Edwardsville's Funkhouser is one win away from No. 500

News-DemocratMay 6, 2013 

With the next win by the Edwardsville High School baseball program, veteran Tim Funkhouser will reach 500 victories for his career.

"It just means you've coached a while and you've been around great people -- and you've had great players and great teams and great coaches to be around," said Funkhouser, who has three shots at No. 500 this week with games Tuesday at Collinsville, Wednesday against Chatham Glenwood and Thursday against Granite City.

The Tigers (19-8) have won 13 of their last 15 games and recently had an 11-game win streak ended. They are 7-4 in the Southwestern Conference, two games behind first-place O'Fallon.

"We always talk about a program and the program is more than just the head coach," said Funkhouser, whose career record is 499-153 at Edwardsville and Triad. "It's the players that actually have to get out there and make plays and swing the bats and make the pitches. Its fun to be a part of."

There's no denying the 41-year-old Funkhouser's Edwardsville baseball pedigree.

His father, Bill Funkhouser, still attends nearly every game and was the Tigers' coach from 1974-80. Bill Funkhouser's 1980 team reached the state semifinals.

Tim Funkhouser was a star infielder for Tigers' Hall of Fame coach Tom Pile, who won 508 games and a pair of state championships from 1981 to 1998.

Funkhouser went on to become a starter at Western Illinois University.

"He wasn't a very big player but he obviously was one of the best infielders I had or he wouldn't have played," said Pile, who used Funkhouser and fellow sophomores Mark Little and Tom Price as starters on the 1988 team that reached the state tourney.

The trio later helped Edwardsville win the 1990 state title.

"(Funkhouser) got big hits as a senior," Pile said. "It seemed like the better the pitching, the better he'd hit it."

Pile is proud of what Funkhouser has accomplished.

"It's in his blood," Pile said. "He's done a hell of a job and he was a hell of a player. I think he would have been good anywhere. He was tough and he got it fair and square from his dad, because his dad was very tough."

Since being hired at Edwardsville in 1999, Funkhouser's teams have finished second in the state in 2002, made five state tournament trips, won 10 regionals and four Southwestern Conference titles.

Before coming to Edwardsville, Funkhouser established himself as a strong head coach at Triad by leading the Knights to a 55-32 record.

"This is my 18th year, but I feel like I'm still a young guy on the block," Funkhouser said. "That's just the way I've grown up because I had an opportunity to practice with the varsity as a freshman and when I was in college it was the same thing.

"I was always kind of a young guy. I tried to grasp as much as I could from every veteran coach I was around and there were some great guys that really helped me out."

Edwardsville shortstop Jordan Heckler is just one of many players who have benefited from the coaching of Funkhouser and his staff over the years.

"He's always a hard worker, even on days that maybe we're kind of down or some guys are not feeling like being there with a long week," Heckler said. "He's always coming out to the field with pep in his step and a smile on his face, getting everybody going."

"He really cares and tries to help everybody and knows what he's talking about. That turns into wins."

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, nsanders@bnd.com or on Twitter @NormSanders

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