Carlinville assistant has familiar ties to football program
It was a foggy start to the first day of football practice Monday morning at Carlinville High School. But there is nothing foggy about what the two CHS head football coaches of this century has brought to the program: Stability. Winning tradition. Playoff football.
In all but one of last 15 years have the Cavaliers made the playoffs. For eight of those years, Don Borgini was head coach of the Cavaliers. For the last seven years, Chad Easterday. This year, both will be on the CHS sidelines together again, this time with Borgini as a volunteer assistant to Easterday.
Borgini has the upper hand in the wins and number of years coaching, but both have made a positive impact on a town which has become a football hotbed on Friday nights in the fall.
Borgini’s record overall in 32 seasons was 226-104, which included Virden (1983-99), Carlinville (2000-06) and Gillespie (2007-2014). His teams made 23 postseason appearances.
“He’s been a close friend and a close colleague” Borgini said of Easterday. “He’s an outstanding football coach and I feel very privileged to be able to come back and work under him as a volunteer assistant. He learned along with me when we were coaching together when I was the head coach here, and I know that we are still learning together as we are coaching these days.”
For Easterday, the relationship started well before the two became coaches at Carlinville. Easterday played football at Nokomis and use to play Borgini’s Virden teams every year.
“Our relationship goes back even farther (than Carlinville),” Easterday said. “My dad coached at Nokomis in the same conference as Don, so I actually played against him. So I got to know him through that.”
Borgini retired from coaching following last season at Gillespie following 32 years at Virden, Carlinville and Gillespie, but Easterday asked him to come out as a volunteer coach, which Borgini accepted.
“He kind of mentored me as being a head coach, I think, as we went through the years,” Easterday said. “It’s really great to have him back. Most of the staff we have now was here when he got here. It’s been a very smooth transition from me being the head coach and being the assistant. We have such a great coaching staff. We all take on that leadership role and that responsibility.”
“Chad runs a great program – he’s kept up with the great Carlinville tradition and heck you can’t say enough about what a great job he’s done here,” Borgini said.
Borgini will help coach the offensive line and help coach defensive backs with coach Quinn Steiner.
“It’s a role he’s kind of wanting to do since he’s retired,” Easterday said. “To have that experience and that knowledge along with the guys we have – it can do nothing but make you better. On a personal level, it’s nice because he’s enjoying it- I hope – and we enjoy having him back.”
Borgini moved to Carlinville after college, and married his wife. They have been married 30 years, and he has lived in Carlinville 34 years.
“I’m a Carlinville resident, and I love it here and I loved working here,” Borgini said. “My father was the superintendent at Gillespie for 30 some years and I went to school there, so I thought I would try it (coaching). But Carlinville is my home and I’m really thrilled and happy that Chad gave me the opportunity to come back.”
The first day of practice Monday had the Cavies out on the practice field taking snaps under center, lined up against the defense. All in getting better prepared for the Aug. 28 season opener at Roxana.
“Our kids have put in a ton of work in the offseason,” Easterday said. “We have great commitment here at Carlinville. Our kids show up. We’ve had two great summer camps. This is not a starting point for us, this is a stepping stone. That’s kind of the motto we have taken and moving in the right direction. We’re happy to be competing again.”
“Through the summer and the seven-on-seven it’s been a real pleasure for me to just be around the kids and really not have to deal with all the things a head coach has to do,” Borgini said.
The two coaching statistics for Borgini and Easterday at Carlinville are eerily similar. From 2000 to 2007, Borgini compiled a record of 58-25 for a .699 winning percentage. They made the playoffs in seven of the eight years, missing out only in 2006.
Easterday enters his eighth season as the Cavies coach with an overall record of 51-23, a .689 winning percentage. He’s made the playoffs all seven years.
Both Borgini and Easterday have won four playoff games with the Cavies. The 2001 team under Borgini finished 11-1, losing in the third round of the playoffs.
With six more wins, Carlinville will join the elusive football 600 wins club as a program. Not too many schools can boast of that feat.
Opening night 2015 will be 7 p.m. Aug. 28 at Roxana. The week prior, Aug. 21, is the annual soda scrimmage, with a 7 p.m. start.