Having spent 26 years as a head coach, Pat Bailey had no interest in being an assistant when Pat Casey came calling 11 years ago.
But Bailey met with Casey, who had been Oregon State's coach 13 years and had won two national titles, anyway. After spending an hour talking about how to build players into young men and being a part of developing and molding men of character, Bailey began to change his mind.
“It’s the most important thing we do in our program,” Bailey says now.
On Thursday, Bailey was named the Beavers’ interim coach for the 2019 season after Casey announced his retirement.
Bailey, who was the Beavers' associate head coach, found out Wednesday that he would be taking over for Casey, who is stepping away after 24 seasons in Corvallis.
Did Bailey try to talk his close friend out of retirement?
“It’s one of those things, we’re just really good friends and I wanted to make sure he made a decision that was best for him and his family and not to be irrational but to sit down and really think through it,” Bailey said.
Bailey said it was an easy decision to be the interim coach once he was offered the position.
“I didn’t hesitate at all,” he said. “I always wanted to be a head coach again. I love having that opportunity to organize everything. And I have great assistants. Nate Yeskie is, in my opinion, and I know it’s an absolutely unbiased opinion, he’s the best pitching coach in the country.”
Andy Jenkins, who works with the infielders and has been a coach the past seven seasons after playing for the Beavers, will remain as well. They will look to fill out the staff in the near future.
Bailey said he will meet with the players on Friday.
He may get some advice from his former boss at times next season. Casey was asked if he would pass notes to Bailey if he was in attendance.
"No, I’ll just go down there and start talking to him," he said.
Casey said the staff will do a great job.
"Matter of fact, Bailes ran the ship for four games last year when the umpire ran into me," Casey joked, alluding to his four-game suspension. "I know he knows how to do that. I tell the guys all the time that we have guys on our staff that are head coaches, could be head coaches."
While there will be a new voice leading the program, Bailey said there won’t be a lot of changes.
“Pat and I are close friends, but we have different personalities,” he said. “So there will be some things that are different from a personality viewpoint, but, come on. I’m always amazed when coaches go into a place that’s been really successful and they try to change things. I think that’s ridiculous.
“Honestly, I wouldn’t be coaching with Pat if we didn’t have similar philosophies. I just wouldn’t do it.”
Bailey may not be as intense as Casey (who is?) but he’s extremely competitive.
“My daughter and I play cards and my wife has to leave the room,” he said. “We get after each other. I don’t like losing at anything. That includes cards, playing marbles, whatever it is, I want to win.”
Winning in the Pac-12 has never been easy, and Bailey has helped the Beavers become a perennial power.
He said preparation and attention to detail will remain high.
“I firmly believe luck is where preparation meets opportunity,” he said. “And I’ve been really involved with the preparation part now for a while.”
Bailey said he talked with a coach who said the year he spent as an interim was the worst of his life, so Bailey will stay focused on what he can control.
“We’re supposed to live each day one day at a time, and that’s what my focus in going to be and I’m going to give it my best shot,” he said.
“I’m a really good communicator. Our guys are going to have clear expectations in terms of what I believe in and what we’re going to do, on and off the field. I will worry about it next spring or next summer, whenever it comes.”
While the 59-year-old Casey retired on Thursday, Bailey, who's 62, said that thought hasn’t crossed his mind.
“For me, this is my mission field,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for me to impact and have an influence on kids’ lives.
“And I’ll go back to the Bible. I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where it says you have to retire when you’re 65 years old. I think that’s the American thing.
“As long as I stay healthy and I enjoy what I’m doing and I’m given the opportunity to be the permanent head coach, I’m interested in continuing to coach.”