Bailey returns to South Carolina as Assistant Basketball Coach

Head coach Lamont Paris announced the hiring of Will Bailey as assistant coach on Wednesday to complete his staff. The coaching veteran returns to Columbia after spending the 2023-24 season as an assistant at Loyola University Chicago.

“I’ve really gotten to know Will over the years and, in that time, I’ve found him to be a man of tremendous character,” said Paris. “His work ethic and ability to forge incredibly meaningful relationships with players and coaches alike has really helped him in recruiting talented players. Will is no stranger to winning or to hard work and I look forward to adding his positive energy and winning mentality to our family!”

Bailey helped the Ramblers to a 23-10 record and a 15-3 mark in the program’s second season in the Atlantic 10. The team earned a postseason bid to the NIT. Bailey spent the 2022-23 season in his second stint as an assistant at St. Louis under Travis Ford. The Billikens went 21-12 with a 12-6 mark in the A-10.

Prior to his return to St. Louis, he was an assistant for the Gamecocks in former head coach Frank Martin’s final two seasons in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

“I couldn’t be more excited to return to Columbia and be a part of coach Paris’ staff,” said Bailey. “He has done such a good job the last two seasons and the upward trajectory of the program is something I can’t wait to be a part of. I am thankful to him for this opportunity. The SEC has become one of the best leagues in the country and I look forward to helping South Carolina contend for championships and postseason play. There’s a ton of positive momentum for the program right now, and I’m ready to hit the ground running with the guys soon.”

In Bailey’s first stint with the Billikens, he spent the first four seasons of Ford’s tenure there starting in 2016-17. He was part of a staff that helped the Billikens improve their win total each season, highlighted by the 2018-19 season’s 23-13 record, an Atlantic 10 Conference Championship title, and a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Known for his work with guards, he was instrumental in the emergence of All-Atlantic 10 guard Javon Bess, the 2019 A-10 Defensive Player of the Year. Bailey helped Bess improve his offensive game as well, and as a senior, Bess led the team in scoring averaging 15.3 points per game with 66 made 3s.

The Chicago native was an assistant at La Salle for six seasons prior to his time at St. Louis. Bailey helped the Explorers reach the 2012 NIT and the 2013 NCAA Tournament, in which the team advanced to the Sweet 16 with wins over Boise State (First Four), Kansas State and Ole Miss. La Salle was one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the nation during the 2011-12 season , finishing fourth nationally at 40.6 percent from beyond the arc.  Bailey played an important role in the development of all-conference guards Earl Pettis, Ramon Galloway and Tyreek Duren with the Explorers.

Prior to La Salle, he spent seven seasons as an assistant at East Tennessee State under his former college coach Murray Bartow, helping the Bucs to six conference titles, three NCAA Tournament berths, an NIT appearance and four 20-win campaigns.  Bailey coached two of the top three scorers in ETSU history in Tim Smith and Courtney Pigram as well as three conference players of the year during his time with the Bucs.

He spent one season each as an assistant at Maine (2002-03) and Chicago State (2001-02). He worked as a student assistant and later a graduate assistant at UAB after completing his eligibility helping the Blazers to an appearance in the 1999 NCAA Tournament.

Prior to his time coaching, Bailey played two seasons at UAB (1995-97) and served as team captain of the 1996-97 squad that reached the NIT. Prior to his time in Birmingham, Bailey spent two seasons at Parkland College, helping his team to a No. 1 ranking and the NJCAA National Tournament in 1994 and 1995. Bailey averaged 18.0 points per game, led the nation in assists and was a first-team all-conference selection in college. He was inducted into the Parkland College Hall of Fame in 2019.

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