Julian ‘Tanga’ Bailey served netball as a coach of the St Vincent and the Grenadines senior national team, and travelled with them overseas, even in the days when men were not allowed to be an official on the bench during matches.
But that did not deter him from making his contribution.
This was revealed by Natasha Baptiste, President of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association (SVGNA), as she delivered a tribute on behalf of the organization on August 11 at Bailey’s funeral service at the Faith Temple Church at New Montrose.
He also coached the Mitres Netball Club and was an umpire at matches.
Bailey’s love for netball and “his love for the athletes in his care was so much that even when he got married, the ladies from Mitres were not to be left out,” Baptiste told the funeral gathering.
According to the netball association president, Bailey throughout his netball life nurtured players including former SVGNA president Dellarice Duncan, Clotel Young, Penola ‘Tanny’ Ross.
They would reminisce from time to time of great funny, yet serious moments shared with Bailey as their coach and mentor, “who we in the netball world grew to love so dearly.”
The SVGNA president said despite his fun loving and pleasant personality, when it came time for training,players would have to put the joking aside and get down to business.
“He was never afraid to say it like it is. I remember one session when he said to a player, ‘The only thing you can do is carry the water’, so the rest of us made sure we got in line quick, cause we didn’t want to be water girls,” Baptiste said.
“When Mr Bailey became more dedicated to living for God, though we knew his love for netball was still there, his service to God took priority and that he did with passion and pride,” Baptiste added.
Following the remarks of SVGNA president Natasha Bailey, a group of netball players and officials paid further tribute to Bailey in song.
Bailey was employed at the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) for over two decades and former West Indies Test wicket-keeper and current sportscaster Michael Findlay paid tribute to him on behalf of the Corporation.
He said Bailey followed sports keenly and at any time could provide the latest netball and football news from anywhere in the world.
Findlay said Bailey and former national player Skiddy Francis-Crick were the brains behind the NBC’s netball team and it was their coaching and moulding the team into championship material that enabled them to win the Firms netball title on several occasions.
Findlay told the congregation: “’Tanga’ was very outspoken, and was not afraid to openly express his views on matters that he did not think were being handled well.
“Long before the word “activist” became popular in this country, ‘Tanga’ Bailey was a practising activist for many causes.”
Findlay said Bailey believed in discipline and was a strong disciplinarian.
He particularly admired the discipline of the SVG Cadet Corps and on Saturday afternoons, watched with admiration as the Cadets went through their practice drills at the St Vincent Grammar School close to the NBC facility.
Julian Bailey had two nicknames, ‘Tanga’ and ‘Yard-Ah- Mouth’.
Findlay explained “‘Tanga’ was acquired because of his solid defensive form of play as the right back for Roseans Football Club. Those who came up against him in the National Football Championship compared his great defence work to that of the fierce tribe in the Tanga Region of Tanzania.
“As for ‘Yard ah Mouth’, well, he had a big mouth in every respect.”
Bailey served as a security guard at what was then, Radio St Vincent and the Grenadines – 705 from 1982 He was with the radio station when, in 1986, it transitioned to the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), and he continued to provide excellent security service to the Corporation until he resigned in 2003.
“In all, he served the station for 21 years. “Tanga” was almost like a fixture at NBC. He was very thorough in performing his duties. His overall deportment was admirable, and he was very astute. A broad smile was always on his face like a tattoo, and he seemed to relish every opportunity to break out into loud laughter,” added Findlay.
“The whistle has been blown to culminate his final match in life, marking the end of a humble life spent on earth in service to his fellow men, and in praise to his savior, Jesus Christ.
“During his lifetime, he made an excellent contribution to the lives of many of his fellowmen. With his broad trademark smile on his face, he has now ‘retired’ to higher service,” Findlay concluded.