Former Bellbrook head coach back for 2nd season as assistant for Eagles

Kevin Basinger, who served as Bellbrook's head coach for 19 years, is back as an assistant coach for the second straight season for the Eagles. Nick Falzerano/CONTRIBUTED
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Kevin Basinger, who served as Bellbrook's head coach for 19 years, is back as an assistant coach for the second straight season for the Eagles. Nick Falzerano/CONTRIBUTED

For 19 years Kevin Basinger was the guy people pointed fingers at. No more.

“It’s really nice to be the guy that can point the finger at Jeff (Jenkins) and say ‘That’s the head coach,’” Basinger joked. “I’ve really enjoyed not dealing with all those extra things you have to deal with when you’re the head coach.”

From 1997-2015 Basinger was the head football coach at Bellbrook High School. He resigned with a school record 119 wins and six playoff appearances. Following a four-year hiatus, Basinger is back for his second season instructing Bellbrook’s quarterbacks under Jenkins, the Eagles current head coach.

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Jenkins, a Bellbrook grad, played for Basinger and was a part of his 1999 squad that was the second in school history to finish 10-0.

Jenkins took over for Basinger as coach in 2016.

The Eagles host Tippecanoe in the season opener at 7 p.m. Friday.

“I knew he was enjoying the retired life, so I gave him his first couple years off and didn’t really say much to him,” Jenkins said. “After a few years, the thought crossed my mind that he’d bring a lot to our staff and the offense. I thought (coaching the QBs) would be a role that he would enjoy and flourish in. It’s been a great partnership.”

Basinger compiled a 151-87 career record over 23 years, including four at Greeneview where he had a 10-0 team in 1996.

“The first year I got out of it, I had the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders,” Basinger said. “When you’re the head coach, it’s 365 all the time. It’s tough.”

Jenkins facilitated the return.

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“Even up until the first practice last year, I was kind of unsure about how I’d fit in and how it would work,” Basinger said. “The kids and coaches all did a great job of making me feel welcome. It’s been really cool to get to go back again.”

Most of Bellbrook’s assistants worked for Basinger prior.

Bellbrook football coach Jeff Jenkins. Nick Falzerano/CONTRIBUTED
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Bellbrook football coach Jeff Jenkins. Nick Falzerano/CONTRIBUTED

Defensive coach Jim Benetis has been with the program since 1993. Offensive line coach Gary Barhorst migrated from Greeneview with Basinger in 1997. Defensive assistant Mark Rogal has 30-plus years experience. Nick Combs returned this year after a stint at Centerville. First-year defensive coordinator Brian Woll coached previously at Stebbins, Carlisle and at the college level.

“This is definitely one of the best staffs I’ve been a part of,” Jenkins said. “There’s a lot of experience and very little ego. Collectively we mesh well together. We all have the same high expectations.”

“All these guys know how to deal with kids really well,” Basinger said. “The kids respect them and it’s mutual. That’s a huge thing with our staff.”

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Bellbrook has capped undefeated regular seasons two of the last three years by finishing No 2 in the final AP Division III poll (2018 and 2020). The Eagles are 2-2 in the playoffs during the run.

Greene County Combo: A pair of former Chaminade Julienne assistants and first-year head coaches make their debuts Friday when Xenia hosts Beavercreek and Fairborn entertains Tecumseh. Maurice Harden has taken over at Xenia after spending the last five years as CJ’s offensive coordinator. Harden replaces Trace Smitherman, who went 21-20 and led Xenia to a pair of conference titles and the first two playoff appearances in school history. Smitherman resigned in December 2020. Cory Hardin is in his first year at Fairborn after serving as CJ’s director of student services. The Skyhawks went 6-1 last season under coach Randy Kerns to post their first winning season since 2011. Kerns – a National Trail grad – left to coach eight-time state finalist Mountain Crest High School in Utah.

Backyard Brawl: After seeing a rivalry that dates back pre-1900 end in 2016, Miamisburg and West Carrollton will meet for the second straight season and back-to-back. The Vikings beat the Pirates 44-21 in last year’s season finale. Burg hosts West Carrollton Friday in the opener. Since West Carrollton won 21-19 in 2009, Burg has gone 8-0 and outscored its rival 336-63.

All-Great Lakes: A trio of area seniors – Alter’s CJ Hicks (linebacker), Wayne’s Aamil Wagner (offensive tackle) and Springfield’s Te’Sean Smoot (quarterback) – were named to the 2021 MaxPreps Preseason All-Great Lakes Region Football Team. Hicks and Wagner were first team selections, while Smoot was third team. The team is made up of players from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

PATs: Northmont and Butler are meeting Friday for just the fourth time since 2007. The Thunderbolts swept a three-game series played 2016-2018…Troy and CJ are renewing a Week 1 rivalry Friday that was played every year from 2008-2015. During that span the teams split 4-4.

Ticket Sales: Headed to a game? Make sure you know the ticketing process before you arrive. While some schools are going strictly electronic for admission tickets, others are allowing only cash purchases. When in doubt call the host athletic department or visit their website to find out how to get in.