With the spring high school sports season beginning to wind down across the state, one Southeastern Conference school made a huge splash this week.
It wasn’t for anyone’s performance on the field, but the hiring of a new football coach.
On Monday evening, Scotland officials confirmed the rumors which had been buzzing around Laurinburg for the last few days, they wanted Jack Britt’s Richard Bailey and apparently Bailey wanted Scotland. The school board quickly rubber stamped Bailey’s hiring and the SEC added another top coach to its roster after losing one in Chip Williams.
After building Jack Britt into a state powerhouse in a short period of time, Bailey shocked the majority of fans when his name began to be floated toward the Scotland opening. To most, the position with the Fighting Scots was a lateral move at best and to others, a step down, even after Scotland captured the 4A title in the fall.
I’m sure when Scotland athletic director Tommy Britt saw Bailey’s resume, he had to think he had just hit a grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth to win the World Series.
Having the opportunity to replace Williams with Bailey?
If it is true some of the other names the rumor mill churned out also interviewed with Britt, then Britt was sitting in the cat bird’s seat. Any of those coaches would have been excellent choices to try and add more hardware to the trophy case.
In the end, Britt went with Bailey.
Bailey said all the right things after the school board unanimously approved his hiring Monday.
“Jack Britt was a special place to my family and me, but I’m excited to be in a new place to continue proving my worth,” Bailey said. “Scotland is a great football town with great players, and I believe that God granted me this opportunity for a reason.”
So now Bailey brings his 119 victories in 12 seasons to Scotland, perhaps with a score to settle with the team from Rockingham. Bailey is 0-9 against Richmond Senior in his career, including a 38-35 loss in the 2008 4AA state championship game.
Scotland ended a 17-year winless drought against Richmond with its 41-7 victory in the fall and Bailey has to hope for the same result year-in and year-out now that the Raiders are back on his schedule every year.
Even if he wasn’t named as the new Scotland coach, Bailey was going to get at least two more cracks at claiming his first win against Richmond. Jack Britt and Richmond recently agreed to renew the rivalry beginning in 2013.
But now Bailey can try to get victory No. 1 vs. the Raiders a year early.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org