Even though Gary Filbert is no longer with us, his legacy as Mexico High School's winningest boys basketball coach lives on when the second Gary Filbert Classic will be held Saturday at the MHS sports complex.
In January 2011, Mexico paid tribute to Filbert by naming the basketball floor of the sports complex the "Gary Filbert Court." Many of his former players attended the celebration to visit their former coach. Filbert's family and many of his friends also attended the special event.
That tribute continued last year when the first-ever Gary Filbert Classic was held on the court named in his honor. The tribute continues Saturday.
"We are honored to be hosting the second annual Gary Filbert Classic," stated Jeff Anderson, MHS Athletic Director. "The classic is a tribute to Coach Gary Filbert, a legendary coach for the Mexico Bulldogs. His influence as a coach in the Mexico community is still talked about by players and fans," added Anderson.
In its first year, four games were played, both boys and girls participating. This year five games will be played beginning at 1 p.m. The opening game has No. 1 ranked Silex against No. 3 Sturgeon girls in Class 2, followed by Sturgeon and Community R-6 boys, next will be Helias and Pacific boys. The Mexico Lady Bulldogs will host the Helias girls. The Lady Bulldogs are coming into the contest on a 5-game winning streak. The nightcap has the No. 7 ranked Mexico Bulldogs hosting Warrensburg. "It should be a great day of high school basketball," said Anderson.
The event is sponsored by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association, founded by Filbert. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for students; $1 for each adult ticket will go to the Relay for Life team here in Mexico and $1 will go to benefit the Gary Filbert Scholarship Fund. The Mexico Bulldog Booster Club will have its full menu in the concession stand.
Filbert was head boys' basketball coach and athletic director at Mexico High School from 1955-1969. His teams won 260 games and lost 110 with 24 tournament titles, six conference championships and seven trips to the state tournament. He also coached at Missouri Western State College and was assistant men's basketball coach at the university and served as assistant director of athletics at MU, and was executive director of the Show-Me State Games from 1987-2002. He has also received many accolades for his accomplishments in the sports field.