Hall of Fame wrestling coach Pete Basile runs Seashore 5-Miler

Cape’s Big Four state champs will not swim in college
July 21, 2017

Basile Day - Pate Basile of Ocean View is the former Caesar Rodney wrestling coach who was at the helm when the Riders won their first of 13 state championships in 1975 - I’m guessing Pete won five. He later moved on to be the head wrestling coach at Delaware State and Salisbury State. Coach Basile is an image in my long-term memory bank, so when he crossed the finish line at the July 16 Seashore 5-Miler, I moved him into the short-term memory file and later retrieved him and congratulated myself, “Yep, that was and still is coach Pete Basile.” Pete ran 48:16 to win his 70-74 age group. The Delaware Wrestling Alliance inducted him into its hall of fame in 2008.

Big Four stroking toward the future - It’s unlikely Cape swimming will ever again have a quartet in the same class as Amelia Nigh-Johnson, Molly Weeks, Sarah Hyde and Sarah Rambo, who all graduated in 2017. The four are all versatile, tall, smart and interactive - talk to them, they look at you, smile and talk back. I ran into Amelia on my way out of RISE - ironically, I’m on the decline - and enjoyed a brief visit. Amelia and teammate Sarah Hyde are heading to the University of Delaware to pursue the nursing program, and neither plans to swim. Molly Weeks is on her way to South Carolina, while Sarah Rambo is off to the University of Virginia. Molly and Sarah aren’t swimming either, unless they fall into the pool. The girls won the 200 medley relay and 200 free relay at the 2017 state meet. In 2016, they won the 200 free relay and were second in the medley relay. They never finished off the podium in any relay all four years, and they posted a dual-meet record of 52-1. The quartet were recognized as Cape’s 2017 female Athletes of the Year. They swam for the last 10 years, 12 months a year, and like wet ball-chasing retrievers, they are shaking it off and moving on. Stand back! 

Going Tex Flannery - A legendary football coach at LaSalle High in Philly and later owner of a Center City bar at 22nd and Cherry Street, everybody sportside knew and loved Tex. Flannery passed away in 2007 at the age of 85. I last saw him watching a Temple spring practice in 1999, when I took Tommy Sheehan for a visit. I sat next to him in some bleachers, just us two, and I introduced myself. He knew all about me and when he said “Tex Flannery” I knew all about him. He won the Catholic League in 1957, ’58 and ’60. But that Friday afternoon at 10th and Diamond, we were were just a couple of old sports guys watching a football practice. When Tex retired, so the story goes, he tossed his keys onto a desk and said, “All roads bend and all roads end.” I was watching field hockey open fields July 18 and I told my wife Susan, “I’m going Tex Flannery. I’ll be back later.” She knows that means just hanging about, watching athletes and coaches, and telling a story or two. Tex, who barely knew me but knew all about me, would be honored I carry on his legacy.  

Snippets - I saw my buddy coach Robin Adair coaching up some athletes at the Mid-Atlantic Field Hockey Camp earlier this week. Robin is entering her 24th year as Tower Hill’s head coach and 28th year as a teacher/coach for the Hillers. Tower Hill Athletic Director Jack Holloway has retired as the Hillers’ athletic director following a long stint as wrestling coach and athletic director at William Penn. Genetics are real in sports and singing, just listen to Merle Haggard’s three sons or watch anyone named Maull who has Old Joe Maull at the top of their family tree, play football. A Maull at defensive back was a fearless animal; since 1975 with Gilbert, I got used to seeing a large tight end or fullback on the ground with a Maull standing over him shaking his head. “No, I told you not to come in here.” I remember Gilbert dropping tight end Spank Neal of Woodbridge on a crossing pattern - Neal was the prototype-like NFL size - I said to Gilbert, “How are you even alive?” He’d answer, “You gotta go low, coach.” Last year, I saw a dad at a hockey game with a boxy-headed, pointy-eared pit bull on a leash. I joked, “I guess you didn’t get the Twitter blast that the retriever is the official dog of field hockey, and bring your own ball.” Here is Brody Dog, 10 weeks old, belongs to Debbie and Bill Windett who ascribe to the philosophy, “When life gets a little crowded and crazy, go get a puppy.” Brodie attacked his water bowl - the boy is whack - although he looks like a Field and Stream poster puppy in this photo only because he’s worn out. Go on now, git!