the Lions from 1976 to 1978 to win two district titles and advance to the regionals, marking the beginning of CHS baseball's post-season titles. Following Coach Terry's and Coach Steele's impressive tenures was a four year stint for Coach Frank Wright during the 1979-1982 baseball seasons, winning two district championships during that time (1980-1981). Coach Wright also led the Lions to a Region Championship and Camden's only State Tournament appearance in 1981 before falling in the State Semi-Finals to eventual state champions, Memphis White Station. During the 1983 and 1984 seasons, Coach Phil Meeks began his leadership of the Lions. The following year, Coach Jackie McGee led the Lions for one season in 1985 before stepping down to coach the CHS softball team. Following Coach McGee came Coach Rusty Taylor who led the Lions for three years through 1988 and stirred a renewed interest in Lion baseball. Coach David Noles began his tenure in 1989, working his way through five years of baseball through the 1993 season.
Coach Barry Martin took over in 1994 and 1995 and had as his assistant, Coach Shawn McDowell. Coach McDowell took on the leadership of CHS baseball for the 1996 season before moving to East Tennessee the following year. When the 1997 season rolled around, Coach Jimmy Patterson joined the ranks of Lions coaches and began his reign. Beginning in 1998 and ending in 2001, Coach John Bukky, Jr grabbed the reigns running and had 4 seasons under his belt before turning it back over to Coach Shawn McDowell, who had returned to Camden and began building the program up by leading the team from 2002 to 2005 - four seasons. Former CHS principal Bill Kee agreed to take on the baseball responsibilities for one year in 2006 before turning it over to Coach Matt Sturdivant, who directed the team through two seasons in 2007 and 2008 before passing the team to his brother, Coach Rick Sturdivant.
Coach Rick Sturdivant took the coaching responsibilities in 2009 and has helped vault CHS baseball to the next level. Coach Sturdivant directed the CHS baseball team from 2009 to 2012 with the current head coach, John Taylor, as his assistant for three of those years. Coach Sturdivant helped lead the Lions to some of their most successful seasons ever with a career record of 70 wins and 43 losses. Under Coach Sturdivant, the 2011 season took the Lions to a district championship, regional runner-up finish, and an appearance in the sub-state (sectional) - one game away from the state tournament, as the Lions fell to eventual state champions David Lipscomb. The following year, 2012, Sturdivant's team set a school record for wins in a single season finishing with a 23-9 record.
In 2013, Coach John Taylor took the helm as the leader of Camden baseball and led his team to a third straight season of 20+ wins. The 2020 season begins the 50th season in Camden Lions Baseball history and Coach Taylor's eighth year adding to the tradition of Lions Baseball. This season, Camden returns with 7 Seniors leading the team and more expectations of winning and never quitting no matter what.
CHS baseball is a program of which the school and community can be proud. Camden baseball is alive and moving full speed ahead in its quest to bring a baseball state championship to the town of Camden and Benton County.
*If you have any information pertaining to the history of Camden High School Baseball please contact Coach Taylor at the school or by email at