May 20—The Kell girls basketball team has found its new coach in Kandra Bailey.
Bailey comes to the Lady Longhorns after three seasons as the coach at Discovery High School in Lawrenceville, leading the Class AAAAAAA program to a 41-34 record. This past season, she led the Lady Titans to a 14-11 record and the first state playoff appearance in program history.
Bailey replaces former coach Tony Ingle Jr., who led Kell to a 25-4 mark this past season and a spot in the Class AAAAAA state quarterfinals. Ingle stepped down after the season and has since become the new girls coach at Cedar Valley High School in Utah.
Bailey said she is excited to keep the winning reputation set by Ingle going and potentially take the program to the next level — a state championship.
"That's the plan," Bailey said. "Every year, girls basketball continues to evolve and people are getting excited about it. I hope to be able to continue to build the program and add to the success."
Bailey, who has a career mark of 121-58 in seven years as a head coach, was expected to be introduced to the Kell community in a meet-and-greet Thursday, and she said she will transition to her new role full time at the end of the school year.
Prior to her time at Discovery, Bailey spent four successful seasons as the coach at Pearl-Cohn High School in Nashville, Tennessee. She led Pearl-Cohn to an 80-24 record, made the playoffs every season and earned the District and Metro Nashville coach of the year awards, as well as the Nipper-Hancock sportsmanship award.
Prior to Pearl-Cohn, Bailey spent three seasons each as an assistant at Battle Ground Academy and her alma mater, Franklin High School.
Bailey, who will teach physical education and health at Kell, said she was familiar with the Lady Longhorns' program not only because of their playoff runs the last couple years, but also through film the teams had exchanged.
When the job came open, Bailey said she knew the application would need to be in quickly.
"The success that they've had in the past is great," Bailey said. "I loved their style of play."
Bailey said she is excited to have the opportunity to coach players like Kell standouts Crystal Henderson and Amaya Moss, but she is also anxious to face others like Sprayberry's Flau'Jae Johnson and Marietta's Chloe Sterling, among others.
"Gwinnett has a lot of great basketball," she said, "but Cobb is just as great. There is a lot of competition in the area that will make us better."