Cleveland, GA (May 16, 2011) - Truett-McConnell College will be adding wrestling to its athletic program beginning fall 2011. National Wrestling Hall of Fame Coach, Jim Bailey, has been appointed as the new wrestling coach.
Bailey hails from Fayetteville, GA where he taught English and coached wrestling and football. He comes to TMC with 33 years of coaching experience and was one of five Hall of Fame Georgia inductees chosen to be featured in the national museum in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Bailey will also be joining the faculty as an English instructor and the newly appointed wrestling coach is excited about the upcoming program as well as the opportunity to coach college athletes.
“It was a complete surprise; I wasn’t expecting to start something on the collegiate level, but God shook me out of my comfort zone,” Bailey said.
Coach Bailey stated that he has already started recruiting and the news about the new program is spreading quickly. As far as his vision for the program, Bailey affirmed that his main goal is to create a solid team that stays united. TMC athletic director, Chris Eppling, looks forward to working with Bailey and establishing the new sport.
“I think that having wrestling here will open up new horizons athletically for Truett-McConnell College. I am thrilled to have Coach Bailey as a part of the TMC family. I look forward to hearing the stories of how God has used wrestling and Coach Bailey in the lives of our TMC students in the future,” Eppling remarked.
Additionally, Bailey emphasized that he desires to create a team that is bound together by strong relationships and to help students understand that God wants them to find their best potential and develop it.
“When I learn I can do more than I thought I could, I can take that and apply it to different areas in life. I desire to create good men to compete; wrestling is not something they are going to do after college. Hopefully, they will take away lessons to apply to their lives, as well as long-lasting friendships,” Bailey said.
The coach said he is ready to face the challenge that comes in building a unified team in such an individual-based sport. He plans to build camaraderie in team training sessions and to encourage the athletes to work together as they compete in team matches. In addition, he aims to promote Christian athleticism in his program by encouraging athletes to do their best.
“I encourage them to do the best they can, just like in our spiritual life, we do the best we can for God. I look at competition as bringing out the best in each other. I want the athletes to learn to respect each other and to respect themselves,” said Bailey.
Coach Bailey is currently working on recruiting students, and the recruits will be visiting the campus this summer. Eppling and Bailey will host a meet and greet time for any prospective student at the Nix Center on May 21, from 10:00am-1:00pm. Though unsure of the date of their first match, Bailey stated that the team will most likely participate in early season tournaments. The Truett-McConnell College wrestling team plans to compete against teams in the southeast including Shorter University.
Truett-McConnell College equips students to fulfill the Great Commission by fostering a Christian Worldview through a Biblically-centered liberal arts education.
By Vicky Kaniaru