Thursday, April 28, 2005

MA hires Dailey

By BARRY BURLESON
Editor

Craig Dailey said he has no magic formula for winning basketball games.

“Hard work,” said the newly-hired Marshall Academy basketball coach.

Dailey sports a 701-196 coaching record. He has won nine state championships (six girls and three boys) at Class A Delta Academy in Marks. Twice he won boys and girls state crowns in the same season – the only time it has been done. This past season the Lady Raiders won their fifth straight state championship and their sixth in the past seven years.

“We will play man-to-man, and we’re going to get after you and guard you close,” said Dailey, who will lead the varsity boys, junior high boys and junior high girls at MA. “And we’re going to get good shots on offense.”

Dailey is a native of Burnsville. He played junior college basketball at Northeast Mississippi Community College for legendary coach Harvey Childers.

The first year at Northeast he actually tried out for the team and didn’t make it. He served as manager, and Northeast finished second in the nation. Then the second year he made the squad.

“I learned more in that first year there than I’ve learned since,” said Dailey, who averaged more than 20 points a game in high school. “Coach Childers is my mentor.”

He said he had considered making the move to Marshall before, but this time things fell into place.

“There are probably three places I would have come to, and this is one of them – mainly because of the great love for basketball here,” Dailey said.

“For 12 years, I made Delta home, and those years have been very special. But I feel I’m coming home to the Hills now, and our goal is to win an Overall title, and of course a few state championships along the way.”

His adopted slogan is, “We believe.”

“My job is to get them to believe, and if they do, we will be making some noise,” Dailey said.

Headmaster Tommy Gunn was a primary reason for his accepting the job.

“Within our association, people have a lot of respect for Coach Gunn,” said Dailey, a graduate of the University of North Alabama. “He’s a great communicator and a great salesman for this school. He has a real good vision for this school.

“He’s pretty persuasive. I almost came here three or four times before, and this time everything clicked. It seems like God meant for it to happen.”

He will also assist Gunn with some administrative duties.

“We’re excited to have Coach Dailey,” Gunn said. “We look forward to him developing our program. We hope he will do for us what he did for Delta, and we believe he will.”

The schedule will get tougher. Dailey said next season, for example, Marshall will play Jackson Academy and Madison Ridgeland Academy on the campus of Mississippi College, and the Patriots will compete in the Brookhaven Tournament.

One date he also has memorized is a January 2, 2006, trip to Delta. The Raiders were state runners-up this past season.

“That will definitely be hard,” he said, “mainly because they will be very good again next year.”

Dailey, age 35, and his wife Bridgett, an elementary school teacher have a 9-year-old son, Dakota. They are looking forward to their move to the community.

“You have to have that community support to be successful,” he said.

“As you tell from the 12 years at Delta, I don’t move around a lot. We are coming here to stay. I enjoy high school basketball.”

While coaching boys and girls at Delta, Dailey has also won 17 District 1-A championships, 12 North State A championships and three overall runner-up trophies.


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