By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
Don Borgini recently submitted a letter of resignation and is planning to retire after five seasons as the Carlinville High School head baseball coach.
Borgini led the Cavaliers to 58 wins, including a school record 22 throughout the 2019 campaign, which additionally featured a regional championship victory. Carlinville only lost three contests that entire season.
CHS returned with a loaded roster jam-packed with key players in the spring of 2020, looking to avenge a tough draw that cut its historic run short in the first round of sectionals. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out those hopes and dreams just a week prior to Opening Day.
In many eyes, Borgini is expected to go down as arguably ‘the greatest coach to ever take the reigns of the program.’
Borgini worked tirelessly the past six years to improve both the football and baseball facilities at Carlinville and was the main individual that spear-headed the “All Cavies on Turf” project.
Borgini also coached baseball at Virden High School for 15 seasons earlier in his career.
Borgini was previously a Hall of Fame football coach that spent 32 years on the sideline before hanging up his whistle in 2014. He produced 226 wins at Virden, Carlinville and Gillespie and took his teams to the postseason 23 times.
Borgini never accomplished the feat of coaching in an Illinois High School Association state championship game, but he came close several times.
In 17 years at Virden, Borgini reached the quarterfinals three times and lost each one by three points or fewer – 34-32 at East St. Louis Assumption (1986); 35-34 in overtime vs. Greenfield (1996); and 16-13 at Dakota (1999).
Borgini also had some memorable runs during his eight-year tenure at Carlinville prior to handing the reigns over to Chad Easterday – his assistant at the time. The furthest journey came in 2001, when the Cavaliers reached a Class 3A quarterfinal before getting blitzed 35-14 at DuQuoin.
After getting inducted into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association’s (IHSFCA) Hall of Fame in 2007, Borgini led his alma mater Gillespie Miners to a Class 2A quarterfinal against arch-rival Staunton in 2013. Gillespie, which lost 30-14, concluded that campaign with 10 wins to just two defeats.
As an athlete, Borgini played for a pair of legendary coaching icons, which each have a facility named in their honor today.
Borgini was a stand-out at both the high school and college levels.
Borgini took to the football field under the leadership of Don “Duke” Dobrino in his hometown of Gillespie and then played baseball for Duffy Bass at Illinois State University in Normal. Borgini’s talents caught the attention of Major League scouts and he went on to pitch for the Elizabethton Twins, a minor league affiliate of the Minnesota Twins’ organization, in 1981.
Borgini has said that he plans to continue assisting the CHS football team part-time while spending more time with his family, particularly grandchildren.
Borgini is currently coaching his grandson Luka’s 9U Little League baseball team and ‘loving every minute of it.’