BY DEAN HOCKNEY
KOKOMO, Ind. – Not many coaches have words invented on their behalf that become part of the sports lexicon. But Hall of Fame boys basketball coach Basil Mawbey is one of them. In the world of Hoosier Hysteria, Basilball is a term used to describe defensive pressure that leads to turnover points – and it was coined for the tenacious defense that was taught by Mawbey. After local stops in Kokomo and Lewis Cass, the retired educator will return to the local sidelines this fall as the new boys basketball coach at Taylor High School.
On July 2, Taylor Athletic Director Steve Dishon announced that Mawbey has accepted the position and was scheduled to go before the school board for final approval on July 16.
Mawbey, with his Basilball defense, is one of the most decorated high school basketball coaches to have ever roamed the hardwood in Howard County. Inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame in 2009, Mawbey has a career record of 675-259 – good for ninth all-time among Indiana boys basketball coaches.
He won a single-class state championship with Connersville in 1983, coached Kokomo to a single-class state runners-up finish in 1989 and a Final Four in 1997, and led Lewis Cass to Class 2A state title in 2003. His 248 wins are third-most in Kokomo history behind fellow Hall of Famers Joe Platt (260) and Carl McNulty (256). He won 75.6 percent of his games at Kokomo (248-80), which is second best all-time to Platt’s 76.5 percent (260-80). And when it comes to defense, his teams hold six of the top 10 spots on the all-time list at Kokomo (45.8 points per game in 1996-1997).
At Lewis Cass, he led the Kings to a 147-42 record in eight seasons. He took over a Cass program that had five consecutive losing seasons and immediately won the 2001 sectional title with a 22-2 record. The Kings were 20-0 the following season but were upset by Taylor in the first round of the sectional. In his third season, the Kings hit pay dirt, running the table at 26-0 before winning the state title 57-48 over Forest Park – it marked only the seventh undefeated state champion team in IHSAA history. He never had a losing season at Cass, and overall, Mawbey went 33 consecutive years with a winning record.
After leaving Cass, he led Broad Ripple for one season and won the 2010 Indianapolis City Tournament title, ending a 24-year draught at the tourney for the Rockets. He retired from active coaching in 2010 and has served as a consultant for several colleges, including Purdue, IUPUI and Gulf Coast University.
Mawbey takes over a Taylor program that was 20-45 in three years under Andy Lewman, who departed after accepting a teaching position at Yorktown High School. The Titans have not had a winning season since Jeff Fisher led the squad to a 12-9 record in 2009-2010 and have had losing seasons in nine of the last 12 campaigns. The Titans have four sectional titles, all in Class 2A (2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006) and under Fisher.