Gary Filbert Classic

Gary Filbert Classic
Posted on 12/13/2017
Picture of Jeff Anderson

Gary Filbert Classic

 The 7th Annual Gary Filbert Classic is in honor of Mexico Sports legend Gary Filbert who leaves his mark as the most successful basketball coach in school history.  To carry on the legacy of this legend, Mexico High School will host the 7th Annual Gary Filbert Classic on December 16th. The event will feature 12 straight hours of high school hoops with all donations benefiting the Gary Filbert Scholarship Fund.

Mexico High School dedicated the Gary Filbert Court January 7th, 2011 in front of a capacity crowd as the Bulldogs dismantled the Boonville Pirates 70-47 with Coach Filbert sitting on the bench as the honorary coach.  The Gary Filbert Classic has been an opportunity for area schools to compete on the Gary Filbert Court and learn the history of a coach who left his mark on the Mexico community and the State of Missouri.  Coach Filbert was First and Forever a Bulldog and his accomplishments in his career speak for themselves:

  • Head Boys Basketball Coach and Athletic Director at Mexico High School from 1955-1969.  Teams won 260 games and lost 110 with 24 tournament titles, 6 conference championships and 7 trips to the state basketball tournament

  • Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Missouri Western State College from 1969-1982.

  • Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at the University of Missouri from 1982-1985.

  • Assistant Director of Athletics at the University of Missouri from 1985-1988.

  • Executive Director of the Show Me State Games from 1987-2002.

  • Founder and Executive Secretary of the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association from 1984-2010.

  • Inducted into the Missouri Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1988.

  • Inducted into the Missouri Western State College Hall of Fame in 2002.

  • Inducted into the Show Me State Games Hall of Honor in 2003.

  • Inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.

  • Received the Guardian of the Game Award from the National Basketball Coaches Association in 2010.

  • Named the 20th “Legend” of Missouri Sports by the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

The Gary Filbert Classic held each year helps fund the Gary Filbert Scholarship, but it also does more.  It keeps alive some of the history of the Bulldog basketball and the memory of Coach Filbert.  It also lets us showcase our community and the outstanding Sports Complex the taxpayers of our district have provided.

Coach Filbert left his legacy on several local business men here in the community of Mexico as he taught the value of hard work and preparing to accomplish your goals.

“Coach Filbert arrived in Mexico my junior year and was a tough coach, but was the most influential in my basketball career and choices I have made in my life.  He always said play harder than the guy guarding you and we will win.  I am still so thankful for the investment that Coach Filbert poured into my life.” said Larry Huffman, Coach Filbert’s first All State Basketball player.

“Coach Filbert was a man ahead of his time.  He stressed fundamentals and total commitment.  He ate and breathed basketball and expected no less from his players.  He taught us that no matter how good an individual was it was always the team who created wins.  No matter how hard we worked Coach Filbert believed we had more to give.  That proved to be a wonderful life lesson” said Alan Atkins, Class of 1963.

“When I played for Coach Filbert I knew I was playing for a coach that gave us a chance to win every time we played.  He expected the best of his players both on and off the court.  We wore blue blazers with the Mexico-All American City emblem on them on all road games.  He expected us to look and act like gentlemen as we represented our school and community when we played out of town.  He was a heck of a coach.  He was an inventor in teaching and coaching the game.  As I grew older I realized that he had taught me much more than just the game of basketball.  The life lessons I learned playing for him influenced me throughout my life and made me a better person.  He was my coach and became my friend.  He never forgot any of his players or students.” said Walt Duffen Class of 1961.

1969 Mexico High School Graduate Lew Melahn on his memory of Coach Filbert:  "To say I played for Gary Filbert is a stretch, at least in basketball. But I did practice and learn. He worked hard and made it clear success came from preparation and hard work. One thing that I've always remembered was that he stressed we shouldn't be tired in four quarters of a game because we should be conditioned to play five in case there was overtime.   So we learned preparation is a great lesson for every endeavor. That plus you have to make your free throws."

This year we celebrate the 7th Annual Gary Filbert Classic with several local match-ups that look to be great basketball games.  Our focus with the classic is to create a great basketball atmosphere and give the fans an opportunity to enjoy success on the Gary Filbert Court.

Match-ups for the 2017 Gary Filbert Classic:

11:00 AM  Paris-North Callaway Girls

12:30 PM  Paris-North Callaway Boys

2:00 PM   Knox County-Community R-6 Girls

3:30 PM   Hallsville-Community R-6 Boys

5:00 PM   Mexico-Van Far Girls

6:30 PM   Mexico-Van Far Boys

“The Gary Filbert classic to me embodies the spirit of sport and specifically the opportunity for young people to grow and learn as individuals using the game as a vehicle.  Being a part of the Classic is an honor in recognizing what Coach Filbert meant to Missouri High School Basketball.” said Head Mexico Girls Basketball Coach Ed Costley.

Head Boys Basketball Coach Darren Pappas on the opportunity to coach in his first Gary Filbert Classic, “It is an honor to coach in such a great event dedicated to a basketball legend in Gary Filbert.  Coach Filbert has done so much for the game of basketball in the State Of Missouri and especially Mexico High School”.

The 7th Annual Gary Filbert Classic will be December 16th starting at 11:00 AM.  Admission for the classic will be Adult-$4.00, Student-$2.00, Senior Citizen-$2.00, and family package-$10.00. The concession stand will be available provided by the Mexico Bulldog Booster Club.