Published: September 22, 2010
The University of Tampa is saddened by the death of former athletic
director and football, baseball and basketball coach Sam Bailey. The man
who spent more than 60 years as an employee and Spartan supporter died
at the age of 86.
Born and raised on Sanibel Island, Bailey
attended Fort Myers High School where he earned 12 varsity letters.
After a short stay at Hampden-Sydney College, he enrolled at the
University of Georgia where he continued to distinguish himself in
athletics. At Georgia, he lettered in football, basketball, baseball and
Upon graduation in 1946, he began a four-year career in
the professional ranks as a player and coach with the Boston Yanks,
Richmond Rebels and Erie (Pa.) football teams.
In the spring of
1950, Bailey began his collegiate coaching career as the head basketball
coach at The University of Tampa. He also served as the head line coach
for the football team. In 1952, he became the head baseball coach,
relinquishing his basketball duties in 1955.
He was named
assistant athletic director at UT in 1957, and four years later he was
appointed athletic business manager and public relations director in the
athletic department. He was named athletic director in 1962 and became
the school’s ninth head football coach in 1964.
tenure as a football coach, seven Spartans were named to the Little
All-America team. He also coached one All-American and five all-state
players in basketball. His baseball teams also produced 10 all-state
In December of 1967, Bailey assumed the sole duties of
athletic director, leading the Spartans among the athletic powers in the
South. In 1971 Bailey was named UT’s special assistant to the president
for athletic affairs. In 1975 Bailey tried to raise money to save the
football team from being removed against the then-President’s wishes and
was subsequently removed.
“In spite of his departure, Sam
always remained loyal to the University and to the student-athletes,”
said Larry Marfise, UT’s athletic director. “He was a great mentor to
those who came after him and was always willing to help to ensure that
the athletic department stayed vibrant and successful. Sam supported the
University in many ways and an endowment was started in his name to
help future student-athletes.”
Bailey was inducted to the UT
Athletics Hall of Fame in 1966 and is also the namesake of the Sam
Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is presented at each Hall
of Fame induction ceremony to the individual who has provided
exceptional service to UT in the following areas: employment, financial
support, voluntary service or as a lifetime fan of Spartan athletics.
The baseball field at UT also carries Bailey’s name.
family history that dates back to the late 1800’s in Sanibel Island,
Bailey also wrote a book, A Sanibel Son Looks Back. In the book, Bailey
told the tale of what it was like to grow up on this tiny but
magnificently beautiful island and takes readers on a journey back to
the rugged early years of this now world-famous vacation get-away.
Bailey is survived by his wife Cookie and three daughters.