BLOOMINGTON - A milestone was reached in Edwardsville's dramatic 3-2 win over Minooka in the final of the IHSA Class 4A Illinois Wesleyan University Sectional Saturday at Horenberger Field in Bloomington.
Tigers' head coach Tim Funkhouser won his 800th career game in his 28th season coaching, starting out in 1996 at Triad before taking over Edwardsville after Tom Pile's retirement in 1999. It was also Edwardsville's 30th win of the season, the fourth consecutive non-COVID season the Tigers have reached that circle. The last time Edwardsville didn't get 30 wins was in 2018 when the Tigers went 26-10
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"It means that I've been around many good people," Funkhouser said during a postgame interview. "The coaches, the administration, and we don't sit there and count wins, but I always say that winning is a lot more fun than losing," he said with a laugh. "But I'm just so proud of our guys to be on this stage today. Obviously, we had a different lineup with different guys hurt and the guys practice hard all day. Like I told them the other day that you do all that for a reason and now you're in that situation, you should feel good about yourself."
Funkhouser started his head coaching career in 1996 at Triad, going 55-32 in his three years with the Knights, winning two Mississippi Valley Conference championships. He took over the Edwardsville program in 1999, where his father, Bill, coached from 1973-1980, and has led the Tigers to two state championships in Class 4A, in 2019 and 2022. The tradition of Edwardsville baseball had long been established before Tim Funkhouser became head coach and he's very glad to help keep that tradition alive.
"The tradition's been long before me," Funkhouser said, "and with my dad before that. I remember my dad's years a bit more towards the end. And then, from the standpoint of Coach Pile and Coach (Mike) Waldo's been around for so many great years. It's a community sense that continues to impact and the boys love being a part of that. And to make this tough environment, we try to create that. Sometimes, I'm a little bit harder on the guys and I need to show a little more love, but they deserve everything they've got."
Funkhouser's 700th career win was his first state championship, a 3-2 extra-inning win over St. Charles North, and winning his 800th game with a sectional plaque was a great feeling, indeed.
"I don't think about me within in it," Funkhouser said, "there are so many impactful people. I'm so fortunate to have them. The coaching staff we have, we talk about different things that impact our club. Our trainers are over there and they impact our club on a daily basis, too. But to be in this setting and to have a celebration for a big game and a win, 3-2. What did they have? first and second? At one point, they had second and third and maybe third and third there at the end and we were able to execute and get out of that. So that was a wild event."
Funkhouser sees himself continuing to coach for as long as possible and always takes things day by day.
"I look forward to each day," Funkhouser said with a smile, "so I don't see any end of the coaching experience soon. I'll continue to evaluate as we go. But I enjoy it, I'm very fortunate to have Triad hire me back then. Mike Scroggins gave me an opportunity at Triad High School. I think the world of him and the people at Triad. Dr. Hyten, gave me that opportunity as the superintendent, so I'm appreciative of what they did for me."
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