By Will Johnson
GRAPELAND – It was 31 years ago, in March of 1989, Grapeland Sandiettes’ Head Coach Chuck Bailey led his team to victory in the Class 2A State Championship. Sadly, he passed away earlier this week at the age of 66 and was laid to rest.
Coach Bailey took over a talented Sandiette squad in the fall of 1988. The Grapeland girls were coming off of a championship game appearance the previous season where they lost the title by two points. With the vast majority of the team coming back, expectations were high and like the champion, he delivered.
Two years ago when the Sandiettes returned to the State Tournament for the first time since their championship season, Coach Bailey was contacted by The Messenger.
“I’m looking at the state championship medal as we speak,” he said. “We were very talented all the way through. It wasn’t a situation where we only had five strong players. All of them were good ball players and good students.”
While extremely proud of his accomplishments, Coach Bailey was always very humble.
“I was just at the right place, at the right time and with the right bunch of girls. Also, the fans were always supportive of Grapeland basketball. They helped us win some games we probably shouldn’t have,” he said.
When asked to describe his feelings as the final seconds ticked off the clock, Coach Bailey said it gave him “… a huge sense of exaltation as far as saying we did what we intended to do. All the hours of hard work had paid off. It wasn’t a case of unfinished business but rather a case of do what you are capable of doing and do what you have been doing all year long.”
Crockett Junior High Counselor Felicia Meador who was an assistant coach on the Sandiettes Championship Team commented, “It was my honor and privilege to work with him and for him! Many years have passed, but I am truly grateful that God saw fit for the Bailey’s to come live and work in Grapeland! I truly respected him and loved his passion for everything he was involved with! He always gave his best and expected yours as well! He loved God, his family and his team! He was driven, he was a fighter, always a teacher, always a coach and my friend!”
Graveside services for Coach Bailey were held on Wednesday Aug. 26 at 11:00 am at Memory Gardens Cemetery in Weatherford. Arrangements were entrusted to the Galbreaith-Pickard Funeral Chapel, also in Weatherford. In lieu of flowers, you may make a donation to The Heart of Texas Bible Camp with Sunset Ridge Church of Christ in Brady, TX.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.