Bailey back with Bears as Cumberlands graduate

Published 4:45 pm Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Scotty Bailey had a goal in mind when he arrived at the University of the Cumberlands four years ago. He reached it when he graduated in the spring and then earned a job with the Harlan County School District and a post on the football coaching staff at his alma mater.

“I wanted to break the curse,” said Bailey with a laugh when asked about becoming the first HCHS football player to make it through four years in a college program. “I wanted to be the first so I could show kids you can go away to college and make it. I was like a lot of other people when I got there. It got harder, but I had a good support system. I wanted to try and change the culture and show kids they can be successful in what they do.”

Helping the HCHS student/athletes succeed at the next level is one of Bailey’s priorities as a coach.

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“The main reason I got into coaching was to help kids get to college and stay in college,” Bailey said. “I want to be that support system. I want to be that coach you can text at 2 in the morning when they get homesick. I want to be able to help kids stay in college. I have friends and coaches from college who will be friends for life. It’s a blessing how it worked out.”

Cole Kidwell, a former HCHS linemen, is heading into his final year at the University of Pikeville and was watching at a recent Harlan County practice session.

“He will be finishing up this year, and I’m very proud of him,” Bailey said. “I think there will be others in the next few years.

“They will see a guy every single day who made it from here,” Harlan County coach Eddie Creech said. “He stuck it out and played all four years of football. He will direct them in the right path of sticking things out.”

Bailey started his college career as a receiver at the Cumberlands and also played on the baseball team as a freshman. He eventually moved to quarterback, much like did In his junior year at HCHS.

“I learned the RPO when I was a quarterback,” Bailey said. “It was a lot of fun for me to get to play the sport I love. It was a great time.”

Bailey started out as a receiver with the Bears but shifted to quarterback midway through his junior year when Austin Maggard went down with an injury. Bailey went on to lead the Bears to their second regional title in 5A later that season and third of four straight district championships.

Bailey has made a habit of firsts in his athletic career, including being the first HCHS athlete to start in three sports. He was a four-year starter in baseball, a three-year starter in football and earned a starting job as a senior in his only year with the Harlan County basketball team.

Bailey was on the field during a recent practice session working with HCHS quarterbacks Jacob Wilson, Cody Clayborn and Cade Middleton, much like Creech did with him when he was an assistant on Tom Larkey’s staff.

“I’d like to think Scotty will be an extension of me,” Creech said. “Any time you have a coach under you who will teach the principles, fundamentals and drills the way you taught them, then there is a lot of security in having someone like that on staff with you.”

The regular doesn’t start until Aug. 23 but the Bears have already enjoyed some success in the summer, winning a 24-team passing camp last week at South Laurel.

“It’s pretty awesome. I’m excited,” Bailey said. “The atmosphere is great right now. Being able to coach them and help them in any way they need is blessing for me. I’m learning the offense. I’m trying to help them with what I learned in college.”

“I pay a lot of attention to the offensive line, and those guys work hard. We have a great offensive line that can take us a long way. We had some great leadership when I played here, and I see some of that here now. I want to show these boys that we can have the same accomplishments this year, like district and regional titles, if we play for each other.”