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Football: End of an era – Basting retires after 27 years at Boyd

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Track Record

TRACK RECORD – Boyd athletic director Brandon Hopkins (left) presents John Basting with a plaque at a retirement party Thursday. Basting retired after 27 years at Boyd. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

When John Basting moved to Texas from Wisconsin in 1984, he didn’t know what to expect.

A small-town guy who just graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Basting packed his bags and took his first coaching job at then Class A Prosper.

“It was just a bump in the road,” Basting recalled.

Two years later, Basting began his first stint at Boyd under legendary coach J.G. Cartwright. Basting was on staff for four years before departing for Whitney and Lake Worth. But Basting eventually found his way back to Wise County.

He returned to Boyd in 1996 and has been there ever since – spending a total of 27 seasons with the Yellowjackets. This past week, the 61-year-old announced his retirement after three-and-a-half decades of coaching.

“Anybody that’s been here like he has becomes a staple in the community,” said Boyd athletic director Brandon Hopkins. “He’s not originally from here, but his roots are here. Whatever he coaches the kids get real attached to him, and he gets real attached to the kids. He has a good rapport with them all.”

Memory Lane

MEMORY LANE – Boyd offensive line and special teams coach John Basting (right) reacts during a playoff game against Cisco in 2007. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Basting met Cartwright at a track meet in Saint Jo in 1985 – two years after the Yellowjackets won their first state title. When he got to the meet, Basting looked at a program and quickly noticed Boyd’s recent record.

He knew where he wanted his next stop to be.

“I opened the football directory and it was 15-0-1,” Basting said. “I said, ‘I need to go to Boyd.’ So, I called [Cartwright] when there was a job opening and drove over here from Prosper.”

The rest is history.

Cartwright hired Basting in 1986 and again in 1996. The two formed a close friendship. Cartwright retired in 2012.

“He is a great guy,” Cartwright said. ‘He could do anything that you needed. He was very instrumental to the success we had there.”

In addition to being the head boys track coach, Basting has served as Boyd’s offensive line and special teams coach over the past 27 years.

The Yellowjackets won their second state title in 2004. Boyd beat Newton 17-14 in the 2A championship game to cap off its perfect 15-0 season.

“It was an epic event. I couldn’t believe it,” Basting said. “It was really something. It was pandemonium. A lot of those kids I knew since they were young, so that was pretty special. We were always in the hunt. It was always so interesting to see what was going to happen next. A friend of mine told me anything can happen in Boyd.”

Over the years, Basting helped the track team capture countless medals and produce collegiate athletes. Dalton Stidham, who graduated from Boyd in 2014, earned Division II All-American honors at Tarleton earlier this spring.

Stidham clocked a 7.95 in the 60 hurdles to finish fourth at nationals. He claimed a silver medal in the 110 hurdles at state his senior year with the Yellowjackets.

Boyd took second at the District 8-3A meet this year under Basting’s guidance. Connor Richardson broke the school record in the 1,600 at regionals, turning in a performance of 4:35.84.

“I got to see kids from here grow up, graduate and go out in the real world and do things that I didn’t know if they could go,” Basting said. “The connections and relationships you make last forever.”

Basting credits his family, as well as the Boyd community, for him staying in the same place the last 23 years. He said when he returned to Boyd, he was not concerned with moving up the coaching ladder.

Instead, Basting wanted to settle down and find a town to raise his two kids, Emily and Jackson. Emily, now 27, is a real estate agent. Jackson is 22 and a junior at the University of North Texas majoring in business. Basting also said his wife, Kelly, has been immensely supportive.

“I wanted to go somewhere [Emily and Jackson] could stay and graduate,” Basting said. “I didn’t care about moving up. They were Yellowjackets and grew up in the same school. It was a small town, so I knew who they hung around with. That meant a lot to me. I found out this was a pretty good place.

“We had a lot of stability. That’s been real important. From the community, school board, parents and teachers. You don’t get to stay 27 years total without having some stability.”

Even though Basting has been coaching for 34 years, he remembers his first day – and nearly all of his students – with great fondness. He concedes he may forget a few names here and there, but always enjoys seeing former students.

Basting knows they were the ones that kept him going over the years.

“It went by so fast,” Basting said. “I don’t feel like I’m that old. The kids keep me young and keep me going. It’s been a fun, interesting, worthwhile ride and journey.”

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