Cedar Springs resident and Grace Bible College Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Gary Bailey, was inducted into the Grace Bible College Athletic Hall of Fame in ceremonies on October 12, at the Aldrich Center on the GBC campus. Also inducted was Jodi Kline, women’s basketball standout at Grace from 2004-2008.
Bailey was named the Tigers head coach in 2005 and came to Grace with a strong winning tradition. As a player at Wheelersburg High School in southern Ohio, he helped the Pirates to a 64-4 record over four years. Upon graduation, he played at Jordan College, in Cedar Springs, where he helped the Suns to winning records from 1978-1982. Associate Head Coach at Grace, Dan George, the head coach at Jordan College in those years, recruited and signed Bailey as a scholarship athlete at Jordan. The two have remained friends since and Coach George was the master of ceremonies for Bailey’s induction Saturday night.
George joked with the gathering, “This is not the guy I recruited in 1978. To be sure, some things are still the same. He still likes his Ohio State Buckeyes and he can still hit the 22-foot bank shot from the wing. But his knees don’t work nearly as well. His hair is gray and there is a lot less of it. And he’s a lot smarter now than he was in 1978. And the guy I recruited looked a lot more like Donny Osmond.”
Bailey also coached at Pineview Boys Home in Evart, Michigan for eight years, compiling a 153-31 record before coaching at Grace.
In 8 seasons coaching at Grace, Bailey’s accomplishments are nothing short of remarkable.
All-time leader in wins at Grace with 190
Coached GBC to six Regional Titles
Coached GBC to five National Championships, including four consecutively
Most National Championships of any men’s coach in NCCAA History
Teams have averaged over 23 wins a year
Over the last eight seasons, the Tiger’s have a 126-20 record against NCCAA teams nationally and an NCCAA Regional record of 77-8.
NCCAA Midwest Region Coach of the year 4 times (2008, 2009, 2010, & 2011)
NCCAA National Coach of the Year 2 times (2009 & 2011)
The Christian College Sports Network Coach of the Year 2011
The Glen VanWieren (Hope College) Champions of Character Coach of the Year in 2012
The Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan College Coach of the Year in 2011
During the run of four consecutive national championships, from 2009-2012, Coach Bailey’s Grace teams established a record 69 consecutive NCCAA wins, a record that may never be broken.
Coached 13 players named Academic All American.
Coached 25 NCCAA All Region selections & 12 NCCAA All Americans
Coached 9 players named to the NCCAA National All-tournament Team and 5 players selected as the tournament MVP
Coached 2 players named the Pete Maravich Award winner as the top player in the NCCAA (Allen Durham & Cory Jamieson)
It should be noted that Bailey and his teams accomplished all of the above while playing the toughest competition that he could schedule including NCAA DI, DII, and DII and NAIA programs.
Perhaps one of the best measures of a man is what his competitors and members of the coaching profession say about him.
“He certainly has had a big impact on Grace Bible College itself but I’d go even bigger in that, because of his integrity and influence, Grace has had an impact on the bigger community. Because Grace Men’s Basketball has been able to compete with (and beat) colleges in West Michigan I think Grace Bible College as a whole is now seen as an institution of higher learning on a par with so many more schools.” –Kevin Vandestreek, Head Basketball Coach, Calvin College
“Coach Bailey has always impressed me as a man of character, honor and integrity. He understands how to win with dignity and is willing to share this knowledge with his players…I have learned a ton from Coach Bailey and am glad to join in his tribute as he is inducted into the Grace Bible College Athletics Hall of Fame.” –Matt Neil, Head Basketball Coach, Hope College
“Gary is one of the best coaches in the state of Michigan, all divisions included. What he has done in such a short time at Grace Bible is remarkable. I appreciate the fact that he is willing to schedule anyone. Gary has instilled in his teams confidence and a ‘fear nobody’ mindset. Coach Bailey is one of the classiest coaches that I know. He does things the right way, without compromising any of his standards. His teams are always well-coached and well-prepared.” –Coach Kim Elders, Head Basketball Coach, Cornerstone University
“I have never had a more amiable relationship with a coach who won every game our teams competed in. Gary has been a friend, a confidant, and has provided a model for building a program that balances athletic excellence with Christian virtue. He demonstrates admiration and respect for his opponents and their efforts. He excels in all areas of the game as a coach, but more importantly seeks to instill godly character into his student athletes. If I had to pick a coach for my son, Gary would be at the top of my list. Congratulations to Grace for inducting a true winner into your Hall of Fame!” –Neil Ring, Head Basketball Coach, Bob Jones University (formerly head coach at Maranatha Baptist Bible College)
“This is a great honor for one of the best coaches in NCCAA history. What I appreciate most about our many battles of competition is the genuine friendship that we have developed over the years. You have challenged me directly and indirectly how to be a winner beyond the game of basketball, and for that, I am forever grateful for our friendship. Continue to be a reflector for Christ! Congratulations, my friend! Well deserved!” –Jon Mack, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Valley Forge Christian College
Behind every successful man is a patient and good woman. Gary has been married to his wife, Danette, for 32 years. He has two children, Kirby 30, an All American basketball player at Grace and a member of the Hall of Fame, and a daughter Kylie and son in law Kyle. He has two grandchildren, Christian and Kennedy Grace (appropriately named).