March 27, 2013 - Two years after the Oxford Board of Education voted to use approximately $400,000 in surplus bond monies to construct new tennis courts, the high school now has a team to play on them.
Bailey (click for larger version)
Leading the charge will be new head coach Gayle Bailey.
"Getting this job is like a Godsend to me to me. I love kids and love teaching them how to play tennis," Bailey said. "This isn't a tennis community as of yet, we're starting from the ground up, but I am up for the challenge."
As for her background, Bailey began playing tennis at around age seven when her dad would wake her up to go play.
"That was his sport," she said. "We would pack a lunch and hit all day, just me and my dad and I love him for it still."
Bailey graduated from Rochester High School, where she helped the Falcons MHSAA Regional tennis championships 1990 and 1991. Bailey continued her tennis playing career at Oakland Community College before moving on to Ferris State University where she earned a bachelor's degree in television production in 1999. While a student at Ferris State, she was also a member of the Bulldogs women's rugby team.
Bailey said she stopped playing tennis for a while after finding out her partner from Rochester, Casey Collins, passed away.
It (tennis) just didn't matter, it didn't really mean much to me anymore," she said. "This (coaching) reinvigorated me. It (the game) doesn't have to be heavy, but it could be fun again. To me personally it's to honor her (and) it (the game) runs a lot more deep than a ball and racket and winning."
As a first time coach, Bailey said she has had nothing but support from the OHS staff.
"I appreciate Mike Watson (athletic director) and the crew over there. They couldn't be more welcoming to take a chance on me," she said. "That's huge."
Watson is confident Bailey "will do a great job."
"She is a great communicator and is very charismatic," added Watson. "She will create great relationships. She is already a great addition to an already stellar coaching staff."
When not coaching, Bailey enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband Jason and their eight-year-old son and five-year-old daughter. She describes them as a "big active family." She is alo a marathoner, triathlete and is currently training for a full Iron Man this September.
Gayle can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting the OHS Athletic Office at (248) 969-5110.
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.