MARION (WSIL) — The Marion Wildcats basketball program has some rich history. Helping contribute to that, is boy’s basketball Head Coach Gus Gillespie. Gillespie secured his 450th career win on Friday against Carterville.
Athletic Director Ryan Goodisky recognizes Gillespie’s incredible feat.
"It’s an amazing accomplishment and milestone," said Goodisky. "If you think about it, he’s been a head coach for roughly 21 years. If you do the simple math you think that’s probably 21 or 22 wins a season and that’s a pretty impressive resume for sure."
Along with Coach’s accomplishment, the program as a whole is celebrating another landmark.
"1500 wins," said Goodisky. "When you think about over 100 years of Wildcat basketball at Marion high school, you think about all the former greats and Wildcat players and coaches and school administrators. There are so many people that played a role in 1500 wins."
Coach Gillespie has an impressive amount of wins on his resume, but he says it’s the every day interactions that keep him doing what he loves.
"I love practice," said Gillespie. "Everyday you come in and go to work it’s a privilege and an honor."
Gillespie is receiving high praise from the community, but he says it’s just all about the coaching.
"You gotta laugh with them and they have to know that you’ve got their best interests," said Gillespie. "You gotta show kids you care about them and that you like them. I think once you do that, then you can coach them and coach them hard which is what we do here at Marion."
Coach also doesn’t focus too much on the past. He’s all about continuing to move forward.
"I’ve had a lot of good assistance along the way and hopefully there are some wins still ahead of me," said Gillespie.
"We’re excited," said Goodisky. " We know what we’ve got here in Coach Gillespie. Our players have bought in. It takes a lot of hard work to build a program and change the culture and we feel like Coach Gillespie gives us a chance to win every single night."
The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association will be at Marion Friday night along with legendary Former Teutopolis High School boys’ basketball coach Ken Crawford to recognize Marion boys 1,500 wins.