CHURCH HILL – Veteran Rogersville Middle School coach Jeremy Bailey has been tapped to succeed Jim Whalen as Volunteer High School Athletic Director.
Bailey, who earned his Bachelor of Sciences degree from University of Tennessee in 2008, has taught math and coached at RMS since 2012 after a year at Church Hill Middle School.
An assistant football and baseball coach at CHMS, Bailey helped lead the Panthers to their first baseball conference championship in school history in 2012.
Later that year, Bailey was on hand to coach RMS to the Big 3 Conference football championship, a feat accomplished again last season with the Warriors.
Among his many accomplishments, Bailey led the renovation of the CHMS indoor batting facility and RMS’s football and baseball facility and field house.
Perhaps his most noteworthy accomplishment, was applying for and receiving a grant of $10,000 worth of Riddell football equipment for the RMS program, which drew national attention and a visit by UT and NFL legend Peyton Manning.
Bailey recently took time to answer some questions about his new position at Volunteer.
What did you find appealing about the Volunteer AD job?
Bailey: The job was appealing to me on the basis that I would have the opportunity to be involved with more sports than just football and baseball. I get to serve ALL student athletes at Volunteer High School, male and female. My goals, as a coach, was eventually to become an AD at some point in my career and the opportunity presented itself when a teaching position became available as well in my high school certification area.The athletic director role gives me the opportunity to diversify my career by adding a touch of the administration roles. I have always enjoyed writing letters of recommendation and helping students further their education after high school. Lastly, it gives me an opportunity to make a difference in someones life that is about to go out and experience the “real world.”
Have you talked to Jim Whalen or Andrew Morgan about being an AD?
Bailey: I have spoken with both of those men extensively. They have been open and upfront with any questions that I have had. They are great ambassadors for the respective school and I wanted to learn as much as possible from them along the way. Both of those AD’s have years of experience and that is a very valuable tool to have in my back pocket. They both expressed that I could call upon them at anytime for help or advice. I appreciate their eagerness to mentor and insight they have provided me already.
What do you think will be the challenges of being an AD?
Bailey: The experience that I gained while being a head coach of three different sports programs at Rogersville Middle School prepared me for whatever challenges are thrown at me. Most often the largest challenge is budgeting, fundraising, and getting the community to get involved with funding. My staff and I have always been transparent about what the needs were and how those dollars are going to be spent. If the community can see those donations being spent to improve the programs for all students, they will be more likely to continue to donate, while others will jump on board as well. It does not always require a monetary donation, some just can not afford that.
Otherwise, a good days labor is just as valuable as any dollar spent and I will be more than willing to jump in along side anyone looking to improve any programs for our students. My goal is to continue to upgrade the facilities, practice equipment, and necessary needs for each sport so that Volunteer athletes have as equal of an opportunity to succeed as any other high school in this state or country. It will take ONE community coming together for one purpose, the STUDENTS. I look forward to that challenge!
What do you think has prepared you for this type of position?
Bailey: I have been a coach of multiple sports since I began teaching in Hawkins County Schools in 2011-2012. During my nine years, I have been mentored by some great administrators and head coaches. They provided valuable wisdom on leadership,communication,time management, integrity, transparency, and love for the students. I have also participated in competitive athletics since I was five years old, so athletics has been a large portion of my entire life. God has also opened and closed doors along the way to allow me to be where I am today!
Do you plan to coach anything also?
Currently, I have my plate full with academics and athletic director. Therefore, I will not be coaching any sports at this time. I am available and open to counsel if any of the coaches have questions pertaining to strategy or learning from my experiences. I love being around the students and building those relationships, so you may see me giving tips and talks to athletes on game-days. For now,my focus will be on the Athletic Director role.
What subject will you teach?
Bailey: I will be teaching in the CTE-Agriculture setting. Those classes will include agriscience, greenhouse, small and large animal sciences, landscaping, and horticulture.
What will be the biggest adjustment going from MS to HS?
Bailey: Middle School is the open mindset part of students lives. They rely more on the teachers and coaches for instruction and guidance toward a pathway. At the high school level, most students have a good idea of what they want to do in life. At the high school, I will have the opportunity to prepare them for life outside of Hawkins County Schools. Contrary, middle school primarily focuses on getting them ready for high school and providing all avenues of opportunities, so they can determine what is most interesting to them.
You’ve been a fixture at RMS for a long time. What’s the toughest part of leaving there?
Bailey: Most definitely, the STUDENTS and ATHLETES that I have developed family relationships with. The passing of one of my student-athletes this past week has made the transition even tougher. The entire RMS community will be missed.
It reminds me of leaving for college after high school. I will have to develop new relationships with the Volunteer community and hope to become a fixture within that community quickly. My wife was a Falcon, so I have a strong supporter already!
What are you looking forward to the most?
Bailey: I look forward to the high school setting the most! The opportunities to watch students sign with a college, receive scholarships, and making a difference for ALL students at Volunteer excites me. I also look forward to learning more about administrative roles and how they can have just as much impact as a coach.
It’s been a tough week in the Hawkins County Education community. Lucas Williams, Bobby Wines, Cody Hensley and Mark Price. What do you say to students dealing with these or other losses?
Bailey: I met with my teams this week and allowed them to cry, grieve, and share their memories with each other. I told them that tragedy often gives return to something great. I am a believer that death gives life in return as displayed in the Disney movie, THE LION KING. It is hard for the families and those involved to understand that now, but I know there will be great things that will prosper from all of this. My dad always made a point to use examples of tragedy and what came after those to make me understand that a blessing can prosper from tragedies. The greatest example of that is the crucifixion of Jesus and what that gave us ALL in return.
You’re beginning a new job with lots of responsibilities in a normal setting. How much does the coronavirus/COVID 19 situation complicate things?
Bailey: It just takes away consistency. Young adults need that constant routine and assurance of having something to work for. Right now, it is changing daily. Scheduling, budgeting, and the safest way to do things is the great UNKNOWN. On the other hand, this generation of students will be more prepared for change than any other previous to them.
Are you ready for long hours and more sportswriter phone calls?
Bailey: I am already accustomed to the long hours. Typically in the fall and spring, I was already working 12-15 hours workdays. During the winter, I officiated basketball or was attending basketball games. So, that part will not be as much of a change as previously thought.