GPC names Bai­ley new head base­ball coach

The Covington News - - Sports - Staff Re­port sports@cov­

Ste­wart Bai­ley, a fix­ture in north Ge­or­gia base­ball and as­sis­tant head coach at Ge­or­gia Perime­ter Col­lege for four sea­sons, has been named head coach, ath­letic di­rec­tor Al­fred Bar­ney an­nounced.

Bai­ley’s ap­point­ment comes with the re­tire­ment of Danny Blue, who led the pro­gram for five years af­ter tak­ing over shortly be­fore the 2007 sea­son. Bai­ley came aboard in 2008 as chief re­cruiter and hit­ting in­struc­tor, and also served as the Jaguars’ third base coach.

“Ste­wart has a proven track record and is ca­pa­ble of step­ping in and tak­ing the base­ball pro­gram to new heights,” said Bar­ney. “He is known as an out­stand­ing re­cruiter and mo­ti­va­tor.”

With Blue and Bai­ley team­ing up in new sta­teof-the-art fa­cil­i­ties on the GPC New­ton Cam­pus, the pro­gram re­gained the na­tional sta­tus it en­joyed in the 1990s.

From 2008 through 2011, the Jaguars were 143-87 and won the reg­u­lar sea­son cham­pi­onship of the Ge­or­gia Col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion (also known as Re­gion 17 of the Na­tional Ju­nior Col­lege Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion) in 2009 and 2011. They added the tour­na­ment ti­tle in 2011 and were ranked No. 25 in the fi­nal NJCAA poll.

“We are very lucky to have per­haps the finest ju­nior col­lege base­ball fa­cil­ity in the South­east,” said Bai­ley. “Ev­ery­body’s ex­cited to come to work at a fa­cil­ity like this one.”

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Her­itage High School in Cony­ers (where he played four years of base­ball un­der Blue), Bai­ley was an all-con­fer­ence first base­man at Truet­tMcCon­nell Col­lege in Cleve­land, Ga., be­fore fin­ish­ing his col­le­giate ca­reer at the Univer­sity of West Ge­or­gia.

He started coach­ing in 1997 as hit­ting in­struc­tor at Truett-McCon­nell, then a ju­nior col­lege. He stayed five years, along the way pick­ing up a mas­ter’s de­gree in phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion from nearby North Ge­or­gia Col­lege.

Bai­ley’s first head coach­ing job was at White County High School in Cleve­land, where he re­vived a down­trod­den pro­gram from 2002 to 2006 be­fore spend­ing a year as head coach at Ch­es­ta­tee High School in Gainesville, Ga.

When Blue called to see how his for­mer player was do­ing and get opin­ions on some lo­cal play­ers, he found Bai­ley ea­ger to move back to the col­le­giate level.

“When I had the op­por­tu­nity to work with Coach Blue, I jumped at the chance,” said Bai­ley. “I’ve been to a lot of camps and clin­ics, but I’ve learned as much about base­ball from Coach Blue as any­body.

“I love this level of base­ball. I’ve spent a lot of time around ju­nior col­lege base­ball and got­ten to know how the sys­tem works, re­cruit­ing hard ev­ery year and play­ing a lot of fresh­men. This is the level I feel most com­fort­able at. I want to be able to pick up where Coach Blue left off.”

With most of the spring and sum­mer re­cruit­ing done, Bai­ley’s first or­der of busi­ness will be firm­ing up the Jaguars’ fall scrim­mage sched­ule and get­ting ready for the 2012 sea­son, which be­gins in Fe­bru­ary.

Photo cour­tesy of GPC ath­let­ics

Ste­wart Bai­ley takes over Ge­or­gia Perime­ter's base­ball pro­gram af­ter work­ing four years as an as­sis­tant un­der Danny Blue.

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