It’s about a one hour drive to Statesboro from Richmond Hill but Brandon Bailey took a more circuitous route.
First, the former Wildcats assistant football coach headed off to Arkansas. From there he went to Texas then it was on to New York before he landed in the Boro last week.
Bailey, who coached linebackers and was co-defensive coordinator for Richmond Hill in 2017, is the new defensive coordinator at Georgia Southern. He replaces Will Harris who is reportedly joining the Los Angeles Chargers staff as a secondary coach.
The Chargers have made no official announcement regarding Harris’ hiring. Former Eagles standout Giff Smith, who played on three FCS national championship teams under Erk Russell, is the outside linebackers coach for the NFL team.
Bailey comes to Georgia Southern from the University of Buffalo where he was the Bulls’ defensive coordinator last year after spending three years at Texas A&M. He had left Richmond Hill for Arkansas-Monticello to coach the defensive backs before going to A&M.
A 2016 Georgia Southern graduate Bailey did not play football but did work with the program as a student assistant. Upon graduation he went to Tulane as a graduate assistant on former Eagle coach Willie Fritz’s staff.
After one year at Tulane, he was hired as a teacher and coach in Bryan County. Bailey is from Perry and his wife, C.C., is from Statesboro.
“I would like to thank Coach (Clay) Helton, (athletic director) Jared Benko, Chris Davis and everyone involved in making this opportunity happen,” said Bailey in a prepared statement released by the school. “Georgia Southern and Statesboro have been special places to my wife C.C. and me. We are excited to be back and get to work.”
Bailey, who will be 29 in August, was the youngest defensive coordinator in FBS last year with the Bulls and he turned their defense into one of the best in the Mid-America Conference.
Helton and the Eagles can attest to the effectiveness of that defense as Buffalo beat Georgia Southern, 23-21, in the Camellia Bowl last December.
The UB defense ranked fourth in the MAC against scoring, forced a nation best 28 turnovers on the season, ranked second in FBS with 15 fumble recoveries and tied for the conference lead in interceptions with 13
Bailey’s career, obviously, is on a fast track and the most last impression he has made on those with whom he has worked is his passion for the game and work ethic.
Wildcats Coach Matt LeZotte said that while Bailey made several contributions to the program the thing he will never forget is Bailey’s work ethic.
“He had been at Tulane and was hired in April and he showed up right away for spring practice,” LeZotte said. “He didn’t get paid until September but he was there every day that spring and summer. His success doesn’t surprise any of us who were here at the time. He puts in the time and he’s a student of the game.”
Bailey will be the fourth Georgia Southern graduate on Helton’s staff and third hired this year. Darius Eubanks (safeties, nickelbacks) and B.J. Johnson (wide receivers) join associate head coach Keith Whitley as Southern alums.
If there’s one thing about Brandon Bailey that stands out to Matt LeZotte about Georgia Southern’s new defensive coordinator above everything else it’s his work ethic.
The former Wildcats assistant coach—he coached linebackers and was co-defensive coordinator in 2017--realized a dream when he was hired by Eagles coach Clay Helton last week to replace XX XX who accepted a position with the Los Angeles Chargers of the NFL.
Bailey, a Georgia Southern graduate whose wife AAA is from Statesboro, was the defensive coordinator at Buffalo last year and Helton got a close up look at his new DC’s work when the Bulls beat the Eagles, 00-00, in the Camelia Bowl.
When it came time to look for a replacement hiring Bailey, who at 28 was the youngest defensive coordinator in FBS last year, was an easy decision for Helton who is entering his second season at Southern.