East Union's Basil joins 400 club

By Gene Phelp/NEMS Daily Journal

Saturday’s road victory against New Site was more than just a key Division 1-2A win for East Union.
The Urchins’ 2-0 win gave head coach Chris Basil his 400th career coaching victory.
Basil, 43, becomes the 25th member of the state’s 400-win club, according to the 2009 edition of John Smillie’s Mississippi Baseball Record Book.
“I’ve been very fortunate and very lucky to have such good kids and supportive parents,” said Basil, who’s career record stands at 400-191 in 18 seasons, all at the Union County school. “I appreciate all the hard work these kids have done for me. These are the wins they’ve accumulated.”
Mooreville 38-year veteran Rex Berryman was the state’s all-time victories leader with 1,041 wins after the 2009 season. West Lauderdale’s Jerry Boatner is second all-time with 971 and Oak Grove’s Harry Breland, who is retired, is third at 880.

Honor roll
Other Northeast Mississippi coaches in the 400-win club, through the 2009 season, are: Johnny Bolen, Saltillo (622), Jerry Long, Tishomingo County (579), John Smillie, Corinth (549), Larry Harmon (509), Danny Carlisle, Starkville (491), Ben Patterson, Pontotoc (475), Brian Long, Itawamba AHS (453) and Steve Lyles, Kossuth (409). Bolen, Jerry Long, Carlisle and Brian Long are still active.
Basil’s team improved to 10-8 overall and 5-2 in division play with the milestone victory against New Site. He started all eighth and ninth graders in the game.
“We’re extremely young, younger than we’ve ever been,” he said. “We’ve got a bright future. This group has as much talent as we’ve had.”
Basil played baseball at New Albany High, ICC and Ole Miss before entering coaching. His East Union teams have won three North Mississippi championships.
The coach says he’ll step back and evaluate his career after 25 years, but for right now, “I’m as passionate about coaching as I was day one.”

Contact Gene Phelps at 678-1593 or gene.phelps@djournal.com

Click video to hear audio