A basketball coach gives instructions to a huddle of players
Kaci Bailey has been named Drury University’s new women’s basketball coach. She takes over at Drury after leading Quincy University the previous two seasons. (Photo: Quincy University)

Drury University has named Kaci Bailey as its new women’s basketball head coach. Bailey has been head coach at Quincy University, a Great Lakes Valley Conference rival of Drury, for the last two seasons.

Bailey replaces Amy Eagan, who compiled an 87-9 record in her three seasons as head coach of the Lady Panthers. Eagan left last week to take the head-coaching job at NCAA Division I Lindenwood University.

“I was looking for the right fit at this moment to sustain our success, both on and off the court,” Drury Athletics Director Nyla Milleson said in a news conference at O’Reilly Family Events Center. “Kaci Bailey is a proven winner both on the court, but more importantly, is a proven winner in life.

“She is a tremendous human being that is genuine and real. There is no one that has more passion and fire for what she believes in.”

Bailey has history with Milleson

Bailey, the sixth head coach in Lady Panthers’ history, was an assistant coach for Milleson — Drury’s first women’s basketball coach when the program came to be in 2000 — at George Mason from 2017-20 before taking over the Quincy job.  

Bailey said at the news conference that the Lady Panthers will play an exciting, aggressive style. She stressed that the program will “excel on the court, in the classroom and in the community.”

“Drury is a brand, the most successful Division II program in the country,” Bailey added.

Prior to working with Milleson at George Mason, Bailey was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Wichita State and Central Arkansas. She also served in the same role at Henderson State University, where she had the additional role of interim head women’s basketball coach for six months.

After stellar prep career, Bailey played at SIU

A native of Dresden, Tenn., Bailey played four seasons at Southern Illinois.  During her time at SIU, she played in 101 games and started 24. She helped the Salukis win a Missouri Valley Conference championship in 2007 and reach the WNIT.

During her prep career at Dresden, she scored 1,482 points (third most in school history) and broke school records in 3-pointers made (257) and free throw percentage (84.5). She was a first-team all-state, all-region and all-district selection during her senior season, averaging 15 points per game.

Bailey is a 2009 graduate of Southern Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in recreation with a double minor of business marketing and psychology. In 2011, she received her master’s degree in sports management from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.

Bailey inherits successful program

Eagan led the Lady Panthers to a 31-2 record in the recently-concluded season, including a third straight Great Lakes Valley Conference regular-season and tournament championship. Drury, ranked second nationally the last month of the regular season, lost to No. 5 Grand Valley State in the Midwest Region.

Drury has won seven straight GLVC titles in the run that began under Molly Miller. Eagan was named the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in 2021 and was the GLVC Coach of the Year in 2023.

Eagan became the third Drury coach to leave the program to step up to the Division I level, following Miller (Grand Canyon) and Milleson (Missouri State). 

Milleson returned to Drury as the AD a year ago. She said interest in the coaching position, after Eagan’s move, came from coaches “at all levels and all across the country.”

Lyndal Scranton

Lyndal Scranton is a Springfield native who has covered sports in the Ozarks for more than 35 years, witnessing nearly every big sports moment in the region during the last 50 years. The Springfield Area Sports Hall of Famer and live-fire cooking enthusiast also serves as PR Director for Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri and is co-host of the Tailgate Guys BBQ Podcast. Contact him at Lscranton755@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @LyndalScranton. More by Lyndal Scranton