MARYLAND HEIGHTS – Both the most recent former coach of the storied Edwardsville High School baseball team and its current coach shared one of its highest honors on Thursday night.
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Current Tiger coach Tim Funkhouser and the coach he succeeded, Tom Pile, were both inducted into the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame in a banquet and ceremonies held at the Sheraton Chalet Hotel Westport in Maryland Heights, Mo., a northwest suburb of St. Louis.
The two were inducted along with Granite City native Kirk Champion, a longtime pitching coach for many college and pro teams and is currently the Director of Instruction for Player Development in the Chicago White Sox organization.
The fact that Funkhouser was inducted along with Pile, who coached the Tigers from 1981-1998, meant a great deal to him.
“Yeah, it does,” Funkhouser said in an interview Thursday afternoon. “I had the honor of playing for coach Pile, and he deserves the honor. He did a lot of so many things to help our baseball program, to establishing the program on a national level, to all the work of getting the complex going and building the field.”
The Edwardsville District 7 Sports Complex, located across the street from the high school itself, and its baseball field named for Pile, is very much an important part of the legacy the Tiger baseball program’s established, and Funkhouser himself is very grateful for all of the people that he’s played and coached with, starting back to 1980 itself, when his father, Bill, was the Edwardsville coach.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have the guys I’ve coached with,” Funkhouser said, “starting with my dad in 1980, and going through 2018 with Mike Waldo as an assistant coach.”
Waldo, the longtime Tigers basketball coach, was also a pitching coach with the baseball program for many years, and is also a key part of the program’s success.
“He’s made his mark on the program,” Funkhouser said, “and I feel very fortunate to coach with him.”
Funkhouser enjoyed success as a player himself, playing shortstop for the very first Edwardsville team to win a state championship in 1990, then taking the reins as head coach in 1999. Currently, his son Evan, a sophomore, plays for the Tigers.
“It’s really been fun to have him as part of the team,” Funkhouser said about Evan. “He usually plays JV, but it’s been fun watching him develop, and it’s fun to work with all of the players.”
The program enjoys widespread support from the entire Edwardsville area, and it’s also a big reason for its success.
“We’re in a great setting,” Funkhouser said. “We have great support from our community, from our administration, from our booster club, and from all of the coaches who put in the extra time to make the program what it is. And we’ve had great players who work hard to improve, who respect the game and uphold our traditions and standards of the program.”
Those traditions include the annual game at Busch Stadium, among others, but most importantly, it’s a program that sees its players develop their skills and continues to put the program up among the nation’s elite.
“We’re just in a great setting, and every team is different, of course,” Funkhouser said. “But it’s always fun to see the kids play, the annual games at Busch, and the continuing upgrades to the facilities. I feel like my name says the head coach, but there’s much more that goes on behind the scenes, and everyone pitches in to help our program improve on an annual basis, and to help our players grow as young men and develop their skills.”