Two former coaches, Joe Bailey and Bobby McIntyre, and former two-sport athlete Jordan Russell were inducted last week into the Moriarty High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
During the induction ceremony held Oct. 28 at the school, several people paid tribute to the Class of 2023, with Bailey garnering the bulk of the praise.
“Coach Bailey gave me my first opportunity,” varsity football head coach Gabe Romero said, the emotion noticeable in his voice. “You know, you hope that you can do half as good as he did. He had a huge impact on my life.”
The three inductees are connected by a remarkable ripple effect — McIntyre played a significant role in Bailey’s life, and Bailey influenced Russell’s. They expressed high praise for each other.
“It was such an honor to coach Jordan,” Bailey said of Russell, who played basketball for him from 2005-2009. “She may not have been the most talented on the team, but she was the best leader on the court. She’s a special person.”
Russell, a standout in basketball and volleyball at Moriarty, is now the head varsity volleyball coach at St. Pius X. She said the personal relationships Bailey had with his athletes and their families were among the most important things she learned from him.
“I never felt like I couldn’t go to coach Bailey and have a conversation about, you know, anything that was going on,” Russell said.
Bailey told the audience that McIntyre shaped Moriarty girls basketball, adding, “He made Moriarty girls basketball.”
McIntyre, due to health reasons, participated in the ceremony live, on a large video screen via Google Meet. He returned the high praise for Bailey.
“When I think of Moriarty, I think of the Baileys — Jana, Jacki, and of course, coach Joe Bailey,” McIntyre said.
Jana Baguskis and Jacki Bailey are Joe Bailey’s daughters and both played for their father when they were Moriarty students and later became assistant coaches under him.
Baguskis, following in dad’s footsteps, is now the Pintos varsity girls basketball head coach. Jacki Bailey coaches track at Portales High School.
Russell graduated from Moriarty in 2009 and went on to play volleyball at the University of New Mexico. She started coaching at St. Pius in 2014 and was named the head coach in 2017.
She has piloted her Sartan teams to multiple district championships and postseason tournaments, including winning the Class 4A state championship in 2019.
Russell said when she made the decision her junior year to pursue volleyball over basketball, Bailey was very supportive.
“He’s the kind of guy that helped me decide that that’s the type of coach I wanted to be, that’s what he taught me,” Russell said. “While wins and losses are important, the way you affect these children in their overall lives is the most important.”
McIntyre coached Moriarty’s girls basketball program from 1985 to 1997. He led the team to several district championships, three state final four appearances and its first and only state championship in 1997. When McIntyre left Moriarty, he was the school’s winningest coach with 154 victories under his belt.
Joe Bailey eventually surpassed that mark finishing with 203 wins.
Bailey, who started coaching Moriarty boys basketball in the early 1980s, credits McIntyre with getting him into coaching girls basketball. Bailey was McIntyre’s assistant coach on the 1997 state championship team.
“I fell in love with girls basketball because of him,” Bailey said of McIntyre.
Bailey retired from Moriarty in 2019. He had a distinguished career as an educator, an assistant coach and head coach in multiple sports, notably basketball and track, and he also served as the school’s athletic director from 2015 until his retirement. As the girls basketball head coach, Bailey led his teams to several district championships and final four appearances, including finishing as the state runner-up in 2018. As head track coach, he led his teams to multiple district championships and two state championships.
He spoke fondly of track, and reflected on the state runner-up team he piloted when he first started as head coach in the late ‘90s.
“We had no idea we were that good, we thought we were gonna finish at the bottom and we ended up one point away from being the state champions,” Bailey said. “That ‘98 state runner-up means as much to me as the state championships. We never saw it coming.”
Bailey said his most enjoyable experience coaching was when his daughters were his assistants coaches.
“We had so much fun, it was such a fun year,” Bailey said.
After the ceremony, Bailey said that it was rewarding hearing all the comments about the impact he’s had on so many people.
“At the time, you don’t think that you’re making a difference, and it comes about 20 years later, 30 years later that you’ve found you have made a difference,” he said, adding, “I hope as a coach, and as a teacher, the kids know how much I cared about them. That’s more important than Xs and Os.”
Alex Romero, a Moriarty 2017 grad who played girls basketball and was a thrower in track under Bailey, confirmed her former coach’s hopes: “We always knew that no matter what, he cared about us, he cared about our families, our lives, he was just a good person to be around.”