At first, coaching girls was a challenge for Eric Bailey.
“Then, I realized that you’ve got to look at them as athletes, treat them the same as the boys,” said Bailey, who has completed 12 seasons as Maplesville’s girls basketball coach.
Bailey took over as the boys coach in 2002, so he is familiar with what it takes to get the most out of both groups.
“I’m hard on them,” the coach said about his treatment of the ladies. “But once they understand that, ‘Hey, he’s trying to help me get better,’ it all starts clicking.”
Bailey got enough out of the Lady Red Devils in the 2008-09 season to earn The Clanton Advertiser’s Girls Basketball Coach of the Year honors.
Bailey is perhaps tougher on his daughter, eighth grade starting power forward Keshia, than anyone else.
“She knows it’s not personal; she handles it well,” Eric Bailey said.
And Keshia knows things won’t get better when she gets home, where her mother, Terri, can be just as tough.
“She gets it from me, then she hears it again when we watch the video at home,” the coach said about his daughter.
Eric praises Terri for making everything work when he has to be away from home and away from the couple’s other two children—fifth grader Eric Jr. and 22-month-old Takeira—so often.
Still, Terri attends all the games—and even helps coach Keshia.
“She tells her, ‘Suck it up, let’s go,’” Eric said.