A Family Affair: The Mandrell's


By WSIL Sports

MOUNDS -- Twice a year, there's a game Jeff and Matt Mandrell can't stand to play.

"Leading up to it, I almost say it's kind of miserable," Egyptian head coach Matt Mandrell said.

"Even though I want to win, I just don't enjoy playing the game," Meridian head coach Jeff Mandrell said.

Matt is the head boys basketball coach at Egyptian. His older brother Jeff is the head coach at Meridian. Together they put a family twist on what is already one of the biggest rivalries in southern Illinois.

"I don't like going against my brother," Jeff said.

I always want my brother to win, except for when we play him," said Matt.

The Mandrell's grew in Hindsboro, a small central Illinois town north of Charleston. They learned the game from their father, who was a coach and athletic director.

"We were always around it, always have been around it and it's what we know," Matt added.

Their parents still support them, attending multiple games per year. Except for two.

"They have never seen a Meridian-Egyptian game and I doubt they ever will," Jeff said. "I think it's just a game where they would like both of us to win and it can't happen."

For Matt's sake, it's probably better his parents don't attend. In the seven years he's been the Pharaoh's coach, he's never beaten his big brother.

"As the older brother, I think I should win," said Jeff. "I guess that's the way I look at it."

"It is what it is and someday I'd like to come out on top," Matt said. "It'd be a lot more enjoyable for me."

Friday night, Jeff won his 300th game at Meridian. It's only fitting it came against his baby brother.
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