Rick Bailey named Michigan High School Football Coach of the Year

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Detroit, MI—Rick Bailey of Reading High School has been selected as the 2018 Detroit Lions/Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan High School Football Coach of the Year. Bailey led his Rangers to a 39-20 victory over Breckenridge on November 23 to win the Division 8 Michigan High School Football State Championship. Reading is the smallest school in the Big “8” Conference with 244 students.

The Rangers finished with a 14-0 record, outscoring their opponents 678-114. Reading defeated defending Division 8 state champion Ottawa Lake Whiteford 28-6 in the district finals on their path to the state championship at Ford Field. This is Reading’s first Michigan Football State Championship in school history.   

Bailey has just concluded his 37th year as a football coach and 31st season as head coach at Reading. He spent two years as a JV assistant at Adrian High School followed by four years as a JV assistant at Reading. Bailey’s teams have won six conference titles, three regional titles, and two district titles while sporting a career record of 210-105 (66.7%). In 2014, Bailey was elected to the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. 

In addition to being the long-time Varsity Football Coach, Bailey led the Reading Varsity Baseball team for 21 years, winning the MHSAA Division 4 Baseball State Championship in 2007 and compiling a career record of 411-154. Bailey was also inducted into the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014. 

High School Football Coach of the Week/Year Program

Each week throughout the nine-week high school football regular season and at the conclusion of the Michigan High School Football State Championships, one coach that best demonstrates success on and off the field, develops players’ character, discipline, and football skill in addition to emphasizing player health and safety in their program, will be recognized for his commitment to the team, school, and community. The winner is selected by a panel of high school football media members—Mick McCabe (Detroit Free Press), Hugh Bernreuter (Saginaw News), Bret Bakita (WOOD Radio-106.9 FM, ESPN 96.1 FM-Fox 17/Grand Rapids), James Cook (Traverse City Record-Eagle) and Scott DeCamp (MLive-Muskegon Chronicle).Bailey was selected as Coach of the Year by the votes of the aforementioned media members, as well as one vote from the public online voting at DetroitLions.com/coachoftheyear.

This season’s program will award $22,000 to aid the development and promotion of high school football in the state of Michigan, thanks to contributions from the Detroit Lions, the NFL Foundation, presenting partner, Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan and associate partner, Gatorade. 

Each winning coach during the regular season received a $2,000 donation to his school’s football program and a Gatorade performance package. Weekly winners are honored in a halftime ceremony during the Detroit Lions-Los Angeles Rams game on December 2. During the ceremony, the Lions will also recognize Bailey as the High School Football Coach of the Year. Bailey will receive a $4,000 donation to his school’s football program, the Gatorade performance package and will be honored as the Detroit Lions nominee for the Don Shula NFL High School Football Coach of the Year. Bailey will be invited to the NFL Pro Bowl in Orlando, FL, January 26-28, 2019 where the winner of the Don Shula NFL High School Football Coach of the Year will be announced. 

Concluding its’ 22nd year, the Detroit Lions High School Coach of the Week/Year program has awarded $433,000 to high school football programs throughout the state of Michigan.  

All-Time Coach of the Year recipients:

1997-John Herrington, Farmington Hills Harrison, 1998-Thomas Mach, Detroit Catholic Central, 1999-Don Durrett, Saginaw, 2000-Herb Brogan, Jackson Lumen Christi, 2001-John Schwartz, Mendon, 2002-Mike Boyd, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, 2003-Scot Shaw, Three Rivers, 2004-Noel Dean, Lowell, 2005-Jack Pratt, Flint Powers, 2006-Tony Annese, Muskegon, 2007-Jim Reynolds, Detroit King, 2008-Peter Stuursma. East Grand Rapids, 2009-Rich Hulkow, Marshall, 2010-Chris Bell, Lake Orion, 2011-Thomas Wilcher, Detroit Cass Tech, 2012-Terry Hessbrook, Ithaca, 2013-Kurt Richardson, Clarkston, 2014-Dan Rohn, Grand Rapids West Catholic, 2015-John Shillito, Zeeland West, 2016-Elliot Uzelac, Benton Harbor, 2017-Mike Giannone, Warren De La Salle, 2018-Rick Bailey, Reading

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