Gone Too Soon
Currituck remembers coach Ed Bailey
Served as an assistant coach for softball, girls basketball teams
By Malcolm Shields
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Those were some of the words used to describe Currituck County High School assistant softball and girls basketball coach Edmond “Ed” Bailey.
For some in the Currituck community, his sudden and unexpected death on Aug. 31 still hurts.
According to his obituary, services for Bailey, 68, were held last weekend.
Currituck softball coach Karen Booker said that Bailey was a servant.
“He had a servant’s heart,” she said.
Booker, who knew Bailey for around 30 years and coached with him for around 20 years, noted that Bailey would always be willing to help.
“He was my right-hand man,” Booker said.
Booker added their relationship was like a brother and sister.
Over the years, the coaching duo won multiple conference softball championships.
Former Currituck girls basketball coach Matt Dixon noted that Bailey was more of a father figure to him.
Dixon noted that when he first got into education, Bailey was there as a supporter and was first to help when he needed it.
Dixon and Bailey both worked at Currituck County Middle School and coached the varsity girls basketball team at Currituck County High School for the majority of Dixon’s six-season tenure leading the program.
According to Dixon, the girls on the basketball team gravitated to Bailey.
Dixon noted that when a player wanted to get out of a drill during practice, they would go to Bailey.
“He was the good cop and I was the bad cop,” Dixon quipped.
Dixon added that Bailey knew the game of basketball well and said Bailey was his right-hand man for scouting and game preparation.
“He was the mastermind behind everything,” Dixon said.
This past winter, Dixon and Bailey led the Lady Knights to the Northeastern Coastal Conference tournament championship and to the third round of the NCHSAA 2A state playoffs.
Former Currituck softball and girls basketball player Jesse Wilson said that Bailey “radiated positivity.”
Wilson, who is now a softball player at Appalachian State University, knew Bailey for five years, mainly through the softball team.
She added that she played one season with the Currituck girls basketball team.
Wilson added that Bailey was always in a good mood, never in a bad mood and pushed the team.
Jessica Smith also played softball and girls basketball at Currituck.
Smith, who will be a freshman on the Queens University (N.C.) softball team this upcoming spring, said that she was coached by Bailey beginning when she was in seventh grade.
“I remember Coach Bailey as the coach that lightened up most bad situations,” Smith said. “Even when Currituck played our absolute worse he always made it seem better.”
Bailey was appreciated by others in the school system.
“Ed Bailey was a role model, teacher, mentor and coach,” Currituck County Schools assistant superintendent Matt Lutz said. “His quiet presence spoke volumes. His positive approach with everyone made a difference in the lives of thousands of students and adults.”
“Coach Bailey was a permanent figure in the Currituck Community and in Currituck Athletics,” added Currituck County High School athletic director Todd Parker. “No matter what the game you expected to see Ed Bailey in the stands cheering on a team or on the sideline coaching. Whether it was as a bus driver, basketball coach or softball coach he reached so many of our Currituck kids by being that familiar face each day. He will be truly missed as a coach, but even more as a person. Not seeing him at a Currituck event will be a difficult thought to grasp.”
The outpouring of appreciation for Bailey was also on social media.
Former Currituck County High School head football coach and alum John Wheeler posted on Twitter after Bailey’s passing: “Currituck has lost one of the best men I’ve ever known. Coach Bailey was one of the most honest, kind, respectful and loving coaches I’ve ever known. Rest now Coach Ed Bailey and thank you for everything you’ve done for Currituck youth! You’re a Hall of Famer in my book!”
The high school has begun to honor Bailey.
The football team currently has a red decal on the back of each helmet with the initials “EB” in white letters.
The decals are planned to be used by other teams in the winter and spring seasons.
A banner is planned to be placed at Currituck football, basketball and softball games later this academic year to honor Bailey.
According to his obituary, Bailey graduated from Currituck Union School and Elizabeth City State University.
He worked in Currituck County Schools as a physical education teacher.
Editor’s Note: The online story was updated to include comments from former Currituck girls basketball and softball player Jessica Smith.