Not even six months into a coaching change, stop number 24 on News 25’s “25 Teams in 25 Days” is already starting to see the results.
Maybe not yet on paper, but St. Patrick still feels a lot closer to being a truly competitive program than it has in a long time.
The Fighting Irish certainly have a fighting chance heading into 2019 under the watch of Trey Bailey.
Head Coach Trey Bailey said, “I took the opportunity to get back to my roots. And these kids, they’ve done a fantastic job. They’ve bought into everything that we’ve asked of them. And I think the results are going to show.”
A graduate of St. Joseph Catholic in Greenville, Mississippi, Trey Bailey says being the head football coach at St. Patrick gives off a familiar vibe, largely because both schools, as fate would have it, are the Fighting Irish. “It’s almost like a flashback everyday that I come into work. It just takes me back to when I was a kid, and it just brings back a lot of fun memories. And it’s kind of an awakening to football being — it’s a fun game. We should have fun doing it.”
That mindset founded on the love of the game has allowed Coach Bailey to increase the roster size by a whopping 46 percent in just one off-season to the point where the Fighting Irish now have a depth chart. Wide receiver/ linebacker Mathew Chouest said, “My freshman year, we barely had enough people to even play a game. Everybody was getting hurt, everybody was just exhausted.”
Right tackle/ defensive end Ray Frazier said, “It definitely is weird to think about that because the past couple years when you come out here, you’re going to have to play. Cause 17, 26 people, we don’t have the amount of depth to fight for position. If you come out here, you’re going to play. This year, you’re going to fight for a position. We’re going to put the biggest, baddest dudes out there so we can win the most games.”
Now up to 38 players on the roster, the Fighting Irish are looking to make some other changes around the program. Dating back to 2015, St. Patrick’s season-high for wins is only three, a stretch that also includes a 23-game losing streak ending in 2017. Quarterback Adam Ritter said, “I was in eighth grade when it happened so I wasn’t yet to varsity, but I remember everyone was bashing on us. Telling us how we weren’t going to be successful, but I think we’ve changed that.”
“We want to change they can’t play, they can’t win, all that other stuff. We want to prove that we can do something. Prove that we can be a football team that’s worth talking about.”
“We’ve progressively gotten better every year, and I think this year is the time where we take it up a notch and hopefully make the playoffs.”
At the very least, those post-season aspirations feel a lot more possible than they did at this same time last year. Coach Bailey’s arrival has a lot to do with that, win, lose, or draw. “He wanted to take this job so he could turn it around, change the culture of this place. And I think he’s doing a very good job.”
“We want them to have expectations, we want to be successful. We push that. We don’t push it just here, we push it in life.”
“It doesn’t matter how many games we win to me, personally. If we go to the playoffs, if we win more games than we normally do, that’s great. But I just want to leave a legacy and get better and better and keep this football program alive.”
Formerly the head man at Richland High School, Coach Bailey was hired to take over the St. Patrick program back in March. The Fighting Irish don’t open up the season until next Friday at home against Sacred Heart.