Edwardsville's Waldo collects 1,000th career victory

News-DemocratApril 16, 2014 

There wasn't much time for a huge celebration Wednesday after longtime Edwardsville High baseball pitching coach Mike Waldo won his 1,000th game thanks to a 7-3 victory over DeSmet.

Waldo got a ball signed by the 13-2 Tigers, a couple of cakes and some nice gifts from the booster club. Then it was time to start preparing for the next game -- something the 57-year-old Waldo has been doing with amazing success since 1979.

Waldo has been an integral part of teams that won a combined 1,000 games under former Tigers' coaches Bill Funkhouser and Tom Pile and current coach Tim Funkhouser.

Waldo also has more than 600 victories as Edwardsville's boys basketball coach.

The one constant through the recent decades of Edwardsville baseball has been Waldo, molding and shaping pitchers and young men through proven experience and techniques.

"We've had some pretty good baseball players here," said Waldo, who has coached two major-league pitchers in Jason Boyd and Justin Hampson, along with several minor-leaguers and hundreds of college pitchers.

During Waldo's time in the Edwardsville dugout, the Tigers have won 22 regionals, 12 sectionals and made 11 trips to the state tournament. They won state titles in 1990 and 1998 and finished second in 2002.

They also set the state record with a 64-game winning streak from April 18, 1990 to June 4, 1991.

"When you get busy, time goes fast. It just seemed like yesterday I was helping coach the freshman when I was Bill Funkhouser's student teacher back in the spring of 1979."

Former Edwardsville pitcher Tom Price reached Class AAA in the minors and Nathan Culp reached Class AA.

But Waldo's work with them was no different that with pitchers who never threw a single fastball once their high school career was over.

"In any sport, you want to take what a guy's strengths are and try to help him use those to be successful," Waldo said. "There's a lot of ways to pitch, to get guys out. Every guy has different things he does well, and adapting a guy's style to the things he does well is a big part of pitching.

Waldo credits his parents for developing his trademark work ethic, which includes countless hours of on-field and off the field preparation.

Waldo's father, Gayland Waldo, is a Korean War veteran and retired Granite City Steel worker. His mother, Pat Waldo, provided a different, softer side.

"I've learned a lot of good work ethic from my dad and I've learned a lot of good thoughtfulness from my mom," Waldo said. "Working hard and being thoughtful are awfully good traits and I've tried to do that that in coaching."

So what is the secret to Waldo's amazing success?

"We've had a lot of great players and I've been fortunate to work with a lot of excellent coaches," he said. "There's been a lot of guys that have done a lot of great things for us in baseball. I've had lot good fortune to be around a lot of good kids, kids that worked hard, were competitive and appreciative."

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

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