Special Recognition – Coach Paul Basaldu Sr.

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Tonight at the Kennedale School Board meeting, special recognition was given by the KISD Alumni to Coach Paul Basaldu Sr. A group of Alumni have been working on a special gift to the district in his memory. There were several Kennedale Alumni present at the meeting to show their support of this endeavor, including Kennedale’s newly appointed Mayor Linda Rhodes, who graduated from KHS. Thelma Kobeck and Laurie Middleton Sanders spoke to the school board telling them or their plan and read the following history of Coach Basaldu. Coach Basaldu’s daughter, Linda and son, Paul Jr. were both present and bursting with pride as it was being read. Thanks to Thelma, for writing the biography about the special man who meant so much to students.

Recognition Bench and Plaque for Coach Paul Basaldu, Sr.

Paul Basaldu, Sr., was born June 29, 1930 in San Antonio, Texas, to Mateo Basaldu and Simona Galindo and was raised by Justo and Simona Martinez Galindo. 

In 1950, Paul graduated as the male valedictorian of his high school class.

He then joined the Air Force and served in Korea.  While serving his country, he received the National Defense Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal.

Paul Basaldu earned his BA degree from Texas Christian University and in 1963 he was certified to teach Secondary History and Secondary Spanish (grades 6-12).  Paul then moved to Uvalde, Texas to teach Texas history. While in Uvalde Paul was offered a scholarship at Rice University in Houston. He accepted and went on to earn his Masters degree. In 1966, he began his long successful career at Kennedale ISD as an educator and coach. He retired from the school district in 1993.

Paul Basaldu, Sr., passed away on June 28, 2018, at the age of 87 and was survived by his son and two daughters as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I have just presented you with a very brief biography of Paul Basaldu’s life, the kind of snapshot of someone you might find in an obituary.  In fact, that is exactly where I got most of the information that I just shared with you. 

But that brief snapshot cannot accurately portray to you just who Paul Basaldu, Sr., really was and how he influenced the lives of countless Kennedale ISD students. 

Paul Basaldu, Sr., was a teacher, coach, principal, mentor, role model and so much more. 

He taught Texas history to many KISD alumni in the middle school/junior high.  No students slept through Texas history class because Coach Basaldu made Texas history come alive.  You left his class with an understanding of and appreciation for the proud history of the Lone Star State that went well beyond whatever was found in the textbook. 

He was a dedicated coach who instilled principles of discipline, teamwork, fair play and good sportsmanship in his players.

As a principal, Paul Basaldu, Sr., ensured that the students for whom he was responsible were well educated, respected, and treated fairly and equitably.

Coach Basaldu was also a mentor and a role model.  He began teaching long before quality English language acquisition programs were commonplace for students whose native language was not English, back when total immersion was practiced and English language learners were expected to either “sink or swim” linguistically and academically. 

Coach Basaldu was someone who could empathize with their challenges and who encouraged them to continue to pursue their dreams by obtaining a quality education.  Kennedale ISD was a great deal more “homogenous” in the 1960s, ‘70s, and even the ‘80s than it is today, and Coach Basaldu understood how it felt to stand out in the crowd because of your ethnicity or the color of your skin.  Consequently, his presence was a strong support for Kennedale students of color during those decades.

A student always knew where he or she stood with Coach Basaldu.  He was seldom seen without a smile or pleasant demeanor, but if you did happen to do something to disappoint him or violate the code of conduct, you knew it was going to be dealt with quickly, fairly, and effectively.  The punishment would fit the crime and few students committed the same offense twice after Coach Basaldu addressed the problem!

Coach Basaldu always had time for Kennedale ISD and its students.  And you didn’t have to be an athlete to gain Coach’s attention.  Many Kennedale alumni have shared with me how Coach Basaldu made them feel as if they mattered and inspired them.  He even had time for a nerdy, brainy, socially inept, and nonathletic female student like me and I appreciated him and respected him for it.

Paul Basaldu, Sr., “Coach Basaldu” as we all still know him, may have retired almost three decades ago, but he left an indelible stamp on Kennedale ISD and the community.  Because of Coach Basaldu, there are many Kennedale ISD alumni who dared to continue their education, who dared to go on to pursue successful careers, who dared to become productive members of society, who dared to dream.

In recognition of the accomplishments of Coach Paul Basaldu, Sr., and the impact he continues to have on the Kennedale ISD and the community and in an effort to show our appreciation for him as an educator and as a person, a large group of Kennedale alumni wishes to honor him with a memorial bench and a memorial stone that will accompany the bench.

The memorial bench has been donated by Mr. Donald Grimes.  The memorial stone has been created by Memorial Monuments and was donated by Mr. Bob Samuel and Mrs. Brenda Biondi Samuel. 

We would like to place the bench and memorial stone to the side of what Kennedale alumni affectionately refer to as “the old football field” on Crestview behind Delaney Primary School.  This is the field where Paul Basaldu coached for so many years and it is our hope that this location will allow students and teachers of Delaney to be able to sit on the bench at recess. 

The bench and monument stone will be installed and secured onto a concrete pad and the pouring of the concrete and placement of the bench and monument stone will be lovingly performed by long-time KISD maintenance employees and class of ’74 alumni Bob Samuel and Chuckie Carpenter who graduated a few years later.  These gentlemen will be performing this work as KISD alumni and NOT as KISD employees; therefore, this work will not occur during their work hours “on the clock”, but rather on their own personal time.

The memorial stone will simply read:

In loving memory and honor of Coach Paul Basaldu, Sr., KISD 1966-1993 From the Kennedale Alumni

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