One of Bailey McGinnis' fondest childhood memories was running around the baseball fields for Red Bank Dixie Youth, which her late grandfather Skipper Fairbanks started in the early 1960s.
McGinnis will now get to share her passion with her youngest daughter, Collins, as she returns to the coaching scene after recently taking over the Red Bank High School softball program.
"I grew up watching my grandfather coach on the baseball fields behind the school, and I feel very connected to him," McGinnis said. "I feel like it was meant to be that this position opened up. We actually moved to Spring Valley and can walk to the fields now.
"Maybe my grandfather helped make this happen. It will be fun having my daughter out there running around on the fields like I did growing up."
McGinnis already helped turn around one Lady Lions program, as she led her alma mater's girls' basketball team to a 117-65 record from 2014-20. In her last three seasons leading Red Bank on the court, the Lady Lions won a combined 74 games, which included a 28-win district championship season in her final year that led to her being named the Best of Preps girls' basketball coach of the year.
Taking over a softball program that won just one game this past season is a challenge McGinnis is excited to tackle, but she'll have the help of assistant coach Taylor Gatewood next spring. McGinnis will return the favor by helping Gatewood with the Red Bank volleyball team this fall.
The return to the softball field is also an opportunity McGinnis has been longing for after suffering heartbreak right before her senior spring season on the diamond.
"My senior year, I tore every ligament in my ankle in the last practice before we started our game schedule. I was practicing slap-hitting from the left side and trying to beat out an infield hit and hit the bag wrong," McGinnis said. "To come back is almost like I get to get back out there. It's neat to be back. I am excited, because I have missed softball ever since I got hurt."
McGinnis takes over the program from Hannah Wood, a former Lady Lions and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball standout. She took over the Red Bank program from Mandi Munn, whose 2005 Lady Lions were state champions.
Red Bank has made seven trips to the state tournament, most recently in 2021.
McGinnis graduated in 2010 from Red Bank, where she stood out in basketball, softball and volleyball. She went on to play college basketball at nearby Tennessee Wesleyan University.
"I am super excited to have Bailey McGinnis take over our softball program," said Munn, now Red Bank's athletic director. "She was an outstanding multisport athlete in high school and always a leader on the softball field. I am confident that she loves Red Bank as much as I do. I know our softball players are in good hands."
McGinnis was a speedster on the diamond. The former shortstop looks forward to helping her team get after it on the basepaths and learn how to execute the small details of the game.
"Red Bank has always been home," McGinnis said. "God opens doors for us, and for me I feel like it is my calling to lead the girls' softball team here. We want to win a lot of games and most importantly build strong relationships that last even past high school."
Contact Patrick MacCoon at firstname.lastname@example.org.