FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME
The legacy of the St. Louis Eagles Basketball Club began in 1988 with the efforts of four men and their love for basketball: Harold Bailey, Rich Gray, Ron Golden, and Bill Vollmar. St. Louis area teams were largely blocked from the chance to compete and represent the Ozark region in national AAU tournaments and college coaches were barely recruiting local players. Tryouts brought in players from high schools across the St. Louis Metropolitan area, including: Vashon, Soldan, Metro, East St. Louis, Lincoln, Assumption, Kirkwood, Pattonville, DeSmet, Cardinal Ritter, and Christian Brothers College Prep. Vollmar suggested Eagles for the team name, inspired by the bald eagle featured prominently in the logo for Anheuser-Busch.
Not only did the newly formed team win the City of St. Louis tournament in their first year, but they went on to win the Ozark Regional tournament with an invitation to compete in the National AAU Tournament held in Yakima, Washington. The St. Louis Eagles were on their way to the first of many cross-country trips to compete against the best players on a national platform. As a brand-new team, they placed 7th overall in their first appearance and finished 3rd the following year. Since then, the St. Louis Eagles have been nationally ranked every year, winning the 1996 AAU National Championship and the 2002 Super Showcase Championship.
LEVEL UP—ELITE COMPETITION
No longer the new kids on the court, the St. Louis Eagles gained national attention and respect, joining the NIKE Basketball family in 1996—including a NIKE sponsorship contract and the chance to compete in the NIKE Peach Jam Tournament in Augusta, Georgia—advancing to the Final Four of the Peach Jam four times since then.
The first St. Louis Lady Eagles team began in 2012 with 6th grade athletes who dominated the court and won the AAU National Championship in their first year. Five of those athletes remained with the girls’ program through high school, and four have earned D1 scholarships. The St. Louis Lady Eagles program now has six teams for grades 6 through high school.
LEADERSHIP LEGACY CONTINUES
Former players lend their support as coaches and volunteer staff for the program, including alum Bradley Beal, who established a formal partnership with the club. In 2017 the boys high school teams became the Bradley Beal Elite. The middle school teams for boys and girls and the girls high school teams, soon after took on the name Bradley Beal Elite. Our teams not only make a strong statement about St. Louis basketball, but also leave a positive impact on area youth, as a resource for advancing to greater opportunities to develop as an individual.
Today the St. Louis Eagles / Bradley Beal Elite continues the charge of our late founder Rich Gray to mentor young athletes through basketball. By developing elite athletes for national exposure and college scholarships, they’re equipped to succeed in life as leaders, both on and off the court. As the #1 NIKE sponsored club in the Midwest, we have some of the best players in the U.S., including several McDonald’s All-Americans and athletes in USA Basketball, NIKE Elite 100, NCAA, NBA and overseas.