Maui Preparatory Academy announces new boys basketball head coach
NAPILI – Maui Preparatory Academy last week announced the hiring of Zach Bailey Jr as its head boys basketball coach. After a second place finish in the Maui Interscholastic League last year, Coach Bailey will lead the Pueo into their second varsity season as they open the new Bozich Center for Athletics and Performing Arts.
Coach Bailey, a faculty member at Maui Prep, started his basketball career as a standout player for Chaminade Madonna College Preparatory School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There he averaged 28 points, five rebounds and five assists per game as a senior and was named first-team all-county and all-state. He went on to attend and play college NCAA Division 1 basketball at Tennessee Tech University on a full athletic scholarship. At Tech, he was named four-time defensive player of the year and was fifth in school history for free throw percentage.
After college, Coach Bailey went on to teach and coach for Tullahoma High School in Tennessee. After serving as the junior varsity coach his first year, he was hired as the head varsity coach in 2015. As head coach, he doubled the team’s wins in his first few seasons. He served as head coach until 2019 before his family made the decision to move to Maui.
Coach Bailey served as the middle school basketball coach for the 2020 season. He also serves as the school’s head varsity track and field coach.
Athletic Director Keenan Reader said, “After an extensive search for our next head coach, I am ecstatic that we found the best candidate right in our community. Coach Bailey’s reputation as a hustler and scrappy defensive specialist as a player transcends into his coaching style. He is a coach who commands discipline and will instill hard work and commitment in his players both on the court and within our community. Already well-respected in our community and experienced as a head coach, he is ready to pick up where we left off and make a competitive run for the MIL title next season.”
Coach Bailey stated, “I am extremely grateful and excited to be the new head basketball coach of Maui Preparatory Academy. My family and I appreciate the overflow of love and support that the Maui Prep Ohana has shown us, and we are excited about this new journey. I want to thank my amazing wife for her love and encouragement in supporting me in what I love to do. I would like to thank the selection committee for having faith in me to lead the charge and to help grow and develop this group of young student-athletes.
“Along with my assistant coaches, our mission will be to strive for excellence in the classroom, on the basketball court and in the community. We want to create a culture that is driven on a commitment to the team first, hard work, discipline, determination and mental toughness. When people see us play, I want them to be in awe at how passionate we are, how hard we play and how family-oriented our team is. With that being said, I am blessed for this opportunity and I look forward to the process and journey ahead. Go Pueo!”
In addition, Maui Prep announced the hiring of Cheyne De La Garza as an assistant coach. A local boy with a standout career in the MIL, that includes two-time MIL Player of the Year honors in 2001 and 2002, he went on to play in college at Butte College and the University of Hawaii-Hilo.
Coach De La Garza most recently has been the lead coach with Maui Basketball Academy, a nonprofit organization to support youth that he founded.
Reader said, “Coach De La Garza’s commitment to giving back to our island community’s youth through the game of basketball helped him to stand out from numerous applicants from both Maui and the Mainland. He is a proven community mentor who understands the goal at Maui Prep, which is building outstanding citizens.”
Coach De La Garza is currently scheduled to lead the offense at Maui Prep, with Coach Bailey focusing on the defense.
Reader stated, “We are fortunate to have built a competitive program in a short amount of time. Coach Bailey and Coach De La Garza form an elite coaching staff that, along with the opening of our gymnasium, will enable our program to compete at the highest level in the MIL and HHSAA.”