For girls varsity lacrosse head coach and Middle School science teacher Judy Bailey, Kingswood Oxford has been a part of her life since she was a kid. She has been teaching at the school for over 30 years and has been coaching for 34.
In addition to coaching lacrosse at KO, Coach Bailey has coached J.V. field hockey, girls J.V. basketball, as well as the girls varsity basketball team, where she was the assistant coach for 10 unconsecutive years. Her longest coaching position in the Upper School was for 15 years when she was the head coach of the girls varsity lacrosse program from 1991-2005. In 2020, she took the job again as head girls varsity lacrosse coach, but unfortunately, the season was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Entering a lacrosse season during a pandemic proves to be no easy task. However, Coach Bailey is more prepared than ever to take on the task and lead the team to success this season. In the early weeks of the season, players were required to be masked up at all times. The mandate has since then been lifted for practices, but maintaining proper social distancing has become even more vital.
“Now that we can remove our masks while actively playing in practice, we are cognizant of making sure that the girls are appropriately separated when we stop for water breaks and when we need to provide instruction as we transition between drills,” Coach Bailey said. So far, both coaches and players alike have been abiding by the safety protocols to keep everyone safe and able to continue playing.
For Coach Bailey, coaching sports has been a passion of hers for a long time. The feeling of pride she experiences from watching her players improve their skills over the course of the season is unmatched, and the bonds she creates with her players will never be forgotten.
“I love interacting with the girls on my teams,” Coach Bailey said. “Coaching gives me a chance to engage with the girls in a very different way than I do in the classroom. I enjoy sharing my passion and love for the sports I coach, especially lacrosse.” She said she loves watching her players play, and seeing the hard work they put into practice play out on the field is rewarding for both her and her players alike.
In addition to being the head girls varsity lacrosse coach, Coach Bailey also coaches the Middle School girls lacrosse team. All afternoon, Coach Bailey is out on the fields, doing what she loves most with every girls lacrosse player at KO. Though coaching two teams is challenging, Coach Bailey manages her time well so that she can give her best effort for each team she coaches. “This year it is actually easier because my practices are back to back,” Coach Bailey said. “I always plan out my two practices to the minute, so I know exactly what I want to do each and every day.”
In the fall of 2019, when she accepted the position as the head coach of girls varsity lacrosse, the hardest part for her was telling the Middle School girls she would not be able to coach them as much as she would have liked. Coach Bailey was completely committed to the varsity team, leaving less time to spend with the Middle School girls. This year, however, that changed; because the Middle School girls have no games, there have been very few scheduling conflicts for Coach Bailey. She also has an amazing support system in the form of her assistant coaches for both teams. “This year I get the best of both worlds because I get to spend time with all of my girls, both from the Upper School and the Middle School, and not many varsity coaches can say they are involved in coaching every player in their program,” Coach Bailey said.
With one game already under her belt, along with 15 years experience of coaching at the varsity level, Coach Bailey and the KO girls varsity lacrosse team are set up to have a promising season. The team has nine games on the schedule, giving them plenty of time to make up for the time taken away last season.