‘Providing a program where everyone can meet with success’

David Bailey has been teaching at Lincoln for 49 years. He knows how to get the crowd cheering and has taught Government, Economics, journalism and more. But what many current students don’t know is that he coached track and cross country for 45 years and was inducted into the PIL Hall of Fame on Oct. 16.

Every year, the Portland Interscholastic League recognizes coaches from high schools in the PIL who have achieved greatness in their sport. The Portland Tribune wrote about Bailey’s success, saying that he won 36 PIL cross country crowns, six city track titles and a state title in girls cross country and track.

Being inducted is a huge honor for Bailey, and he describes it as “a validation of my career to be recognized by your peers.”

Bailey also says that he “never strived to be inducted, no coach does. We go out and do what we do because we enjoy it. Working with young people to reach their goals, [and it] is certainly not for the pay.”

While Bailey has achieved great success, he doesn’t want the focus to just be on him. The talent of the athletes is just as important, if not more, than the influence and skills of the coach, he says.

“Our runners have had lots and lots of success. The fact that I played a role in that, great. But, I would never take away from the success our athletes have had and the God given skills that they brought.”

He has coached several athletes who are now in their 40s and 50s run with their children. “It is really very cool to get emails and phone calls from athletes that I used to coach,” Bailey says. “To see that they are still running, and sometimes with their children, it is a reward by itself.”

He also was able to coach two other inductees, Kali Bader (graduated 1992, played cross country, basketball, and track and field) and Philip Dunn (graduated 1989, played cross country, swimming, and track and field).

The PIL Hall of Fame committee, every year, asked for the inductees to make a statement about what coaching and/or teaching has meant to them. Bailey’s statement is as follows:

“One of the greatest joys of my teaching career was being able to leave the classroom at the end of the day, dress down, and coach our runners in an arena where everyone could meet with success, regardless of skills simply by putting one foot in front of the other and repeating. I remain grateful for having had the opportunity to work with wonderful athletes, and add to that a gentlemanly group of PIL coaches for whom I have the utmost respect.”