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Bailey takes over Maui Prep hoops program

Bailey

After moving more than 4,000 miles less than a year ago, Zach Bailey is ready.

The 30-year-old from Florida, who was a four-year standout player at Tennessee Tech University, is the new boys basketball head coach at Maui Preparatory Academy.

Bailey, his wife Caitlyn and their two children moved to Maui in June. He applied for the job then after being hired to be part of the faculty at Maui Prep.

He submitted a basketball resume to Maui Prep athletic director Keenan Reader, but was told he was overqualified. Bailey moved to Maui off of a four-year run as head coach at Tullahoma High School in Tennessee, where he was also a teacher.

“It’s pretty funny — I actually had sent Keenan my resume to try to coach on the side,” Bailey said. “At the time, he had a basketball coach. Before my interview with him, I met with the head of the school, Mr. Robert Landau, and he looked at my resume.

“Mr. Landau told me that I would be overqualified, but I looked at it as an opportunity to work with younger kids.”

Bailey coached the school’s middle school basketball team and is also the head track and field coach, although that run was short-lived this spring with Maui Interscholastic League athletics on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“So, I just came aboard and I’ve enjoyed it so much, just getting to interact with the lower-school kids, just the whole community in general has been awesome,” Bailey said.

Reader said in a press release, “after an extensive search for our next head coach, I am ecstatic that we found the best candidate right in our community. Coach Bailey’s reputation as a hustler and scrappy defensive specialist as a player transcends into his coaching style. He is a coach who commands discipline and will instill hard work and commitment in his players both on the court and within our community.

“Already well respected in our community and experienced as a head coach, he is ready to pick up where we left off and make a competitive run for the MIL title next season.”

Bailey teaches a middle-school tech class, is responsible for supervision of the lower-school students in the “morning, lunch, recess and the end of school, and I teach gardening to the lower-school kids as well, and coach.”

His background in gardening came from helping with his in-laws’ garden in Tennessee, but “I looked at it as a challenge and also an opportunity to grow as an individual.”

He takes over a program that finished 8-5 in MIL Division II play after falling in the MIL tournament championship game to 11-time defending champion Seabury Hall. Former MIL Player of the Year Cheyne De La Garza has been hired as an assistant coach, according to the press release.

Na Pueo lose just two seniors and return MIL D-II Player of the Year Drew Triplett, a sophomore who scored an MIL-record 53 points in a win over Molokai — that mark is third all-time in state history.

“I’m very excited, I’ve seen the kids and I’ve seen games,” Bailey said. “We have a great group of kids, first and foremost. And we’ve got some good basketball players. I think with the hiring of myself and the assistant coaches, we can just take it to another level.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

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