Bailey to Step Down From AD, Coaching Positions at Sandburg, Move to Academic Advising Role

  Aaron Frey
  Friday, January 24, 2020 3:46 PM

Galesburg, IL

Carl Sandburg College athletic director, women’s basketball coach and women’s golf coach Mike Bailey has decided to step down from his administrative and coaching positions and will move into an academic advising role, beginning March 1.

Bailey will finish the 2019-20 women’s basketball season with the Chargers before transitioning to his new position at Sandburg, where his responsibilities will include advising Chargers student-athletes. Bailey’s hiring for his upcoming role was approved at Thursday’s meeting of the Sandburg Board of Trustees.

“Stepping away from coaching will be a big change for me, but this is something I wanted to do because it’s the best thing for my family,” Bailey said. “I love being at Sandburg and love the people here. I still wanted to be a part of the culture here, and this was a great opportunity to continue that. I’ll still get to work with our student-athletes and help them with their ultimate goal. Playing that most important role with them and their academic future is the part of this I’m most excited about.”

Vice President of Student Services Steve Norton and assistant athletic director and softball/volleyball coach Todd Winkler will share AD responsibilities until a new athletic director is in place. Searches for a new women’s basketball coach and new women’s golf coach will take place in the coming weeks.

Bailey has been at Sandburg since 1997, when he was hired as the Chargers’ men’s basketball and baseball coach. He coached the men’s team for 10 seasons (1997-07) and was in the dugout for seven years (1998-04). He coached the men’s basketball team to a runner-up finish in the 2002 Region IV tournament.

Bailey took over the women’s basketball program late in the 2006-07 campaign and now is in his 13thfull season. During that time, he has coached Sandburg in two NJCAA Division II national tournaments, finishing fifth in 2007 and sixth in 2008. The Chargers also have won three Arrowhead Conference titles (2008, 2016 and 2017) and were Region IV tournament runners-up in 2009 and 2017.

Sandburg is 10-12 overall and 3-1 in the Arrowhead Conference so far this season. The Chargers moved into first-place tie with Black Hawk in the conference standings after Thursday night’s 80-74 victory over the Braves.

Bailey also has spent the last nine seasons as Sandburg’s women’s golf coach. Under him, the Chargers made history by winning a tournament for the first time (the Illinois College Invite in September 2018), and last spring they competed in their first NJCAA Women’s Golf Championship, finishing 11th.

Bailey took over as athletic director in July 2013 and has been at the helm of one of the most successful stretches in program history. Sandburg has won the Arrowhead Conference All-Sports Award each of the last three years, after having never won it previously.

Chargers teams have claimed eight conference titles, four Region IV championships, eight Region IV runner-up finishes and qualified for nine NJCAA tournaments with Bailey as AD. He also helped Sandburg start its new intercollegiate esports program, making it the first community college in Illinois to field a competitive gaming team.

Most importantly, Chargers student-athletes have seen unprecedented success in the classroom with Bailey leading the athletics department. The Sandburg record for Academic All-Arrowhead Conference recipients was broken three times during Bailey’s tenure, most recently this past spring as 51 Chargers recorded at least a 3.0 grade point average in 2018-19.

Seventy-three Chargers student-athletes earned spots on the Sandburg Dean’s List or Honors List for the 2019 fall semester, also a record. The Chargers had 61 student-athletes and 13 teams earn NJCAA All-Academic awards with Bailey as AD, including a school-best 19 student-athletes in 2015-16.

“We’ve accomplished a lot since I first came here, and I’m really proud of all the work we’ve done to make that happen,” Bailey said. “It’s great to win games and championships, but the most rewarding part of this job has always been seeing our players graduate and go on to achieve great things. I’m grateful to the College and our administration for taking my well-being into consideration and am looking forward to this next chapter in helping our students and programs continue to be successful.” 

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Aaron Frey