Published: 12:00 AM, Wed May 30, 2012
Jack Britt football looks to move on after coach Richard Bailey's departure
Those were some of the words Jack Britt football players used to describe how they felt upon hearing the news earlier this month that coach Richard Bailey was leaving to take over the program at Scotland High School.
But once the Britt players got over the news and accepted that Bailey had made the decision in the best interest of himself and his family, they focused their emotions in a new direction: Continuing the same level of success Bailey had established for Britt in his 12 years as coach.
“Everybody goes ahead and gives 110 percent,’’ said quarterback Mark McRae, who will be a senior this fall. “Everybody can’t wait to play Scotland.’’
With or without Bailey as coach, McRae said the challenge will be the same for the Britt team.
"We'd have pressure on us,'' he said. "Everybody on the team wants to be the best.''
Defensive end Stephen Hoff said the pieces are still in place for Britt to be a good team even without Bailey.
"We're hard workers,'' he said. "If you give us respect, we're going to give you respect back, no matter what you do.''
Regardless of who the new coach is, Hoff said the players need to come to practice with a coachable attitude.
"He might change some stuff up and we have to be able to adjust,'' he said.
While tight end Sean MacLain thinks the Britt players are coachable and can adjust to new situations, he thinks some respect needs to be paid to Bailey's legacy in hiring his replacement.
"I want someone off this staff because they know the system and know the players,'' he said.
If the administration chooses someone from outside the school, MacLain has one piece of advice: "Get with the coaches that are here and ask them,'' he said. "If you just try to come in and take over, and tell them (the players) what to do, they're not going to respond to you.
"They don't know you and you don't know how they play.''
MacLain thinks it's also important to hire someone before the current school year ends.
"A lot of kids are going to camps right after school,'' he said. "It would be nice to know who the coach is before the seniors head out to camps and tours.''
Linebacker Jordan Williams said leadership from Britt's veteran players is going to be important now that Bailey's leaving.
"The first day or two after he left, people didn't want to lift,'' he said. "They acted differently.
"Now we've got team leaders that have stepped up. They're getting everybody hyped. The team leaders, the captains, need to step it up this year and we'll be fine.''
Linebacker Andre Scott said that with or without Bailey, the focus of the team - winning a state championship - should remain the same.
"The key is to work hard, accomplish our goals, pick each other up when we're down and just try to move on from this,'' Scott said.
"We're still doing what we've got to do to win a state championship.''