Hilton Head Prep AD Basirico looks back on storied career before retirement

Sports

Forty-two years’ worth of stories; all scattered around Rich Basirico’s office at Hilton Head Prep. 

“My wife tells me all the time that I have too much out here,” Basirico said. “But it’s nice to come to work every day and see the people you love.” 
 
After more than four decades as a basketball coach and athletic director in the Lowcountry, Basirico will be stepping down in June. He said the best advice he could give his successor is to be ready for anything. 

“In the school business, every day is a different day,” Basirico said. “You’re prepared every day when you come to work but you don’t know what your day is going to be like.” 

When Basirico arrived in the Lowcountry to coach basketball at what was then May River Academy, the Hilton Head Island he found is very different than the one there today. 

“We had under 10,000 people that lived here full time,” Basirico said. “It was a two-lane highway, one traffic light on the island. You basically knew everybody.” 

Over Basirico’s time, thousands of athletes have competed under Prep’s banner, representing thousands of individual journeys from boys and girls to men and women. 

“These are memories on the walls right here of times where we’ve played and had success, but who you become as a person is what it’s all about,” Basirico said. “It’s our job to teach life lessons.” 

Basirico taught plenty of life lessons on the basketball court, racking up more than 500 career wins, but he lived them by doing the less glamorous work of an athletic director. 

“I don’t leave and we don’t leave until everything is done here,” Basirico said. “If we receive emails and text messages; let’s not go home until our business is taken care of.” 

Forty-two years after he first walked through the door, Basirico is finally going home, although even in retirement, he’ll keep doing the one thing he’s always loved: watching Hilton Head Prep sports. 

“I’m going to ask (people) not to wake me up, because I want to continue the dream,” Basirico said. 

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