Cancer claims Beetle Bailey

Former LSU baseball assistant coach DeWayne "Beetle" Bailey died in Baton Rouge early Monday morning after a four-month battle with cancer. He was 60 years old.

Funeral arrangements are pending for Bailey, who resided in Denham Springs, La., with his wife, Lydia. He is also survived by his children – Jennifer, Brett and Elizabeth – and several grandchildren.

Bailey, an LSU assistant coach from 1988-95, helped lead the Tigers to national championships in 1991 and 1993 under head coach Skip Bertman. Bailey served as an LSU athletics administrator until his retirement from the university in August, 2001.

"Beetle was a joy to be around, and he was an excellent baseball coach," said Bertman, who is now LSU's athletics director. "He was a wonderful human being, and he touched so many lives in a significant way. I was very happy to have the opportunity to work with a man like Beetle Bailey."

Bailey joined the LSU coaching staff in July, 1987 following seven highly successful years as head coach at Denham Springs High School, where he also served as principal. While at Denham Springs High, he coached all-state pitcher Ben McDonald, who later became a first-team all-America at LSU and was the first player selected in the 1989 Major League Baseball Draft.

Bailey's administrative skills and coaching expertise were extolled by Bertman when he appointed Bailey as the Tigers' hitting instructor and recruiter for the state of Louisiana. Bailey worked as an LSU assistant coach from 1988-92 before serving as the baseball program's administrative assistant in 1993. He resumed his assistant coaching duties in 1994 while also assuming the role of LSU's chief nationwide recruiter.

During Bailey's eight-year tenure on the baseball staff, the Tigers registered a 397-146-1 (.731) mark, including the 1991 and 1993 national championships, five College World Series appearances and four Southeastern Conference titles.

Under Bailey's tutelage, the 1990 Tigers set a school record with a .325 team batting average and collected an SEC-record 807 hits. Bailey later coached two of the greatest hitters in LSU history – current major leaguers Todd Walker and Russ Johnson – as each player earned first-team all-America honors under his supervision.

Bailey posted a 140-34 record in his seven-year tenure at Denham Springs High, and in 1984 his squad was the Louisiana Class 4A runners-up. In addition to being named the Louisiana High School Coach of the year that season, Bailey was a five-time District 7-4A Coach of the Year.

Bailey was the founder of the Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association (LBCA), a 400-member group comprised of professional, collegiate, high school and amateur organization coaches throughout the state. He was inducted into the LBCA Hall of Fame in January, 2003.

Bailey earned his bachelor's degree in 1968 from Southeastern Louisiana University, where he played football and baseball, and he obtained his master's degree from SLU in 1974.

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