BYU-Hawaii’s Beloved D-Bob
His name is David Bob Bailey, but everybody at BYU-Hawaii just knows him as “D-Bob.”
Earlier in December, sports fans around the country were introduced to D-Bob on ESPN’s SportsCenter. Showing highlights of DBob’s three-point shot from a ceremony after his final game as team manager, ESPN sportscasters got all excited showing the video of his perfect swish.
“How about this? D-Bob Bailey, the dedicated and inspiring manager of the BYU-Hawaii basketball, volleyball and softball teams. To honor him, they let him take the final shot,” the sportscaster reported excitedly while showing video of the young man with Down syndrome wearing a Seasider jersey emblazoned with the name “D-Bob” on his back. “And he made it! The crowd went crazy, and the players carried him off the court. Love that!”
“He did the same thing on Senior Night last year, banking in a three-point shot. And this is actually the second time he’s made TV highlights,” says Ken Wagner, BYU-Hawaii men’s basketball coach and athletic director.
“He was the manager of his high school team (in Utah) and they let him play in the final game against their big-rival, and wouldn’t you know it, he hit a three-pointer there, too! His dad was an outstanding basketball player at BYU (Provo), and so D-Bob has been around basketball all his life.”
Wagner says he’s been getting emails, phone calls and tweets from all over the country ever since the D-Bob video highlight was shown this past week.
“On social media, we’ve had a lot of great comments,” he says.
D-Bob came to Laie around Christmastime a year ago. His parents (Dave and Eddi) were missionaries for the LDS Church.
“His dad called me and told me he just loves sports and wondered if he could help with our team,” Wagner recalls.
“Pretty soon, he was helping our softball team, and our women’s volleyball and women’s basketball teams, too. He not only came to games, but virtually all the practices. He’s always so positive.”
Wagner says D-Bob also is a very hard worker and incredibly dedicated.
“I’ve come here early
Saturday mornings after a long week and he’s out there raking leaves on campus at 7 a.m.,” he says. “The players just fell in love with him. They took him on their group outings when they could, like to movies or to get a bite to eat. He’s taught everyone about patience and about being positive.”
“I don’t think he took off that jersey once we gave it to him,” tweeted BYU-Hawaii guard Pablo Coro. “How sweet is that! D-Bob’s on SportsCenter!”
“He’s so passionate and supports all the teams, not just us. He even cheered on other teams who were playing here in a tournament,” Wagner says. “He believes good things will always happen. Even if we’re down by 10 with five seconds to go, he’ll be yelling ‘You can do it. You can win!'”
D-Bob and his parents finalized their one-year mission this past week and headed back to the Mainland. Wagner took D-Bob out to lunch on his final day, his heart filled with memories of the young man who made such a difference on campus this past year.
“He was so passionate all the time. He’d ask me if he could talk to the team, and he would yell at them: ‘You need to work hard! You need to listen to Coach!’ But he would always end up with, ‘I love you so much.'”
The coaches, players and students at BYU-Hawaii love you, too, D-Bob. And now, thanks to SportsCenter, so does the rest of the nation.