A Military Man

Former Mississippi State football player Tim Bailey is in graduate school in Sports Administration at Mississippi State this year, but it appears his true calling is the military.

"I'm in grad school in Sports Administration, and I just put in my package to become an officer," said Tim, who is a member of the National Guard. "It's a two-year process but I'm going to accelerate it so that by this time next year I should have a gold bar on my chest. I get started in September."

With his football career having come to a close this past season, Tim will now put his efforts into something even more important to him, being a member of the National Guard.

"Like I've always said, even if I was still playing football I was still going to be in the military," said Tim. "I didn't make (pro football) this year but life goes on and I'm going to make (the military) a career."

And the National Guard is already doing their part to jumpstart his military career.

"A lot of people know that I played football here because my name really got out last year, and the military is trying to get me into everything that they can in as positive and productive way to help society," said Tim, who received national attention while at Mississippi State after serving an 18-month active duty assignment in Iraq during the years 2004 and 2005.

The National Guard had him talk with kids in different areas of the country during the summer as a way to promote the benefits of being in the Guard.

"This summer I've been to three places, including Washington, D.C., doing a lot of advertising about the National Guard," said Tim. "I'm showing kids the proper way to work out, how to eat healthy, things like that.

"I also went to Minnesota and Arizona for a high school player development camp. I did a little commercial with (NFL football players) Adrian Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald. And I was also the guest speaker in Minnesota and talked to the kids. It was kind of touching. I was being honest and sincere with them."

What the National Guard has him doing is something that fits right into what Tim enjoys - helping other people.

"I think helping people is something that was always in me," said Tim. "I was always around groups of people and there was always that fellowship. We were always trying to help each other. It's like on a football team, you are always trying to get better."

Speaking of football, he's already missing it despite being away from it for less than a year.

"I just miss sweating it out with the guys, just going through the hard times with the guys," said Tim. "When you look back on it, it was all worth it because once you go through adversity together it brings you closer."

And he uses a certain part of the military, a part that he didn't like, as an example of that closeness.

"Sometimes I think back to when I was in basic training - I hated it," said Tim. "But as soon as I graduated I thought about how I was going to miss the guys I was with. And it's the same thing on the football field, you miss the brotherhood."

While he'll miss that camaraderie, he'll always have his memories. And one memory that will remain in his mind for years to come is his last time to step on Scott Field in his Mississippi State uniform.

"The one moment I remember was when Arkansas missed the field goal in my last home game of the season," said Tim. "I remember that I stayed on the field for a while and I got kind of emotional because I knew that was my last home game and it was also Veteran's Day.

"That meant a lot to me because the university has done a lot for me."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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