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Buddy Bailey Becomes a Raven: ‘How Can an Indian Coach a Chief?”

In a move that comes as a complete shock to the South Florida youth football world, ‘Buddy’ Bailey, the multi-championship winning head youth football coach, has taken his talents from the Miami Gardens Vikings (Scott Lake) to the rival Miami Gardens Ravens organization in the Florida Youth Football League.  The move was unexpected and eye opening given the fact that Bailey had engaged in heated rivalry games with the Ravens (formerly known as the Chargers) for many years.  The height of this bitter series was in 2011 when Bailey held a scrimmage versus Pembroke Pines Optimist and mocked Ravens coaches looking on from the sidelines holding a towel around his neck and using it to seemingly choke himself.  A clear sign that he was out for revenge from 2010’s loss in overtime on the 135 pound in the South Florida Youth Football League.

Well that was then, this is now.

Those same coaches Bailey mocked will now be his collaborators.  And Bailey who last year coached the Vikings 13U to the semi-finals in FYFL will now become the Ravens 14U coach, taking his entire staff over to 32nd Ave from 17th Ave in Miami Gardens.

“The Ravens were a good fit, they opened up their arms.  And they had a good 13U that went to the bowl last year, they didn’t win it, but I think I can bring something out of them,” said Bailey.

Bailey had been rumored to be heading down to Liberty City Optimist to coach the Midget division with a lot of rising talent from coach Rob Jones‘ National Championship Jr. Midget team.  While admitting he was considering it and did speak to kids about it during some off season workouts, Bailey decided to stay closer to home.

Leaving Scott Lake didn’t come easy for ‘Coach Buddy’ as he’s most commonly referred to as. But after time, it was clear to him that a change was necessary.  The reason? The growing climate around the park that was no longer in keeping with Bailey’s way of doing things.  Loyalty to fellow coaches was at the heart of it, particularly the plight of a fellow coach from last season who was the head coach of the 11U Vikings.

“We went the super bowl last year and we lost to a tough North Dade team. You know he been to the bowl two years straight.  They just up and took the man’s team. I didn’t like that move right there.  After this man had spent like $20,000 in helmets, because you know each uniform that he had, he had a different helmet for them that he paid for it out of his pocket. He had three sets of uniforms and two sets of helmets.  For them to take his team, I felt like that was kind of crazy.”

Bailey talked about other coaches who lost their teams because of the leadership at the Scott Lake organization and their off season reshuffling.  They may have taken it for granted that Bailey’s deep Vikings roots would keep him on the park, but they miscalculated.

“The loyal part to me,” said Bailey was the issue that put up the red flags with the organization at Scott Lake.buddy bailey

“When you’re doing something to people around you that you’re cool with, you have check these men’s character.”

It just so happened that as these internal issues at the Vikings were occurring, the return of one of Miami Gardens Ravens’ best coaches just happened to coincide with things being influx at Scott Lake.  Rod Mack, former Miami Hurricane football alum, began to recruit Bailey again to come to the Ravens and join their family.

Mack told Football Hotbed that it had been a three year pursuit.

“It’s been years in the making, to be honest with you.  I’ve been trying to get him to come over to the Ravens for literally years,” said Mack.

Anybody who’s spent anytime with the Ravens organization knows that we’re more of a family.  There’s not any envy between coaches, we all try to help each other out.  We have family at the park already…and me and Buddy have a relationship that goes back, so you know, we’ve just been trying to get him to come over.”

It finally worked.  Bailey is now a Raven.

Buddy Bailey isn’t a big name because he’s a highly tenured coach who has years of experience, it’s because he’s won many championships. But a lot of coaches have won, but not like him. Bailey won with style…flash and a swagger that no team had ever displayed in this area.  He branded a physical style of football that was accented by intimidation and the sharpest uniforms sponsors could buy.  The results were multipule super bowl wins and apparences in Super Bowls consecutively from 2008 through 2012.  This past year was his first year not playing for a title in years.

Bailey and his Vikings called “Buddy’s Boys” became YouTube legends and their chants and cheers were emulated all across the country because of how many views they received, hundreds of thousands.

Many thought Bailey would be courted by Flo Rida to become one of the marquee coaches as the new Carol City Chiefs organization that replaced the Miami Gardens Rams in the FYFL.  Bailey said he was asked to coach their 14U and then the offer was rescinded.  After that, it just became an undesirable place.

“On the Carol City situation, me and Freezy, you know we grew up together and everything like that.  At the beginning, when the Carol City situation popped off…’yea Buddy you got the 14U.’  Then they got Ro (Wallace) from the AYFL.  They told me, I couldn’t get the 14U because he was basically bringing his team.  I’m like, ‘he can bring his team, but they’re going to have to play up under me.”  They like, “naw, we gone let him and Richie (Jospitre) get the team, we want you to get the 12U because you know, those teams are going to be highlighted,” Bailey said as he painted the picture of what happened during the negotiations.

“You know, I subjected myself to it. Until I went to a meeting not knowing that they got another 12U coach too, named Melo (Jermaine Smith).  And they wanted me to coach up under this dude.  And I asked them, ‘how can an Indian coach a Chief?’  That’s like backwards.  So you know I just had to re-evaluate everything.”

Now that he’s a Raven, Bailey is extremely motivated.  Mostly because he feels disrespected by those who should acknowledge how much success he’s had in youth football’s hotbed, South Florida.

“I’ve got a personal vendetta against a few teams this year, I’m not going to even put their names out there.  It became personal to me, because I guess my legacy right now don’t mean nothing to these dudes that’s trying to put together whatever they trying to put together.”

Bailey gave an example.047

“You bring a coach from the AYFL that brought a talented team over there, but you came back empty handed…what’s the big splash about it?  I’m really trying to figure it out.  If you can be had over there at a weight limit because you ran from the Flo League (because it was unlimited) to go to a league with weight restrictions but you still came back with nothing.  I’m just puzzled about a lot of the things that they do.  But at the end of the day, I respect they decision…I ain’t downing no man, no coach…’but hey, I got my own issues within me and I got a lot to prove to a lot of people.”

The proving ground will be filled with talent and Bailey says he’s ready to go.  Today on Facebook in a statement he released he said “As you can see, I got this Raven thing on, Raven nation,” while donning a Ravens bomber jacket and in true Buddy Bailey fashion, he held up a Scott Lake Vikings jacket and threw it in the trash as an iPhone camera recorded it all.

It should be a very interesting season in South Florida.

This is part I of our interview with Buddy Bailey, look forward to part II later in the week.  It’s a Hotbed World!


About Brandon Odoi

Brandon Odoi is a tenured journalist. He's covered youth football since 8th grade, high school football since 2009 and began covering college football in 2011 as a beat writer for the University of Miami Athletic programs. In 2011, he founded Football Hotbed a national multi-media platform for football across the country. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and spent his first five years as a professional working at ABC Television Network, ending his career as a producer in Miami. He's married with two sons and resides in South Florida.

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