Mudge retains assistant coach Justin Bailey at SHSU

Sam Houston State men’s basketball coach Chris Mudge has announced that assistant coach Justin Bailey will remain on staff for the upcoming season.
Bailey will be elevated to a higher position after having spent the previous two seasons serving under former head coach Jason Hooten. Since Bailey has been a part of the program, the Bearkats have gone 45-22 overall and 27-9 in its only two seasons in the Western Athletic Conference, finishing fourth in 2022 and second in 2023.
“When I got the head coaching job, keeping Coach Bailey here was one of my first priorities and I worked hard to recruit him to stay,” Mudge said. “He had a lot of options and chose to continue to help build our Bearkat program and I couldn’t be more excited. He has head coaching experience, played at a high level, is an incredible recruiter, teacher, communicator and leader for our players.  Justin will be a head coach or high-level assistant soon and until then I know he will make our program and players better every single day.”
Sam Houston is coming off a historical season in which the Bearkats set the record for most wins in a regular season with 24 and most road wins at 11 since moving up to the Division I level in 1986. This also marked the first time Sam Houston received an at-large berth to the NIT, including a road victory over Santa Clara in the opening round, and only the second time the team played in the renowned postseason event.
Before coming to Huntsville, Bailey spent the two seasons as an assistant coach for Pittsburg State and was promoted to associate head coach during the 2020-21 campaign. The Gorillas went 22-30 while he was on staff.
Bailey was the head coach at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith during the 2018-19 season before joining Pittsburg State. He had previously served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Lamar for two seasons in 2016-17 and 2017-18, helping the Cardinals to consecutive 19-win seasons and back-to-back appearances in the College Basketball Invitational (CIT).
Bailey also served as an assistant coach at UAFS for four seasons from 2012-16. He helped guide the Lions to a pair of NCAA Division II National Tournament appearances and two Heartland Conference Championships.
Prior to joining the UAFS staff, Bailey spent two years as a graduate assistant coach at Arizona State University.
Bailey, a Fort Smith, Arkansas, native played two seasons at Arkansas Fort Smith, helping the program capture the 2005-06 NJCAA National Championship. He then played three seasons at UT Permian Basin and earned All-Heartland Conference honors.
Bailey earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from UT Permian Basin in May 2010 and a master’s degree in higher and postsecondary education from Arizona State in May 2012.

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