Of the more than one dozen boys' schools established in Middle Tennessee at the turn of the nineteenth century, only Montgomery Bell Academy (MBA) remains in operation one hundred years later. Founded in 1867 as the preparatory department of the University of Nashville, MBA carries the name of Montgomery Bell (1769-1855), an early Tennessee iron master who left twenty thousand dollars in his will for the school's establishment. Through the University of Nashville and its predecessor schools–Cumberland College and Davidson Academy–MBA's roots go back to 1785, when the North Carolina General Assembly authorized the establishment of Davidson Academy.
Today, MBA is one of the leading Independent schools in the United States. Its long tradition of producing gentlemen, as well as scholars and athletes, and meeting high expectations, has given the school exceptionally strong constituent support and alumni loyalty. In recent years, broad-based programs in art, drama, and music have achieved the same standards of excellence that have characterized more traditional programs such as English, debate, and foreign languages.
MBA also has a long and distinguished athletic history. In 1955 the school fielded thirty-two teams in eleven sports. From 1950 to 1955 MBA's varsity record in those sports was 655 wins against 210 losses. One of the reasons BA's athletic programs remain strong is because of the high percentage of students who participate in team athletics.