Noel Bailey 1941-2024

Hall of Famer Noel Bailey passed away on April 9, 2024. He was 82 years old. A native of Aitkin, Minn., Bailey was a long-time coach at Aitkin High School. He was inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Dave Bartelma Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Minnesota Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2011.

Bailey served as the wrestling coach at Aitkin from 1972 to 1996 and returned for two additional seasons in 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. His career coaching record stands at 269-149-1. His 1988 team won the Section 8 title, and his teams secured eleven District titles and three Mid-State Conference titles. Additionally, he coached 29 individual place winners at the state level, including one state champion, Jason Math, in 1985.

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His brown cowboy boots made for inspired wrestling

By Jeff “Bro” Olsen

Aitkin’s Noel Bailey, a Hall of Famer in life and everything important, is grappling against his biggest opponent ever.

Maybe this is Noel’s final farewell tour. After all, he has Stage 4 colorectal cancer, certainly not an optimal diagnosis for an 82-year-old who admits he’s on shaky ground just standing up.

It was this past August when he was first diagnosed. He initially lost more weight than even the best weight cutters in his legendary hometown of wrestlers.

But maybe this isn’t the final farewell tour. He’s tough, has a supportive family, and one helluva of a lot of friends. They even renamed the old Aitkin High School gym that he once wrestled in as the Noel Bailey Gymnasium.

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