There’s no doubt that John Bailey could have achieved a lot more with the Williamsport track and field program.
But what he did achieve with the Wildcats was more than enough.
Bailey, 47, recently resigned as Williamsport’s coach after 25 years with the program.
“I had an old coach who once said that if you ever started questioning whether it was time to step away, it probably was time,” he said. “I had some success, and now it’s time for some other people to step in and see what they can do.
“I bleed blue for Williamsport, and I wish them all the success. ... I’m not saying I’ll never coach again, but it’s just time to take a little break.”
Bailey spent the last seven years as the Wildcats’ head outdoor track coach, after serving 18 years as an assistant. He also spent six years coaching indoors, including the last four at the helm.
Bailey’s success as head coach will be hard to match. His teams won five Maryland Class 1A state titles along with countless county, conference and region championships.
“I had some really good kids, and most of all, I had excellent coaches who worked with me,” he said. “I’d put that staff against anyone in the state. They were very dedicated with only one thing on their mind — the kids, what’s best for the kids. And it just happened to work out for us that we won some titles.”
Bailey’s most successful year was 2009, when his girls were indoor and outdoor state champions and his boys were state co-champs outdoors. No other Washington County school has ever won an indoor team title at states.
Bailey’s girls also were outdoor state champs in 2006 and 2008.
However, Bailey said he doesn’t necessarily measure success by wins and losses.
“One of my biggest highlights is having kids come back who have left and seeing them be successful, even if it’s not in track,” he said. “That’s what I enjoyed the most. That’s what it’s all about — the big picture.”
While Bailey said he is looking forward to his time away from coaching, he knows he’ll miss it.
“I already do and the season hasn’t even started yet,” he said. “I knew it was going to be tough, and it’s not going to get any easier. There are some kids I really wanted to come back and coach, but there are always going to be kids I want to come back and coach. I just had to stop somewhere.
“I’ll still be around, and I’ll still go to meets. It will be fun to watch — and not have to worry about anything.”
It has yet to be determined who will replace Bailey at Williamsport.
Bailey steps down as Williamsport track coach
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
Los Angeles Times welcomes civil dialogue about our stories; you must register with the site to participate. We filter comments for language and adherence to our Terms of Service, but not for factual accuracy. By commenting, you agree to these legal terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.
Having technical problems? Check here for guidance.