TC67: Cal Bailey, West Virginia State (part 1)

You are in for a treat with this episode. Thanks to a suggestion by Robin Green, we were able to get recently retired West Virginia State University coach, Calvin Bailey, to chat with us on the phone. Coach Bailey has been coaching at his alma mater for 36 years and has racked up over 1,000 wins and 17 conference titles. All that with a budget that never surpassed $17,000. Just like many coaches that we’ve chatted with before, Coach Bailey has had other opportunities, but he likes it just fine in West Virginia.

Except for a short stint serving U.S. Navy and the Pittsburgh Pirates, Bailey has lived his entire life in the hills of West Virginia. You think you endure some hardships to play baseball? Listen to this story and you may reassess your difficulties. Coach Bailey is the genuine article, as my grandfather used to say. Can’t wait until I take that long motorcycle ride out east and stop by Coach Bailey’s farm for a long visit.

Check out Cal’s trip in during his high school years from his home in Newton to the school in Spencer. The ride is tough enough. It’s hitchhiking home the 26 miles that determines how badly you want to play baseball. Cal wanted me to make it clear, as he may have mis-spoken during the interview — they were able to ride the bus home after practices, but had to hitchhike home after some games.

Cal Bailey's West Virginia

Here’s a link to part 2 of our interview.

Photo credit: West Virginia State University Atheltics

Intro Music: Matt’s Blues, Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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  1. My coach from 1980-83 WV State – listening to the podcast helps me realize why he took a liking to an ole poor Nellis boy that loved to play Baseball. Cal had a huge positive influence on me when I needed it the most.

  2. Played for Coach Bailey, 1982-85. Thought I knew the game of baseball until I go to WV State, found out I knew little to nothing. Calvin taught me a ton about the game of baseball, but he taught me so much more about life. So thankful for great parents, but for Coach Bailey’s guidance and stories, they shaped me into what I am today. “Live each day like it’s going to be your last, one day you’ll be right!”

  3. I had the privilege of playing for Cal on his first teams from 1978 to 1982. It was a highlight in my life. Played with a bunch of tough and talented local boys and won over 100 games in four years. But it was about Cal and what he did for us and taught us. He had the innate ability to take an average guy like me and make a ball player out of them. There will never be another Cal Bailey. Besides my Dad he is and has been the greatest influence in my life. He’s simply the BEST! Congrats Cal.

  4. I played for Cal 2001-2002 then I went on to play for 8 mlb teams and I still play today and I have to say. Cal was the biggest Influence in my life. He made me what I am today. Thanks so much cal

  5. I had the honor and privileged to play for Cal 1984- 87. He was a great coach and even better man. The lessons that I learned from him I carried with me through life and has been a part of the successes that I have had in life. Words cannot begin to express the admiration and respect that I have for him. Thank you Cal for not only being a great coach but also preparing me for life!

  6. I had the privilege of playing baseball for Cal Bailey from 1988-1992 and can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. I would say there isn’t a day that goes by in teaching or coaching that I don’t reference something he taught me. My favorite quote of his that I use all the time; “Is the eyes only see what the mind knows”. Cal has helped me see a lot more in my life for being around him and by playing for him at WV State.

  7. I can’t listen to the first part of the interview anymore. What happened? Where can I find episode 67?

    • Hi Danny: Not sure what the issue could be. I clicked on the audio for part 1 just now and it’s still working properly. I’d suggest trying another browser or computer (or phone) and see what happens. If you still can’t get to it, drop me a note at jack [at] and I’ll see what else I can do. Jack

7 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Top Coach 108: Mike Zandler, Harvard – Top Coach Podcast
  2. Top Coach 68: Cal Bailey, West Virginia State (part 2) – Top Coach Podcast
  3. Cal Bailey entering West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame | – Top Coach Podcast
  4. In (further) praise of Cal Bailey – Top Coach Podcast
  5. TC290: Mark “Lunch” McKenzie, Concordia St. Paul – Top Coach Podcast
  6. Top Coach podcast is back! – Top Coach Podcast
  7. TC300: Cal Bailey, West Virginia State – Top Coach Podcast

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