The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


January 19, 2014

Lamar's Bailey brothers split up for college

The twin brothers are going their separate ways.

Lamar Tigers all-state offensive lineman Ben Bailey has verbally committed to play football and compete in track and field for the Southern Illinois Salukis. His twin brother, Sam Bailey, had already committed to play for the Missouri Tigers.

“It will be different, but I think we’re both kind of ready for it,” Ben Bailey said of going to a different college than Sam. “It will be good to see what it’s like to be away from each other because we really haven’t been away from each other that much.”

Ben Bailey will be joining an NCAA Division I FCS program that finished 7-5 in 2013. SIU head coach Dale Lennon has directed the Salukis to a 42-25 record since taking over six years ago for current Minnesota coach Jerry Kill, who previously coached at Pittsburg State and Webb City High School.

“I like their campus,” Ben Bailey said. “I think I fit in well with their players and coaches. They have a very good football program, and I’ll be able to throw the discus and shot put for their track program. And they have a good engineering program, which is what I’m going to study. It’s a really good fit for me.”

Ben Bailey (6-6, 240) has been a standout offensive and defensive lineman for Lamar. He also won a state title in the discus in 2012 and finished second in 2013.

Sam Bailey (6-5, 255) was a blocking tight end and defensive end at Lamar, but he is expected to play on the offensive line for Missouri. He also received multiple all-state honors. He won the state title in the discus in 2013 and finished second to Ben in 2012.

Both brothers helped the Lamar football team, which is coached by their uncle Scott Bailey, win three consecutive Class 2 state championships. Ben and Sam also contributed to a team state championship in track and field this past spring. Both brothers compete in basketball.

But the duo soon will be competing in different states.

Of course, their mother Noelle Bailey would have loved to see her sons play together. Still, she said she is extremely proud of both of them.

“I’m glad it’s done,” Noelle Bailey said. “I’m sad it’s not what I want, but they made some good decisions, and it’s going to be great. The reality is what it is. Ben likes SIU. He likes the coaches there. He’s going to be able to throw the discus there. He felt like they really wanted him.”

And Ben and Sam both accomplished their ultimate goal, which was to get their college paid for in order to ease the financial burden on their mother. Noelle is a single mother who has often worked multiple jobs to provide for her sons.

Receiving this gift understandably makes Noelle emotional.

“I could never describe how proud I am of them for what they have accomplished,” she said.

Ben and Sam Bailey are expected to make their college choices official on Feb. 5, which is national college football signing day. Joining them will be Lamar senior quarterback Levi Petersen, who announced earlier this week his intentions to play football at Pittsburg State. Several other members of the three-time state champion Tigers also are expected to sign with college football teams.

“I think it’s awesome,” Ben Bailey said. “It really shows how dedicated we’ve been in high school and all of the work we’ve put in to get so many guys to that level and play in college. It’s just something you don’t see at every high school.”

Text Only
High School Sports
Missouri Southern Sports
Pittsburg State Sports