A legend and mentor to Union County sports added another accolade to his resume, as East Union’s Chris Basil picked up his 400th career coaching victory last Saturday at New Site.
“Anytime someone reaches that level in sports, it shows the dedication that person has to the school and the community,” East Union principal Tim Carter said. “He has coached numerous kids over the years that have moved on to the collegiate level, and it’s because of him. He pushes the kids with his own unique style of coaching, and he’s one of the purest hitting coaches I’ve ever seen.”
Basil has been at the helm of the East Union program for 18 seasons, boasting a 400-191 record while sending over 20 former players to play collegiate ball and one to the major leagues.
“I’ve been very fortunate, and I’ve had some really good kids who have been successful and worked hard,” Basil said. “That’s just it. I’ve been fortunate to be a coach that has talent.”
Having watched some of the county’s best talent develop in front of his own eyes is what continues drives the longtime coach.
“It’s about getting to know the kids and making a boy a man; learning that not everything is going to go your way and dealing with the obstacles in your life,” Basil said. “As a coach being a part of those times, as young men struggling with bad situations but yet learning what to do to get through those situations, that’s why I didn’t want to be an administrator. I want to be in the classroom to connect with kids and know their problems and try to help them. That’s why I coach.”
Basil has not only coached baseball for the Urchins, but also served as a softball coach as well as coaching junior high basketball. His passion for the profession comes from a former high school coach at New Albany.
“My passion is basketball, and that’s what I truly love to coach,” Basil said. “I guess that came from Coach (Harvey) Childrers. I played under him on the state championship team in 1985, but I can’t do it. It takes so much of me to coach basketball, but I love it all. I love being around the kids.”
Loving any and all sports has also led Basil to helping with the Union County football program this past season as well as heading the Tallahatchie Rascals in the BNA Bank Cotton States League. With a resume like this, it is no surprise bigger opportunities have come his way, but there is only one place Basil can see himself.
“The brown and gold got to me after a couple years. I had a few chances to leave, but it got in my blood and I honestly don’t want to coach anywhere but here, and I never have,” he said.
And the East Union community shares the same devotion to their coach, not only for what he has done on the field but also to the children he teaches everyday.
“He does a tremendous job with the everyday child; it’s not just about baseball with him,” Carter said. “He’s making sure they’re doing alright with school and at home, and when they go to college, he keeps up with them. Coaching is a tough environment, and he does it in the truest sense, touching the lives of the kids as a whole.”
“They’ve been everything to me,” Basil added. “It’s like one big family and like any family, different sections have conflicts, but all in all, these parents want their kids to be successful and they’re willing to just let me work with their children. That’s what’s great about it.”
What Union County is saying about Basil:
“His passion for the game and the way he teaches discipline and the fundamentals is big. My first year coaching in 1998, I remember him shaking my hand after one of the big butt whoopings he gave us, and he told me I was doing an excellent job and that the team looked good and were doing well with the fundamentals. To have that kind of complement from him meant a great deal, and it added fuel to make my team that much better and put my team on the map the way he’s done with East Union.”- Robert Gordon, Myrtle
“I admire the things he’s done and the opportunities he’s given guys like me to coach baseball in this county. Everyone looks at wins, and it is an awesome accomplishment for him, but what I appreciate the most is his willingness to help young guys like me start in this profession”- Ashley Russell, West Union
“He’s been successful for a long time and it’s because he knows how to make a team successful. He may not always have the most talented team, but he does the very best with the team he’s dealt. He’s had some very successful players throughout the years, but even in the down years, he’s always fielding a really good team.”- John Walker, New Albany
“When I was a player at Ripley, we played against them every year and I listened to him coach and learned from him. When I first started coaching, I would call him and ask who I should pitch or which kid to pitch around, and he’s always helped me, willing to give me advice.”- Andy Wilbanks, Ingomar