Jasper High School didn’t have to look far to fill its vacancy at head football coach.
Philip Bailey was named to the position at a specially called Jasper City Board of Education meeting on Wednesday night.
Bailey spent the last two years as Jasper’s offensive coordinator and strength coach under former head coach Bryan Moore, who is now the head coach at Hartselle High School.
“It was a really easy decision,” said Bailey, 32, of accepting his first head coaching job. “Jasper is a special place and we’ve got a good chance to be a good football team for a long time. It’s a place my family wanted to be.”
Bailey inherits a team coming off back-to-back 11-win seasons and a pair of region championships in Class 5A. The school also recently boosted its facilities — adding a new artificial turf and jumbo-tron before last season.
“Being a head coach is something I’ve wanted for a while now, and at a place like this. This is a tremendous blessing. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity. The good Lord willing I will be here for a really long time,” Bailey added.
Bailey is looking to keep the Jasper coaching staff in place.
“That was one of the big deals going through the process — talking to all the guys and having their support. All these guys want to be in Jasper. That’s a testament to our city, our community and the school system. In the weeks ahead, a couple of things may be different here and there, but by in large these guys are going to be in Jasper,” Bailey said.
Jasper City Schools Athletic Director Jonathan Jordan began the search for a new coach after Moore stepped down earlier this month.
“We had a lot of applicants who were interested. We got it down to six or eight and had a full day of interviews. Philip’s interview stood out. He really separated himself,” Jordan said. “He showed why he’s considered an up-and-coming coach in the state. We are coming off two fantastic seasons. We need someone to come in, put down roots and stay a while. We’re excited about the future of our program.”
Jasper is making the move to Class 6A in 2020. The region schedule includes state powers Clay-Chalkville, Pinson Valley and Mortimer Jordan to name a few.
“It’s not any secret. We know there is a step up in competition. We aren’t naive about the challenge in front of us, but we aren’t going to back down. It’s still a game of blocking and tackling. It’s tough. We will have to be buckled up every week,” Bailey said.
Jasper had one of the top offenses in the state in 2019, averaging 40.3 points per game. The Vikings averaged 33.8 points in Bailey’s first year at Jasper in 2018.
Bailey, an Auburn native, is a 2005 graduate of Lee-Scott Academy. He received his undergraduate degree from Huntingdon College and his masters degree from Georgia Southern University.
Before arriving at Jasper, Bailey spent one year at Eufaula High School and five years as the offensive coordinator and director of strength and conditioning at Maryville College in Tennessee.