Published: 10:10 PM, Mon May 14, 2012
Richard Bailey leaving Jack Britt to become Scotland High football coach
Richard Bailey, who built the Jack Britt football program from the ground up into one of the state's best, is leaving after 12 years to become the coach at Scotland High School.
The Scotland Board of Education voted to approve Bailey as the Scots' coach at its board meeting Monday. Bailey was introduced at the meeting shortly after the board's unanimous vote to hire him.
He leaves a Britt program where he compiled a record of 119-44 and took the Buccaneers to three state championship games.
His final Britt team was 11-3 and lost to Garner in the 4-AA Eastern Regional title game last December.
Bailey replaces veteran coach Chip Williams, who built a power at New Bern before coming to Scotland a few years ago. Williams guided Scotland to its first state football title last December, defeating Porter Ridge in the 4-A title game. Williams retired from coaching earlier this year.
"There are certain things about a one-school county, things these counties are allowed to do in support of a football program,'' Bailey said. "We are leaving one great job for another great job.''
Bailey has been courted by Scotland previously. He did some research into the community and felt good about what was there. "I felt this was a great opportunity, not only for me, but for my family,'' he said. "I feel very fortunate Scotland chose me as its new head coach.''
He will inherit a Scotland team that took a huge hit from graduation, losing most of the stars from last year's 4-A title team. "They are going to show up thinking they are going to win,'' Bailey said of the returning Scotland players. "They've come off the state championship last year and they know what it's like to win the ultimate prize.''
Bailey met with his Jack Britt players Monday afternoon and also spoke with former Cumberland County Schools superintendent Dr. Jack Britt, saying both were among the hardest things he's ever had to do.
He said leaving the players is the hardest part, for now. "It's just the community,'' he said. "I love Jack Britt. It's hard to put it on one thing.''
Bailey hopes the school will look within the current coaching staff to find his replacement. "There are several coaches on the staff who are ready, who have waited their turn,'' he said. "I'm going to support my assistants. I think they deserve it.''
Britt athletic director Reggie Fields said the school will begin the search for Bailey's replacement as soon as he officially resigns, which likely will be today.
"I've already gotten a call from a guy in Biloxi, Miss.,'' Fields said, indicating how much interest there is in the Britt position.
"We are certainly going to keep all options on the table,'' Fields said. "We hope there is somebody out there that is ready to step up and take over the program.
"It's a mature program that has been successful over the long haul and not just the short term.''
Scholastic sports editor Earl Vaughan Jr. can be reached at email@example.com or 486-3519.