7th Annual IHSA Distinguished Service Award winners are:
- Kent Ayers of Pekin
- Ann Bagel of Hoffman Estates
- George Dyche of Aurora
- Owen Fuller of Marseilles
- Larry Gassen of Downers Grove
- Tom Heniff of Olympia Fields
- Perry Korbakis of Crestwood
- Chris Long of Sigel
- Rich Marshof Sugar Grove
- Nancy Nelson of Bloomington
- Jean Rezny of Arlington Heights
- Brad Stearns of Springfield
Brief biographies of the award winners follow:
Kent retired from Pekin Community High School in 2001 after 33 years of service, first as a teacher and coach, and the final 17 years as Athletic Director and director of the Pekin Holiday Basketball Tournament.
He has served the IHSA by hosting numerous state series events. For 15 years, he served as the financial manager for the IHSA Girls Softball State Finals in Pekin. For 16 years, he has been the Happening Coordinator for the IHSA Girls Basketball State Finals at Redbird Arena, where he oversees all aspects of the three-point shooting competition. Kent meets with each shooter, over 2,000 through the years, to give them their final instructions along with a message of confidence before sending them out to the floor.
Kent has also served the IHSA as a member of the Boys Tennis Advisory Committee and the Athletic Directors Advisory Committee. He was active in the Illinois Athletic Directors Association and was named an Athletic Director of the Year in 1998. In 2010, he was inducted into the IADA Hall of Fame.
Today, he continues to be active at PCHS assisting with the Pekin Holiday Tournament and other events as needed.
Kent and his wife, Ludy, have two children, Greg and Shelly Brix. Shelly and her husband Alan have two children, Jordan and Andrea.
For 10 years, Ann has been a fixture at the IHSA Girls Volleyball State Finals working in every capacity: scorekeeper, timekeeper, libero tracker. You name it, Ann has done it. In addition, she also worked at the IHSA Girls Bowling State Finals, as well as served as the State Final Manager for the last five years at the IHSA Boys Volleyball State Finals.
Her coaching career includes a stretch as the head varsity softball coach at Hoffman Estates High School, and she has also served as an assistant coach at the school in girl’s basketball, soccer and bowling.
Ann has been an educator at Hoffman Estates for the past 29 years. She taught math/computer science for 21 years and served as the Dean of Students one year. She served as the Athletic Director from 2001-2006, the Athletic Coordinator from 1985-2001 and was the IADA Awards Chairperson from 2003-2006. Ann is a lifetime member of the NIAAA.
She graduated from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in 1984 with a degree in Mathematics and received her Master’s Degree from National Louis University in Computer Education. She is a Certified Master Athletic Administrator (CMAA).
George, a graduate of West Leyden High School, earned his undergraduate degree from Coe College in 1967. In 1965, he became Coe’s first All-American wrestler when he placed fourth in the NCAA College Division National Tournament. He earned his Master’s Degree from Northern Illinois University in 1981.
In the fall of 1967, he began his forty-year teaching and coaching career. In 1972, George took over the wrestling program at West Aurora High School and remained in that position for the next 33 years. During his thirty-six year high school coaching career, his teams won over 420 dual meets. He coached 47 state qualifiers, twenty of whom were medalists — including five state champions and two silver medalists.
George has served as IWCOA President and as Co-Chairman of the Illinois Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. For close to two decades, he has served on the IWCOA Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
George is currently a member of the Coe College Athletic Hall of Fame, the Midlands Hall of Fame, the West Aurora Athletic Hall of Fame and the IWCOA Hall of Fame. He has received the National Wrestling Hall of Fame – Illinois Chapter Lifetime Service Award as well as the IWCOA Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2006, the IWCOA recognized George as its Man of the Year.
Owen first registered as an IHSA official in Track & Field and Cross Country in 1983 and became Certified in 1988.
Owen served as the Head Long Jump Judge at the IHSA Girls Track & Field State Finals from 1988-1995. He also worked for more than 20 years in the Clerk’s tent at both the IHSA Boys and Girls State Track Meets. He was appointed the Head Clerk of Course for the IHSA Boys State Meet in 2005 and for the Girls State Meet in 2007.
He has officiated numerous Cross Country Invitationals and IHSA Regionals and Sectionals during the past 25 years. He has served as the Clerk of the Course for both the IESA and IHSA Cross Country State Finals and has served as the Coordinator of Officials for both state meets since 2007.
Owen serves the IHSA as a Rules Interpreter and Certified Clinician in the sports of Track & Field and Cross Country. He is a Past President of the Illinois Track & Cross Country Officials Association where he served as President in 2008 and 2009.
After a 35 year career as a high school chemistry teacher, he retired in 2007. He now resides in Marseilles with his wife, JoEllen. They enjoy traveling and their four grandchildren, two dogs and four cats.
A graduate of Illinois State University, Larry earned three letters for the Redbirds in football. After earning his Master’s Degree in 1965, he began teaching mathematics and coaching football and wrestling in Crete. In 1967, he moved to Downers Grove South High School where he just completed his 48th year coaching wrestling. He served 13 years as a head coach and 35 years as an assistant. He also spent 20 years coaching football.
Larry is a lifetime member of the Illinois Wrestling Coaches & Officials Association where he served on the Executive Board for 27 years.
He has volunteered at 17 IHSA Dual Team Wrestling State Finals and at the last 13 IHSA Individual Wrestling State Tournaments. He was the Grand Marshal in 2005 and has been setting up the weigh-in procedure for the IHSA Individual Wrestling State Tournament by providing detailed graphics of the facility set-up. In addition, each year, he travels to the IHSA Office to help with the seeding of the individual wrestlers.
In 1993, he was selected as the IWCOA Man of the Year. He was inducted into the IWCOA Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the IWCOA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. In 2007, Larry received the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Lifetime Service Award. He was honored with the Alumni Award of Excellence by Downers Grove North High School in 2009.
Tom has been an athlete, coach and official during his career. In 1972, he began his head coaching duties at Richards High School, where he coached for 11 years, including six team finishes of sixth-place or better. His teams won two State Championships, one Runner-up and one Third Place. He had 33 state qualifiers, 20 place winners, five State Champions and two undefeated dual teams.
While coaching, he became a licensed wrestling official and was a part of a group that was instrumental in the formulation of the present day officials clinics. Five times, he was chosen as the Official of the Year for the South Inter-Conference Association.
From 1994 to 2004, he worked a combination of 11 Dual Team or Individual State Wrestling Championships. Since his retirement from officiating in 2004, he has worked as a volunteer at the meets as a weigh-in official/supervisor.
He has been a member of the Illinois Wrestling Coaches & Officials Association since its inception and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1982. Tom was selected to serve as a Grand Marshal of both the Kids and IHSA State Tournaments. He was voted the IWCOA’s Official of the Year three times, its Man of the Year in 2001, given a Lifetime Achievement Award from the IWCOA and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum.
Tom is a board member of the Richards Athletic Hall of Fame, and was inducted into Richards’ first Athletic Hall of Fame class in 2006. In May of 2013, he was inducted into Evergreen Park’s Hall of Fame.
Tom is married to Suzanne, and together they have 4 children and 9 grandchildren.
For the past twelve years, Perry has been guiding all IHSA Water Polo officials. He has been instrumental in creating the Part 1 and Part 2 officials exams, clinic curriculums and the content for the Water Polo Rules Interpretation meetings. He is one of the first officials to reach the Certified level in Water Polo. In addition, he has been recruiting and educating new Water Polo officials since the IHSA began licensing officials in the sport.
Serving as the Coordinator of Officials at the IHSA Boys and Girls Water Polo State Finals, he has been managing the head table at the state finals. His knowledge of the rules of water polo and his experiences as an official has benefitted the student-athletes and coaches involved in the state tournament.
His service to the IHSA, its member schools, coaches, student-athletes and fans has been instrumental to the IHSA Water Polo State Series. Perry has been integral in promoting the growth of the sport of Water Polo by providing mentoring and education for new officials as well as conducting clinics throughout the state where there is interest in starting a Water Polo program. He has been recognized for his work as a leader in Water Polo on both the state and national level.
Chris has been involved as an IHSA official in five sports (basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball and football) for over 30 years. His is Certified in baseball, softball, volleyball and football and Recognized in Basketball.
He has been assigned to officiate an IHSA Football State Championship game three times and the IHSA Girls Softball State Final five times. In addition, he has served as the Umpire in Chief at the IHSA Softball State Finals on nine different occasions. He presently assists the IHSA as a Softball Rules Interpreter and has served three terms on the IHSA Officials Advisory Committee.
Chris served as an administrator in Effingham and Shelbyville before he began his 20-plus years as Superintendent for Kansas Unit #3 Schools.
He said, “I truly enjoy serving the IHSA in any capacity, whether it be as an official or on a committee of any sorts.”
Long lives in Sigel, Illinois, with his wife of 26 years, Sheryl, and has four children – Abbie, Baylie, Caleb and Demmie.
Rick has served as an official, mentor, clinician, recruiter and educator in the sport of Water Polo since its inception in 2002. He has been instrumental in guiding the IHSA Water Polo Officials through training, clinics, testing, and rules interpretation meetings.
He is a Certified Water Polo Official who has provided opportunities for new officials to be trained for the girls and boys water polo season. Thanks to his involvement, the number of licensed high school Water Polo officials in Illinois has more than doubled.
Rick has conducted clinics in different parts of the state where there is interest to begin a Water Polo program. He has also worked at the national level and has been recognized by coaches, players and peers as a leader in Water Polo.
By serving as the Coordinator of Officials at the IHSA Girls and Boys Water Polo State Finals, Rick has helped establish a successful state final. His hard work, dedication and exemplary service to the IHSA and its member schools have been essential to the growth of the program in Illinois.
After staying home to raise her three daughters, Nancy transitioned into a job in the insurance industry, where she worked for more than 20 years. While in insurance, Nancy fell in love with the game of golf and ventured out to turn the game into a career, working part-time at the Bloomington Golf Courses. Realizing that golf was her true career path, she made the full-time switch from insurance to managing Prairie Vista Golf Course in 1997.
She is the Golf Operations Manager for the City of Bloomington Golf Courses. A 15 year veteran of the IHSA Boys Golf State Finals, Nancy has become the face of the IHSA Class 1A and 2A Boys Golf State Finals. Her attention to detail—whether finding volunteers, setting up concessions or posting tee times—creates a first class atmosphere for all who are participating in the event.
She says that she "loves that her job is truly rewarding each and every day.” While she enjoys taking care of the day-to-day needs of the golfing public in the Twin Cities, her most enjoyable accomplishments are working with the various junior golf tournaments and providing young players lessons.
Nancy spends what free time she has away from the golf courses with her daughters and seven grandchildren.
Jean attended Western Illinois University where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education in 1981 and a Masters of Science Degree in Physical Education, with an emphasis in Athletic Administration, in 1983.
She has been a District #214 teacher and coach since 1984 at Prospect High School. She has coached 42 seasons at three schools in the district: Prospect, Elk Grove and Buffalo Grove. She has coached Boys Golf, Girls Volleyball, Boys and Girls Tennis and Girls Badminton.
Since 1984, Jean has been the central figure at the IHSA Girls Tennis State Finals. She has served as the IHSA Girls Tennis State Final Manager for the past 12 years. Prior to that, she served as the Assistant Manager for 17 years. She has provided leadership and professionalism for all who have attended the IHSA Girls Tennis State Finals.
With the state final being conducted in the fall, the tournament always seems to face some unique weather situations. Her calm attitude and tireless work ethic ensures that the IHSA Girls Tennis State Finals are an outstanding event. A coach who worked with Jean for many years said, “Jean Rezny is one of the most dedicated, dependable and hardworking individuals that I have ever worked with – inside or outside the tennis courts.”
Jean was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Western Illinois University in 1994.
Brad has been a licensed IHSA Football Official since 1977 and has been Certified since 1982. He became licensed in Baseball in 1979 and has been Certified since 1983.
Brad has served as a clinician in both sports and has conducted clinics throughout the state. For the past 15 years, he has been the Head Clinician in Baseball. He was the first to develop clinic power points for our baseball clinicians and provides the basis for mechanics used in both 2-man and 3-man umpiring systems used in Illinois.
Since 1988, he has been assigned to officiate IHSA Football Playoff games, culminating with an assignment to the IHSA Class 3A Football State Championship in 2011.
He was assigned to officiate the IHSA Baseball State Finals in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2000 and has served as the Coordinator of Umpires at the IHSA Baseball State Finals for the past 10 years.
He is a charter member of the Springfield Area Officials Association (SAOA) where he has served as the Baseball Secretary, Football Secretary and SAOA President.
In 1997 and 2000, Brad received the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) Award for Baseball Official of the Year in Illinois. In 2007, he was inducted into the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame as a “Friend of Sport”, primarily as a Sports Official.
6th Annual IHSA Distinguished Service Award winners are:
- Hector Carabez of Glenview
- Pat Creek of Quincy
- Mike Creek of Quincy
- Dan Cunningham of East Peoria
- Greg Gaa of Limestone
- Ron Gibson of Naperville
- Bill Laude of Frankfort
- Michael Nisen of Rolling Meadows
- Matt Piescinski of Charleston
- Sally Renaud of Charleston
- James Tidwell of Charleston
- Patricia Wozny of Chicago
Brief biographies of the award winners follow:
For over thirty years, Hector has been on staff at Glenbrook South High School in Glenview. He has served as the announcer for football, basketball, volleyball and gymnastics contests and has kept stats at wrestling tournaments. He has also served as the liaison between the student activities office and the Special Education Department. He coached girls softball, girls golf and freshman and sophomore cheerleading, but found his true coaching passion in 1993 when he began coaching boys and girls soccer at Glenbrook South. In 2002, Hector was honored as the inaugural recipient of the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association Boys Soccer Assistant Coach of the Year Award. Since 1995, Hector has been a member of the Girls Soccer State Final stats crew. In 2001, he began serving on the stats crew for the Boys Soccer State Final. He has worked all the boys and girls state final soccer games since then with the exception of one game in 2005 when his boys team made the quarterfinals and two games in 2010 when his girls team made the final four. In 2010, he served as the announcer for the Class 1A Girls Soccer State Final. In 2011 and 2012, he announced the Class 2A and 3A Girls Soccer State Finals.
Mike is a graduate of Herrin High School and Quincy College. He started umpiring right after high school helping the Herrin Park District with the younger children. His father was a respected umpire for many years and helped him get off to a good start, but it was his wife, Pat, who got him back into umpiring. He would always go to the clinics and rules meetings with her. When her partner retired, she asked if he could step in as her new partner. Since then he has umpired most of his 29 years as an IHSA umpire on a two-person team with his wife. He was appointed to be a part of the first team of clinicians to conduct a mechanics clinic for softball umpires and still serves the IHSA as a softball clinician. When the 25th Anniversary of IHSA Softball was held at Mineral Springs Park in Pekin, Mike served on the IHSA Committee to mark the occasion. Mike was a volunteer for the first three Officials Conferences and has served as a softball conference clinician or assistant each year the conference has been held. He is a certified softball and volleyball official for the IHSA. He has been assigned regional post season assignments and one sectional. He has also served as a line judge for sectionals. Mike is a member of the Capital Area Officials Association and a founding member of the Western Illinois Volleyball Officials Association. He firmly believes that we all need to give back to the sport that has given us so much joy.
Pat taught physical education and health at Camp Point (Central) for 33 years and five years of seventh grade Language Arts. In her third year of teaching, Pat (with the support of several Board members) was able to introduce and coach two girls sports and expand it to coaching all five sports the next year. Central’s girls athletic program included softball, volleyball, bowling, basketball and track. This fulfilled one of Pat’s high school goals…to be instrumental in providing opportunities for girls to compete, to represent their school, and to benefit from participation in athletics as well as to receive a quality education. She has been an IHSA certified official in volleyball and softball for 39 years. She has officiated numerous volleyball regionals, sectionals and super-sectionals, and has been a state final line judge two times and a state final official two times. She is currently an IHSA Volleyball clinician. She has umpired 15 Girls Softball State Finals and has been an Umpire-in-Chief twice. Four times, she has been selected as the recipient of the NFOA Outstanding Softball Award. She served as the Illinois representative on the NFHS Softball Committee and also served on the IHSA Sportsmanship Committee for two years. She was selected by the IHSA to attend a Michael Josephson Character Counts program with an emphasis on sportsmanship. Pat was a member of the Officials Conference Committee for its first three years and served as a Conference Speaker and Clinician. She has also been inducted into the Illinois Coaches Hall of Fame for Umpires. Pat was asked by the IHSA to help develop a forerunner of the softball education program by teaching mechanics at selected clinics. She was a member of the first Softball Curriculum Development Committee, served the IHSA as a softball clinician and rules interpreter and has been the Head Softball Clinician since 2001. She has enjoyed knowing three and four generations of families through sports. She says that it doesn’t seem possible that she has shared IHSA history with so many wonderful friends both on and off the field/court.
Dan is the Executive Director of EastSide Centre in East Peoria, Illinois. He has held that position since 2000. He has hosted many East Peoria High School athletic events and numerous other IHSA regionals, sectionals and super-sectionals. In 2001, the Girls Softball State Finals were awarded to EastSide Centre. This is the twelfth year hosting the Girls Softball State Finals. Landing the IHSA Finals was the catalyst that helped EastSide become one of the outstanding youth sports facilities in the Midwest -- hosting numerous state, regional and national tournaments over the years. Prior to joining EastSide, Dan enjoyed 10 plus year stints of employment with Caterpillar and SVI Systems. In 2011, Dan was elected into the National Softball Association Hall of Fame in Lousiville, Kentucky.
Greg has served on the IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee since 1991 where he has been a valuable voice of the committee, bringing his expertise and perspective from the athletic training community to the group. In addition, he has been the Medical/Sports Medicine Coordinator for the IHSA Boys Basketball State Finals since 1996, the Girls Softball State Finals since 2001, the Girls and Boys Cross Country State Finals since 2007 and the IHSA Class 1A and 2A Boys Baseball State Finals since 2011. He has been employed by Great Plains Orthopaedics in Peoria since 1989 where he is the Director of Therapy and Outreach Services. He is a member of the United States Anti-Doping Agency where he currently serves as the Lead Doping Control Officer and conducts event and out-of-competition drug testing. In 2006, Greg was named to the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame. In 2007, he received the Service Award from the Peoria Football Coaches Association. In 2011, he received the Athletic Trainer Service Award from the National Athletic Trainers Association.
Ron began his career with the Naperville Community Unit School District in 1966 as a social studies teacher and continued for the next 38 years culminating in 2004 after holding the position of Associate Superintendent for Elementary Education for 23 years. He received the Outstanding Young Educator (OYE) Award for Community Service, the Community Service Award as a Distinguished Educator and in 2008, Steeple Run Elementary was dedicated to him. Since the first year the tournament was held at the Assembly Hall, in 1972-73, Ron has been working at the IHSA Boys Wrestling State Final. He began his service working at the scorer’s table and then moved to the announcer’s position in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. In addition, he has worked at all of the Boys Wrestling conference meets and the regional and sectional tournaments that have been hosted by the Naperville School District. Since 1996, he has also been the voice at all football and basketball games hosted by the district. Throughout his career, he always maintained that it was important to “give back”. He was heavily involved in community service for many years. He served on the Naper Settlement Board in the 1990s, was appointed to the DuPage County Ethics Commission in 2005 and has served on the Personnel Committee of the DuPage Children’s Museum since 2005. In 2006, he was appointed to the Naperville River Walk Commission.
Bill joined the IHSA as an official in baseball and basketball in 1967 and added football in 1971. He has served as a state final official in all three sports. He has made three trips to the Boys Basketball State Finals, three trips to the Boys Baseball State Finals and five trips to the Boys Football Championships. Bill’s dedication to the IHSA goes beyond these many trips of post season officiating success. Over the years, Bill has assumed many leadership roles in officials’ education with the IHSA. He serves as a football rules interpreter and head clinician. He annually is an instructor in the “Train the Trainer” program. This program is the initial building block to officials’ education. Bill has provided great leadership since the inception of this course as an instructor and curriculum developer. Bill has been the Head Official for the Football Playoffs since 1999 except for two years, 2003 and 2009, when he was on the field as a working official. In addition, for the past five years, he has been the voice of the IHSA Boys Baseball State Finals. He is the past president of two different local officials associations, the South Suburbs Officials Association (SSOA) and the Central Officials Association (COA). He was named the Illinois NFOA Baseball Official of the year in 1996 and the Illinois NFOA Football Official of the year in 2000. Bill was inducted into the Illinois High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2000, the Chicago Public League Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2010 and the COA Hall of Fame in 2011.
For an astonishing 47 years, Mike has been involved with the boys golf state series as either a coach or volunteer. He served as the boys varsity golf coach at Prospect High School from 1965-66 to 1970-71 and at Rolling Meadows High School from1971-72 to 1999-2000. During those years, Mike developed not only quality golfers, but numerous quality young men who undoubtedly used the lessons taught by their coach and the game of golf to make their own positive contributions in life. Since 1990, Mike has been volunteering at the Boys Golf State Finals. In those early years, Mike worked the scoreboard, keeping results posted as they came in. He continued working at the scoreboard but added the responsibility of working the official scorer's table when it moved to Crestwicke Country Club. After two years, he began announcing tee times in addition to working at the official scorer’s table. He has continued working as the announcer and as the lead person at the official scorer's table since then. Always adorned in his trademark yellow rain suit, “Big Bird” as he’s affectionately known, has been a familiar face to generations of golfers and golfing families in Illinois. He said that he looks forward to seeing former coaching colleagues and watching the outstanding young golfers this state produces every year.
Matt’s work as a Public Address announcer for the IHSA began in the 1972-73 school year, where, at age 15, he started a three year run as the PA Announcer for the Dolton (Thornridge) Class AA Boys Basketball regional. His association with Boys Basketball resumed in 1979 at the Charleston Class A Super-Sectional. For the next 25 years, he was a regular voice at that state tournament venue, as part of his career as Eastern Illinois University’s stadium announcer for Panther Football and Basketball. However, his most permanent and productive IHSA Championship home has come not from March Madness, but from the Spring Spectacular. In 1991, Matt joined the announcing staff of the Boys Track & Field State Final Meet. In 1992, he was requested to join the Girls Track and Field State Final Meet staff, and from that time forward he has been considered the voice of the State Final Track Meets. As part of his preparation for the championship weekends each May, Matt spends time each season calling indoor and outdoor meets across Illinois. In November, 2006, Matt had the opportunity to join the officials group at Detweiller Park, Peoria, for the Boys and Girls Cross Country State Final. His assignment there has been to provide live “play-by-play” of each of the six races as transmitted from the lead truck. In that same year, EIU became the host of the IHSA Badminton finals, and at that single class championship, Matt has been the Master of Ceremonies and the Meet Announcer. Matt is a 1975 graduate of Dolton (Thornridge) where he was part of two State Championship performances in Drama (1972) and Readers Theatre (1975). He is a graduate of EIU, where he continues to serve his alma mater as master of ceremonies at commencement and other special events.
Sally is an associate professor at Eastern Illinois University, teaching history of American journalism and writing courses for the department of journalism. She advises EIU’s Warbler yearbook and the Society for Collegiate Journalists. For the past six years, she has served as the co-host and co-manager of the IHSA Journalism State Final at Eastern Illinois University. She was instrumental in the development of the state tournament from its inception. Her expertise was valuable in setting up the Terms and Conditions and formalizing the state final competition. Sally, along with James Tidwell, believed that the tournament would give students in our state the exposure and recognition that often times is overlooked with student publications. Throughout her career, Sally has worked with high school and college journalism programs, both in the classroom and with events. She is a frequent speaker at state and national high school and college journalism conventions and workshops, and she has written articles for high school and college publications. She also is the Executive Director of the Illinois Journalism Education Association, which supports Illinois high school journalism advisers and educators, and is the immediate past president of the College Media Association, which supports college media advisers and educators.
James, professor and chair of the journalism department at Eastern Illinois University, has been a college educator since 1973. Before joining the EIU faculty in 1987, he taught journalism at Indiana University Southeast and at Tulsa (Okla.) Community College. From 1969-73, he was a reporter and editor for several daily newspapers in Oklahoma. At EIU, he teaches communication law and is a legal adviser to student media. James, along with Sally Renaud, is the host and manager of the IHSA Journalism State Final at EIU. He was involved with the development of the tournament from its inception. He wanted to recognize the skills of students who work with their newspapers and yearbooks. He and Sally were instrumental in developing a competition with fifteen categories where the students could display their talents in a head-to-head onsite competition.
He is a member of the College Media Association’s Hall of Fame and the Illinois Journalism Education Association Hall of Fame. James has been awarded the Reid Montgomery Distinguished Service Award and the Louis Ingelhart First Amendment Award from the College Media Association. In addition, he also has been awarded the Medal of Merit from the Journalism Education Association, the David Adams Journalism Educator of the Year Award from the Scholastic Journalism Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois Journalism Education Association.
Patti retired in 2008 after serving 35 years in south suburban high schools. She successfully taught and coached speech and drama at perennial powerhouse Thornwood High School in South Holland. During her tenure, she garnered five IHSA Group Interpretation Championships from 1981-1993 at Thornwood and won three consecutive IHSA Drama State Championships at Homewood-Flossmoor. She then continued her career as an administrator/curriculum coordinator for language arts at Rich Central in Olympia Fields. In 1992, Patti was appointed to the IHSA Drama and Group Interpretation Advisory Committee and became the chairperson of the state final committee in 2003. For the last eight years, she has served as the State Final Manager for the IHSA Drama/Group Interpretation State Finals. She also serves the IHSA as the coordinator for the Performance in the Round competition at the Individual Events State Final. Her leadership on the Advisory Committee has helped make the tournaments the premier events they are today. Patti’s mission is to engage, educate and inspire others through performing arts. Her unfailing effort to help directors and students strengthen their character, emotional development and self-esteem through drama is unfounded. In 2010, she became a member of the Joseph Jefferson committee in Chicago where she evaluates as many as 180 plays a year. The play really is the thing in her life.
5th Annual IHSA Distinguished Service Award winners are:
- Patty Burke of Palatine High School
- Jerry Dobbs of Palatine High School
- Jeff Fritzen of Normal
- Jan Heiteen of Downers Grove
- Annie Hernandez of Palatine High School
- Steve Kouri of Peoria
- Amy Kurey of Palatine High School
- Terry Murphy of Palatine High School
- Sandy Oldham of Palatine High School
- Tony Pisano of Germantown Hills
- Joe Plack of Deerfield
- Bill Roeder of Peoria
Brief biographies of the award winners follow:
From 1970 to 2002, Patty taught physical education at Palatine High School and in 2005 was named the school’s Sports Coordinator. She served in various capacities during her tenure and was a Founding Member of the Illinois Drill Team Association. She also helped organize the Illinois Cheerleading Coaches Association and its state competition. Patty was an active member of the IAHPERD, presented at its state conventions, and worked at the on-site registration.
Patty has helped with the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Finals since it was first held at Palatine High School. Throughout the years she has assisted the Meet Director, Sandy Oldham, in various capacities from set-up to take-down.
Patricia is married to Johnny.
Jerry has served as the Athletic Director at Palatine High School since 1997 and has been a big part of the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Finals hosted by the school. His leadership and commitment to the sport have helped make the event, which Palatine has hosted since 1979, one of the best in the nation.
Jerry is a graduate of Sullivan High School and Eastern Illinois University. He has taught at Buda Western, Villa Grove, Rochester, Lake Zurich and Schaumburg High Schools during his career. In addition, he has coached football, boys basketball and track prior to beginning his position at Palatine High School.
Jerry has served on various IHSA Advisory Committees and hosted numerous Regionals, Sectionals and State Finals during his tenure.
In addition to serving as a seven-term Councilman for the Town of Normal, Jeff is the Executive Vice-President of Bloomington Offset Process, Inc.
Since 1997, Jeff has been the voice of the IHSA Girls Basketball State Finals and the Girls Basketball Happening at Redbird Arena. His delivery resonates throughout the arena, contributing to the electric atmosphere and providing recognition to the players.
Jeff has also been the announcer at the Boys Football State Finals since 1998. His ties to football go back to 1974 when he covered the first IHSA Playoffs as a reporter for the Bloomington Pantagraph.
Jeff’s community involvement includes the Fellowship of Christian Athletes – North Central Illinois Region, Illinois State University Alumni Association, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund, Unit 5 School District and the Bloomington-Normal Community Campus Committee.
Jeff received the Stretch Miller Award for Service to Athletics at Illinois State University in 2008, the Pioneer Hall of Fame Award in 2004, the E. Burton Mercier Alumni Service Award at ISU in 2002, the Citizen of the Year in the Town of Normal in 1999 and the Outstanding Graduate in Speech Communication Award at ISU in 1998.
He and Judy have been married since 1978 and have a son, Tyler, and two daughters, Audra and Jenna.
Jan has been the Head Speech Coach at Downers Grove South High School since 1980. As Drama Director, she has directed over 80 plays, musicals, and talent shows.
Her Speech Teams have won 14 IHSA Individual Events State Championships and have finished in second place seven times. In addition, her teams have garnered one state championship and one second place finish in Drama & Group Interpretation. Jan has coached 55 IHSA Individual Events state champions, three state champions in Performance in the Round and one in Creative Sportsmanship.
She has served as the Regional and Sectional Manager for IHSA contests in Speech and Drama & Group Interpretation since 1980. Downers Grove South served as the host for the State Tournament in 1985 and 2002.
Jan serves the IHSA as the State Chair for Individual Events and has been an adjudicator for the IHSA Sectional and State Tournaments in Drama & Group Interpretation.
Jan is a life member and past president of the Illinois Speech and Theatre Association. She is also an Illini District Chair of the National Forensic League where she has served as a member of the Oral Interpretation Rules Committee and participated in the NFL 2009 Summer Leadership Conference.
Annie has worked at Palatine High School for 33 years and has served as the Athletic Director’s Secretary since 1986. She served as the Student Supervisor at Palatine from 1977 to 1986.
Since 1979, when the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final was first conducted at Palatine High School, Annie has worked at every meet. She has been one of those friendly voices you like to hear when you call the school for information regarding the state final.
When her daughter, Michele, was attending Fremd High School, Annie was able to watch her compete in and win the floor exercise event in 1985, 1986 and 1987.
She has been married to Clement for 50 years and has three children – Larry, Jeff and Michele – and eight grandchildren.
Judge Steve Kouri is being honored tonight for being instrumental in bringing the March Madness Experience to life in Peoria. Steve served as the Co-Chairman of the IHSA Boys Basketball Steering Committee from 1995 to 2004 and as a committee member from 1995 to the present. He has had a vital role in the overall success and development of the March Madness Experience.
Steve was elected to serve as a Circuit Court Judge in the 10th Judicial Circuit in 2002. He received the WEEK/InterBusiness News Central Illinois Top Ten Most Powerful Leaders Award in 1995; the 2000 Illinois Governor’s Conference on Tourism Individual Friend of Tourism Award, the 2002 Peoria Area Convention and Visitors’ Bureau Person of the Year Award; the 2006 Chuck Schofield Memorial Award for Community Service; the 2007 Boys and Girls Club Helping Hand Award; and, the 2008 Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame Neve Harms Meritorious Service Award.
Steve has also been very active in the Peoria community serving on the Peoria City Council, the Easter Seals/UPC Board of Directors, Peoria Area Convention and Visitors’ Bureau Board of Directors, Bradley University Braves Club, City/County Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee, Peoria Riverfront Commission, OSF Foundation Board, Peoria Notre Dame High School Foundation Board and the Catholic Cemetery Association Board.
Amy is a 1998 graduate of Palatine High School. In 2003, she graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in Physical Education. She received her Master’s Degree in Education in 2006 and has been teaching physical education at Palatine High School for the past eight years.
Amy has been the co-meet director for the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Finals for the past eight years. Her work ethic and leadership have helped provide a venue where the participants and fans feel welcome. She has been instrumental in providing a once in a lifetime experience for the student-athletes participating in the state final.
Amy currently resides in Palatine with her husband, Jason, and their two sons – Anthony and Joey.
Serving as the Athletic Staff Assistant at Palatine High School for the past nine years, Terry has been very involved with the Girls Gymnastics State Finals hosted by the school. She has been instrumental in providing an outstanding venue for the state final.
Terry worked for the Palatine Park District from 1995 to 2002. From 2000 to 2003, she was the Treasurer of the Palatine High School Parents Club.
In her capacity as the Athletic Staff Assistant, she has been honored to work and attend many IHSA state series events, including the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final.
Terry is married to Joe and has two sons – Joe and Mike.
Sandy has worn many hats during her career. She has been a physical education teacher for 34 years, a Girls Gymnastics coach for 28 years, and a Girls Gymnastics Judge for 34 years. In addition, she has served as a Girls Gymnastics Clinician.
Sandy served as the Meet Director of the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final Meet at Palatine High School for 32 years. Her tireless energy has helped provide a first class state final for the student-athletes participating in the meet. She has provided leadership to establish the state final as one of the best in the USA.
During her years of coaching, Sandy was named the Connecticut Coach of the Year in 1977 and the Illinois Coach of the Year in 1988. Her teams received nine team trophies, including team championships in 1988 and 1989.
Sandy is now retired and enjoying life traveling with her son and his wife.
Tony is being honored tonight for his contributions in bringing the vision of the March Madness Experience to reality. One of the original members of the March Madness Steering Committee, Tony has worked over the last fifteen years to bring an outstanding event for all ages to the IHSA Boys Basketball State Finals venue in Peoria. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Tip Off Banquet and the Supervisor of the Center Court Committee for the March Madness Experience.
Tony was a Board member of the Heart of Illinois Hospitality Association from 1992 to 2006 and the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau from 1997 to 2006. He also served on the Inaugural Tri-County Sports Commission, the American Heart Association and the City of Peoria Planning Commission.
Tony has been married to Ginny for 27 years and has three sons – Michael, Mario and Nicholas.
During his 43 years as an IHSA Official, Joe has served the IHSA in many different capacities. He has served on the IHSA Swimming and Diving Advisory Committee for thirteen years. In addition, he has served as an IHSA Clinician since 1997.
At the Boys and Girls Swimming and Diving State Finals, Joe has been the Meet Referee twelve times. He has also been selected to serve as the Diving Referee fourteen times and the Starter eleven times. Joe has also received numerous assignments as the Head Finish Judge, Head Timer and Coordinator of Officials. In addition, he as served as the Meet Referee at the Sectional level numerous times throughout his career.
Joe has been instrumental in providing clinics, manuals and training for swimming officials. With his assistance, changes have been made by the advisory committee to improve swimming and diving officiating and provide better conditions for the competitors.
Joe was inducted into the Illinois State University Sports Hall of Fame in 1976. In 2005, Joe was inducted into the Illinois Swimming Hall of Fame and was named the Illinois Swimming Official of the Year. He received the NFIOA State Service Award in Girls Swimming and Diving in 1996 and in Boys Swimming and Diving in 1991, 1993 and 2000.
The March Madness Experience would not be possible without the hard work of Bill Roeder and the other members of the March Madness Steering Committee. Bill has served on the committee since 1997. He has played a key role in planning and refreshing the event each year. Bill has been onhand during the event to provide whatever is needed. He has been an essential part of the leadership team in providing an experience that everyone will remember for the rest of their lives.
Bill is the Superintendent, Riverfront Division, of the Peoria Park District.
4th Annual IHSA Distinguished Service Award winners are:
- John Anderson of Rockford
- Bonnie Harper of Rockford
- Richard Hecathorn of Leland
- Dick Inman of Earlville
- Dave Kidwell of Charleston
- Kerry Krempasky of Metropolis
- Bud Lachel of West Dundee
- Mike Manahan of Bloomington
- Mickey Pruitt of Chicago
- John Sommer of Rockford
- Fred Vogt of Pekin
- John Widmayer of Woodstock
Brief biographies of the award winners follow:
Serving as one of the current site managers for the Girls Bowling State Finals is John Anderson. John and Bonnie Harper serve as the heart and soul of the bowling tournament. He has been active with youth bowling programs for over thirty years.
John has served in various capacities: Northern Illinois Bowling Proprietors Association President, Rockford Area Youth USBC President, Illinois State Bowling Proprietors Association Director and Assistant Zone 1 Director Illinois United States Bowling Congress.
He also serves on the Rockford Area High School Bowling Board of Directors and is the Rockford Area Middle School Bowling Commissioner.
Bonnie is one of the current site managers at Cherry Bowl Lanes, the host of the IHSA Girls Bowling State Finals. Bonnie and John Anderson work hand-in-hand to run Cherry Bowl Lanes. Through her leadership during the past 15 years, the tournament has become kid and fan friendly.
Bonnie has been the manager at Cherry Bowl since 1995. She has been a member of the WIBC for 48 years and has held numerous offices at the local, state and national level. In addition, she has been involved in numerous state and national tournaments.
She has been very involved in volunteer work as an instructor, director and assistant in the junior program. In 2001, Bonnie received the meritorious Illinois Girls Coaches Association Appreciation Award from the IGCA. She was inducted into the Rockford Area Bowlers Hall of Fame in 2003.
Bonnie commented that her greatest contribution and love is for the junior leagues and high school bowling.
Rick was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2005 as a "Friend of Basketball". He was recruited by Dick Inman to serve on the bench crew at the IHSA Girls Basketball State Finals in 1995. He has served as a scorekeeper, timer and scorer during his tenure. Rick has always tracked the stats needed to complete the NFHS data as well as his other duties on the bench.
Rick started working at the table for Leland High School home games in 1970. By the early 1980s, he was the scorekeeper for all the grade school and high school home basketball games.
Rick is a graduate of Leland High School. Prior to his retirement in March of
2010, he was employed as a truck mechanic at a local trucking firm before becoming a Laborer in the construction field.
In 1995, Dick was recruited by Don Robinson to work on the girls basketball bench crew for a "year or two." He served in that capacity for fifteen years.
Dick was Mr. All Everything at Earlville High School. He was the head coach in ten different sports at Earlville and served as the athletic director.
In addition to serving on the bench crew, Dick was president of the Little Ten Conference from 1975-86, was the IADA district representative for seven years and was named a Class A Outstanding Athletic Director of the Year in 1993. Dick served on the IHSA Athletic Administrators Advisory Committee from 1979-81. He was also an IHSA official in basketball for twelve years. He was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2000.
Dick passed away on March 22, shortly after the girls basketball tournaments. His friendship will be missed by everyone in the IHSA community.
Dave is the Assistant Athletic Director/Special Projects Manager at Eastern Illinois University. He has assisted with the administration of the Girls Track & Field State Finals since 1973 and the Boys Track & Field State Finals since 1974. In addition, he has been involved with the administration of Boys Basketball Super-Sectionals, Boys Baseball Super-Sectionals, Girls Softball Super-Sectionals and the Girls Volleyball State Finals when EIU hosted the event in 1975.
He was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2005, he was named the Honorary Referee of the IHSA Girls Track & Field State Finals. He also received the Community Service Award from the Illinois Parks & Recreation Association/Charleston Parks & Recreation Department.
Dave has also been involved in his community. He coached youth baseball for eight years, served three years as the PTO Treasurer at Carl Sandburg Elementary School and served six years on the Charleston Education in Excellence Foundation Board of Directors.
Kerry began serving as a girls basketball bench official when the tournament was in Champaign in 1988 and made the move to ISU in 1992.
Kerry has been an IHSA official in basketball since 1979 and received her 25th and 30th year awards. She has been licensed in softball since 1981 and received her IHSA 25 year award in 2005 and will receive her 30th year award in 2010. She is also licensed with the Kentucky High School Athletic Association in softball and basketball. In 1999, Kerry umpired the Kentucky Softball State Finals in Owensboro, KY.
Since 1988, Kerry has been the computer school board operator for all home games in football and basketball and also served as the official scorekeeper for Massac County High School in Metropolis. In addition, she has been a statistician for football.
She is employed in the Joppa Maple Grove School District where she served as the girls softball coach from 1999-2002 and has worked the computer scoreboard for the past twelve years.
Bud is the other member who followed the girls basketball tournament from the U of I to ISU in 1992. He has worked a total of 21 girls tournaments and 2 boys tournaments.
Bud began teaching at Cary-Grove High School during the 1966-67 school year and taught social science. He retired from teaching in 2001 after 35 years. He has served as the Cary-Grove High School boys basketball scorer since 1967. He also announced Cary-Grove football games for thirty years.
Bud has coached the Cary-Grove boys tennis team since 1969, the Cary-Grove girls tennis team since 1974 and was a scholastic bowl coach at the school for 23 years. He hosted many boys and girls tennis sectionals as well as scholastic bowl sectionals. He also served on the boys and girls state tennis seeding committee for approximately thirty years.
Mike began his coaching career at Bloomington Junior High School and went on to coach at University High School in Normal and Eureka High School before starting the wrestling program at Olympia High School in 1972. He has a career record of 421 wins, 361 losses and 3 ties, including three conference championships and 9 regional championships.
Mike had 55 state qualifiers, 18 place winners and 4 state champions during his career.
The former IHSA Wrestling Advisory Committee member and State Final Grand Marshall has hosted several IHSA Regional and Sectional wrestling tournaments and also served as the manager of the IHSA State Dual Team Wrestling Tournament.
Mike received Coach of the Year accolades from the IWCOA in 2001 and was named National Coach of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association one year later. He has also been inducted into both organizations' Halls of Fame.
A 47-year wrestling official, Mike was named the Wrestling Man of the Year award winner in 2005 and was also honored with the IWCOA's Lifetime Service Award.
Mickey was a standout athlete playing under the direction of his father at Robeson High School and came full circle in 1999 when he became a Chicago Public Schools sports administrator.
Mickey is the coordinator for football, wrestling and lacrosse as well as the Lane Stadium Director. Mickey currently serves on the NFHS Football Rules Committee as recommended by the IHSA. He hires the officials for all wrestling and football contests and also serves as the education coordinator for the football and wrestling officials hired by Chicago Public Schools.
Mickey has served as one of the main table workers at the Individual Wrestling State Finals for the past eight years. In addition, he has also coordinated the public school wrestling program and runs the Chicago Public Schools wrestling tournament each year.
Prior to joining the Chicago Public Schools staff, Mickey was an assistant football defensive backs coach at the University of Hawaii and a graduate assistant linebackers coach at the University of Colorado. He was a linebacker on the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl XXVII championship winning team and also served as a linebacker for the Chicago Bears, where he received the Brian Piccolo Award for Dedication and Enthusiasm.
When the girls bowling state final moved to Cherry Bowl Lanes, John was the President of the Bowling Proprietors Association. John has helped the growth of bowling in the state through his leadership as the state final host and with his influence in the bowling community around the state.
John's 40-plus year career in bowling began as a porter at Don Carter Lanes in Rockford while he was still in high school. After college and serving in the U.S. Army, he returned to Rockford to manage the bowling center, expanding the business to include six centers in Northern Illinois. He founded the Youth of Northern Illinois Bowling Foundation which has provided more than $1,000,000 dollars in scholarships to area youth bowlers.
A past president of the Northern Illinois Bowling Proprietors, John currently serves on the Bowling Proprietors' Association of American Board of Directors and on the BPAA Tournament Committee. The co-founder and Chairman of the Professional Women's Bowling Association, he has been instrumental in the revival of the BPAA In-School program and the BVL "Bowlers Salute to Troops." John has also been inducted into the Hall of Fame for the BPAA, PWBA and USBC.
Fred served the IHSA as an Assistant to the Director for Speech Individual Events and Drama/Group Interpretation from 1998-2004. Prior to his retirement, Fred served Pekin High School as an educator, director and forensic coach. He was the East Campus principal for four years and was also the Math Department Chair from 1994-2009. He is currently working as the Secretary to the Assistant Principals at the school.
As a director, Fred had the prestigious honor to win a state championship in 1986 with his direction of the Group Interpretation titled "Wings". He also coached the state champion in Radio Speaking in 1995-96.
Fred remains actively involved in the Illinois Speech and Theatre Association and has served on and chaired the Drama/Group Interpretation State Tournament Committee.
He was selected by the Pekin High School Seniors as the honorary initiate into the National Honor Society in 1989 and received the PCHS outstanding Contribution Award in 2001.
John has worked at Redbird arena for the IHSA Girls Basketball State Finals since 1992.
John has been a licensed official in football for 40 years, basketball for 39 years and softball for 21 years. He has officiated in ten state finals--three girls basketball state finals as a floor official in 2002, 2003 and 2006; three football playoffs in 1986, 1987 and 1990; and, the Girls Softball State Finals 1997, 1998 and 2002. The rest of the years, he served as a bench official and timer.
He served as the official scorer at the Class AA Boys Basketball State Finals in 1983
and 1984. In addition, John was a member of the IHSA Football Advisory Committee from 1991-94.
Since 1969, John has served as the scorer and timer at Woodstock High School. In addition to those duties, he also served as an assignor for the Fox Valley Conference from 1978-84 and the North Suburban Conference from 1994-99.
He retired from the engineering staff of McHenry County Highway Department in 1997.
3rd Annual IHSA Distinguished Service Award winners are:
- Mike Biggs of Bloomington
- Leanna Bordner of Normal
- Anthony Clarke of Zion
- Dan Dietrich of Peoria
- Bob Dollaske of Park Ridge
- Win Eggers of Chicago
- Paul Herzog of Germantown Hills
- Chuck Kessler of Northbrook
- Debi Neff of Morton
- Chris Perry of Peoria
- Gary Slettum of Elgin
- Marty Woerter of Elmwood Park
Brief biographies of the award winners follow.
Since 1992, Mike has served as the Girls Basketball State Final Volunteer Coordinator. During that time, he has worked with over 5,000 coaches, players, administrators and cheerleaders to guide them through their memorable trip to the Girls Basketball State Finals at Redbird Arena on the Illinois State University campus. He organizes and meets with the team hosts as well as the other volunteer coordinators months before the tournament begins. Mike has also volunteered his time to work the at the Girls Volleyball and Competitive Cheerleading State Finals and at the Boys Basketball Super-Sectional.
Mike has given exemplary service to the IHSA as well as to its member schools, coaches, players and fans throughout the girls basketball community.
One of Leanna's first assignments when she came to ISU Athletics was to serve as the state final manager of the IHSA Girls Volleyball State Final. She also served as the state final manager of the IHSA Girls Basketball State Final. Her organizational, leadership and other skills have been instrumental in conducting first class tournaments at Illinois State University. Leanna has been instrumental in supporting the mission of the IHSA and has provided unparalleled experiences for our student-athletes.
She serves on the senior management team in the athletic department. She is the Senior Women's Administrator and supervises twelve sports in addition to the day-to-day operations for two other sports. She is the department liaison to the Missouri Valley Conference office, a member of the Officiating, Marketing and Conference Relations Committee, Chairs the Women's Basketball Marketing Committee. She also serves on the Athletic Council Gender Equity Committee and the Homecoming Steering Committee.
In the community, Leanna serves on the Red Cross Board, the McLean County Chamber Board and is a member of the Bloomington Kiwanis.
Anthony has served the IHSA in many capacities. He began officiating wrestling in 1984 and achieved the rank of Certified Official in 1991. He has also served as a Wrestling Rules Interpreter and a Wrestling Clinician. In addition, he was a member of the IHSA Wrestling Advisory Committee. Anthony has served as the Wrestling Assignment Chairperson for the Mid-Suburban and West Suburban Conferences since 2000. For the last four years, he has served as a volunteer wrestling coach at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein.
He has worked 22 Wrestling Regionals, 18 Sectionals and 16 State Finals (3 Dual Team and 15 Individual). He served as the Head Official for the Dual Team State Tournament in 2003 and 2009 and as the Head Official for the Individual State Tournament in 2005 and 2008. Anthony received the NFOA State Service Award for Wrestling in 2000 and the IWCOA Official of the Year in Wrestling in 1996. He was inducted into the Illinois Wrestling Coaches Official Association Hall of Fame in 2005.
A career educator, Dan has been a teacher in Bement and Chillicothe. Dan holds a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Music Education. He has been in his current position at Illinois Valley Central High School since 1980. The IVC Band is well known around the state for its numerous appearances at state and national events. They have been Class State Champions from 1990-95 and in 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006. The IVC Pep Band has been selected three times to perform at the IHSA Boys Basketball State Tournament. The Jazz group has placed in their class and produced several All State Musicians over the years, many of whom have gone on to professional careers.
Dan served on the IHSA Music Advisory Committee for two terms and was the IHSA Assistant to the Director in charge of Music until that position was eliminated. In 1999, School Band and Orchestra Magazine named Dan one of its "50 Directors that Make a Difference." He was awarded the Friend of Youth Award by the Chillicothe Optimists in 2003 and received the National Federation Outstanding Educator of the Year Award in 2006. In 2007, he received the Illinois Music Educator's Association Distinguished Service Award and the National Federation's Music Educator of the Year for the Midwest.
Bob spent his entire thirty-five year career at Maine East High School as an English teacher, soccer coach and Director of Athletics. His 1975 team finished as runners-up in the IHSA Boys Soccer State Final. He also served as the first president of the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association which was established in 1971.
For thirty-eight years, Bob has served on the press box crew for Boys Soccer. He also served as the TV color commentator for both boys and girls soccer state finals for several years. Bob has been the recipient of the IHSSCA Coach of the Year, Man of the Year and was inducted into the IHSSCA Hall of Fame. He was a member of the IHSA Soccer Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors of the National Soccer Coaches Association of American and received the NSCAA National Coach of the Year award in 1975 and the Robert W. Robinson Award in 2005, the highest honor for a high school coach given by the NSCAA.
Win has been an IHSA Licensed Official since 1997. She has served as a volunteer at both the Boys and Girls Sectional and State Final meets for the last 23 years. In addition, she served as an assistant coach at Downers Grove North High School for nineteen years. She officiated at the Special Olympics Regionals for six years and at the World Special Olympics for two years.
She received the U.S. Women's Track Coaches Association Service Award in 2000, the National Federation Track and Field Official for Illinois Award in 2000. In addition she has received the following USATF Awards: John R. Davis Humanitarian in 2002, Officials Chair award in 2005 and, President's Award in 2005.
Since 1996, Paul has been "the voice" of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament at Carver Arena. During that time, he has also served as the announcer of the IHSA's Boys Basketball Happening bringing the same passion and professionalism to those events as he does tournament games. For five years, he served as the Master of Ceremonies for the Boys Basketball Championship Tip-Off Banquet. Paul also serves on the March Madness Steering Committee. He also designed and implemented the game-by-game timeline which integrates pep band, video board, sponsorship commercials, public service announcements, half-time programs and game flow during the Boys Basketball State Final.
In addition to his many years serving as the announcer for the boys basketball tournament, Paul served as the Master of Ceremonies for the Cross Country State Final Awards Ceremonies for ten years.
During his thirty-four year tenure at Maine East High School, Chuck taught English and also coached freshman and sophomore soccer. He has served as an announcer at the Boys Soccer State Final since the tournament's inception and only missed one year (1975 when he coached the Maine East team to a second place finish).
Chuck has also provided historical soccer tournament information as well as the statistical data that is available on the IHSA web site. To ensure consistency, he volunteered his time and expertise to the new bench official crews.
Debi has served the IHSA in many capacities during her career. She has been a teacher, coach, athletic director and official. She coached basketball, volleyball and track at Northwestern High School. For the past fourteen years, she has been teaching and coaching at East Peoria High School where she serves as Lead Teacher for Health, Driver Education and Physical Education. She celebrated her 300th victory in softball and in 2007 received the Illinois Coaches Association coach of the year award.
For twenty-five years, Debi has been a licensed volleyball official, working five state finals, and serving as a rules interpreter since 1996. She received the National Federation Official of the year award in 1996 and 2003.
For the past eight years, she has served as the IHSA Girls Softball State Final Tournament Director and as a member of the Girls Softball Advisory Committee. In addition, she has served the IHSA as a scorer at the Boys Golf State Final, an Announcer at the Boys Volleyball State Final, an Assistant Announcer at the Boys and Girls Track and Field State Finals, a Presenter at the IHSA Officials Conference and a Train the Trainer for the Certified Clinician program.
Chris began his teaching and coaching career at Woodruff High School in January of 1978. During his career, he coached Cross Country, Boys Soccer and Boys Track and Field. He served as the Dean of Students at Peoria High School beginning in 1987 and in 1992, added the duties of Activities Director. At that time, he took over the job of Manager of the IHSA Boys and Girls Cross Country State Final.
He has served the IHSA by being a member of the Boys/Girls Cross Country Advisory Committee, the All-State Academic Selection Committee the Steering Committee for March Madness. He has been a Certified Track and Field Official since 2003 and has served as a Starter, Assistant Starter or Referee at nearly sixty cross country and track and field sectionals. He has also served as a member of the officials crew at the Boys Track and Field State Final for over thirty years.
Gary began working the IHSA Boys Soccer State Final in 1978 during his student teaching experience at Maine East High School. He has served as a statistician and press box liaison. He taught middle school physical education and coached soccer and baseball at Waukegan East and Waukegan West High Schools. In the early eighties, he transitioned to a business career where he has served as a Human Resources Executive in the metro Chicago area.
For over thirty-one years, Gary has retained his passion for high school soccer and has continuously volunteered his services at the IHSA Boys Soccer State Final.
Marty taught English at Westchester High School for three years and then at Maine East High School from 1969-2002. He served as an assistant boys soccer coach for twenty-three years. He was also a licensed official in soccer at the high school level.
Since 1972, Marty has served as an announcer at the Boys Soccer State Final. He helped create the standard which the Class 1A Boys Soccer and the Class 1-3A Girls Soccer bench crews follow. He has been instrumental in providing historical data and statistics to the IHSA web site. When the new bench crews were formed for the boys and girls tournaments, he volunteered his time to ensure there was consistency in the way statistics were recorded.
2nd Annual IHSA Distinguished Service Award winners are:
- John Bailey, Jr. of Shiloh, track official and advisory committee member
- Blaise Blasko of Glen Ellyn, boys gymnastics official and officials advisory committee member
- Jerry Bretag of Ottawa, IHSA records
- Al Cornish of Dunlap, boys golf state final manager and sports medicine advisory committee member
- Geza Ehrentreu of Rockford, track and field and cross country official, clinician
- John Elder of Alexis, legislative commission, IHSA strategic planning
- Carol Koszola of Hoffman Estates, multisport state final volunteer
- James (Jimmie) Lewis, Jr. of Northwoods, MO, track state final volunteer
- Joe Pedersen of Naperville, wrestling official, wrestling state final manager
- John Polka of Oak Park, track and field official, track and field advisory committee member, interpreter and clinician
- Phil Salzer of Peoria, track and field advisory committee member, track and field state final meet manager
- Jean Walker of Arlington Heights, girls tennis state final meet manager
Brief biographies of the award winners follow.
John Bailey, Jr.
John is the retired principal of Lincoln High School in East St. Louis and former federal law enforcement officer. For the past 30 years, he has served as a volunteer official at the IHSA Girls Track and Field State Finals where he served on the Games Committee and Jury of Appeals. He also served as a field event inspector, member of the dugout staff and awards custodian. John was also a long-time member of the IHSA Boys/Girls Track Advisory Committee. In 2004, he was named Honorary Referee at the Girls Track and Field State Final. John continues to enjoy his annual trip to the IHSA Track and Field State Finals and finds it to be a rewarding experience that he greatly looks forward to attending each spring.
A career educator, Blaise wore a number of hats until his retirement in 2001. He was a teacher, coach and athletic director at Glenbard West High School, serving the IHSA on a number of advisory committees during his career. Blaise became an IHSA registered official in Boys Gymnastics in 1975 and has worked 23 IHSA Boys Gymnastics State Final meets. He is the only IHSA Certified Boys Gymnastics Clinician. For the past nine years, Blaise has been a member of the National Federation of State High School Associations Boys Gymnastics Advisory Committee and a leading voice in boys gymnastics nationally.
In 1998, he was inducted into the Illinois High School Gymnastics Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Blaise was named the National Federation Officials Association Boys Gymnastics Official of the Year in 2001.
For 20 years Jerry has been updating the IHSA database of sports records. Almost 90,000 separate records are listed and Jerry has had a hand in almost every one, processing and deciphering submissions for all-time records that are sent throughout the year by coaches and fans. Jerry started his career as a sportswriter in the Quad Cities. When he retired in 1984, he began recording the IHSA’s growing history. In the early days, Jerry’s long printouts were rolled into scrolls. These days, he transmits his changes to the IHSA Office via the Internet and they are updated on the Web soon after. This year, the IHSA has offered him a new challenge – developing completely new sets of records in Class 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A in five different sports.
Before his retirement in 2002, Al was a teacher and coach at Galesburg, Dunlap and Illinois Valley Central High Schools. He served as athletic director for four years at Dunlap and for eight years at IVC. During the time as A.D., he managed numerous IHSA regional, sectional and super-sectional tournaments. He also was a member of the IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. In addition, he served as the IHSA Class A Boys Golf State Final Manager for four years in the mid-1980s and returned to that capacity since 2005. Al is a member of the Steering Committee for the IHSA Boys Basketball State Finals in Peoria and serves as a team host for the Class 1A and 2A Boys Basketball State Finals. Al was selected as the March Madness Experience Volunteer of the Year in 2003.
Geza became a licensed track official 31 years ago with the help of his high school track coach, Phil Salzer. In his long career, he has served as a starter, referee, and coordinator of officials at both the IHSA Boys and Girls Track and Field State Finals and the IHSA Cross Country State Finals. Geza founded the Illinois Track and Cross Country Officials Association, served as its first president, and is still actively mentoring about 20 officials. He has served as the Head Clinician for IHSA Track and Field and Cross Country since the inception of the clinician program. Geza was the recipient of the NFOA Illinois Cross Country Official of the Year Award in 1999 and 2000 and was named the Honorary Referee for Cross Country in 2002 and in Girls Track and Field in 2007.
John was head football coach at Alexis High School from 1965-93 and also worked as assistant basketball coach and head track coach for shorter periods. He was junior-senior high school principal from 1968-95 and superintendent from 1984-95 until his retirement. John has served the Illinois Coaches Association as Executive Director since 1980 and as State Football Chairman since 1976. A member of the IHSA Legislative Commission for six years, John also served on the IHSA Strategic Planning Committee in 1996 and 2008. John has been inducted into both the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the National High School Athletic Coaches Association National Hall of Fame. In 2008 John received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Organization of Coaches Association Directors and in 2003 the Gerald Ford All-American Coach Award from the All-American Football Foundation.
Carol began her career as a teacher at Lake Park High School in 1972 and played a vital role in establishing its girls sports programs. She also served as Dean of Students and Assistant Athletic Director and coached volleyball (12 years), track and field (7), softball (6) and basketball (1). Carol served on a number of IHSA committees and ran the Three-Point Showdown and softball Hitting Derby. For 13 years, Carol has been the assistant manager for the IHSA Girls Bowling State Final and for the last eight a P.A. announcer at the IHSA Girls Volleyball State Final. She served as a finish line official at the Girls Track and Field State Final from 1980-99 and a Girls Badminton tournament official from 1996-2002. In 1997, Carol was inducted into the Illinois Girls Coaches Association Hall of Fame and served as its president from 1998-2002.
James (Jimmie) Lewis, Jr.
At East St. Louis Sr. High School, Jimmie served as an assistant coach in track and field from 1967-72, head track and field coach from 1972-79. He served as the Principal of Lincoln Senior High School the last five years of his career prior to his retirement in 1999. Jimmie has officiated at IHSA boys track and field meets for 37 years, in many roles from long jump judge to the jury of appeals, currently holding down the position of dugout supervisor. He’s worked in a similar capacity at the Girls State Meet for 15 years. Jimmie also served two terms as a member of the IHSA Track and Field Advisory Committee. Jimmie was recognized as the Illinois Track and Field Coach of the Year in 1974-75 and 1976-77 and was inducted into the Illinois Coaches Hall of Fame in 1983.
Joe began his teaching career at Eisenhower Junior High School in Darien, Illinois. His coached wrestling at the junior high and later at Hinsdale South and Downers Grove South, with his teams winning over 400 dual meets, 11 regionals and 3 sectionals. Joe became an IHSA licensed official about the same time he started coaching and has served over thirty years as a wrestling official, working many IHSA regionals and sectionals as well as the State Dual Team and Individual State Finals. Early in his career he served as a volunteer bench official; for the last six years he has been tournament manager. Joe was honored as the IWCOA Man of the Year in 1995, elected to the IWCOA Hall of Fame in 1996 and was a Grand Marshal at the Individual State Wrestling Tournament.
John has coached cross country and track and field at Fenwick High School since 1966. He began officiating at the IHSA state track and field meets in 1972 and worked as the starter-referee at both the girls and boys state meets from 1992-2001. For the past two years, he has served as the meet manager for both state meets. He has been an IHSA rules interpreter since 2000 and a track clinician since 2001. John is currently a member of the IHSA Track and Field Advisory Committee and the IHSA Officials Advisory Committee. He received the National Federation Illinois Boys Track Officials Award in 2001 and the ITCCCA Outstanding Officials Award in 2006. John was inducted into the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2001, and in 2004 was named the IHSA Boys Track and Field Honorary Referee.
Phil taught in the Peoria School District for over thirty years where he held various positions in teaching and coaching. From 1978-2004, he served as a member of the IHSA Boys & Girls Track and Field Advisory Committees and served as the first chairman when the two combined. In addition, Phil served as the meet manager for both the Girls and Boys Track and Field State Finals. He was a member of the original committee that brought March Madness and the IHSA Boys Basketball State Finals to Peoria in 1996. For 33 years, he has been an officer in the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association. Phil received the prestigious “Ray Eliot” Award in high school football and in 1974 was named the Illinois High School Track and Field Coach of the Year. He has also been inducted into four different halls of fame.
During her years at Prospect High School, Jean coached badminton, tennis and basketball. She served as the first Girls Athletic Director from the 1970s until her retirement in 2000. She hosted many IHSA regionals and sectionals in a variety of sports and also volunteered for duty at state meets in boys gymnastics, girls track and field, girls bowling, girls archery, as well as the softball Hitting Derby and the girls basketball Three-Point Showdown. For 36 years Jean has served the IHSA at the Girls Tennis State Final, first as tournament manager and most recently as assistant tournament manager. She has been present at every Girls Tennis State Final since its inception in 1972. On September 28, 2007, Jean became the first female to have an Illinois high school fieldhouse named in her honor.
1st Annual IHSA Distinguished Service Award winners are:
- Harry Bohn from Clarendon Hills, multisport official
- Dick Deitz from McLeansboro, multisport official
- Gene Drendel of Naperville, wrestling bench official
- Carol Floros of Plainfield South High School, girls bowling tournament manager and multisport bench crew member
- Kathy Krebs of Rich East High School, girls gymnastics official
- Connie Link of Heyworth High School, speech tournament manager
- the late Madelynn Martino of Lansing, multisport official
- Haig Nighohossian of Granite City, multisport official
- Rich Piatchek of Andrew High School, multisport bench crew member and Happening coordinator
- Art Sievers of Monticello, multisport media and press conference coordinator
- Hank Sundeen of Moline, multisport media and press conference coordinator
- Mike Zacate of Mokena, chess tournament director
Brief biographies of the award winners follow.
Harry started his career as an IHSA official in 1967 with baseball and basketball and holds a certified rating in both sports, highlighted by serving as a basketball state final official for three years (1983-85). He has been Head Basketball Clinician for seven years, a basketball rules interpreter for 25 years, a member of the Officials Conference Committee for eight years, and has served as the Coordinator of Officials for the IHSA basketball state finals for both the boys tournament (seven years) and the girls (six). In 1999, Harry was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and in 2007 he was named NFOA Official of the Year in boys basketball.
Dick has been an IHSA official for 50 years and is certified in four sports: basketball, football, baseball, and softball. He officiated the Boys Basketball State Finals in 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1996, highlighted by Class AA title games assignments in 1974 and 1996. Dick has also served as Head Official for the IHSA Football Playoffs. Off the court, he has remained involved with the IHSA as a rules interpreter in basketball and baseball since 1976 and as a clinician in basketball and football. Dick was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1998 and was selected as the Football Official of the Year from Illinois in 2000.
Gene has worked at every IHSA Individual Wrestling State Tournament since 1972, serving as a bench official for 15 years and the public address announcer for the last 20. He has also served as the announcer at Naperville school district wrestling meets for over 20 years and at area track meets since the early 1980s. He is a former teacher, principal, and Associate Superintendent of Secondary Education for Naperville Community School Unit District 203. Although he retired in 1994, he remains active as an instructor in teacher education at North Central College.
Carol and her schools (Streamwood, Jacobs, Plainfield, and Plainfield South) have served as the hosts for the IHSA Girls Bowling State Tournament for the past 14 years. During that time, Carol has helped chart the tournament's course by developing relationships with bowling proprietors, coaches, and organizations. She has also served as public address announcer at the IHSA Girls Volleyball State Final, a judge for the Girls Basketball Happening and the Girls Softball Hitting Derby, and a track official. Through the years, Carol has also served on numerous IHSA ad hoc, advisory, and strategic planning committees.
Involved with girls gymnastics as both coach and administrator at Rich Central and Rich East, Kathy has made 27 state final appearances as an official, including eight as Meet Referee. She is an IHSA certified clinician and rules interpreter in girls gymnastics and served as a commentator for the IHSA Girls Gymnastics State Final telecasts from 1977-81. Kathy has also made contributions on the national level. She has served on the National Federation Girls Gymnastics Rules Committee and will chair the committee beginning with the 2007-08 school term. Kathy was inducted into the Illinois High School Gymnastics Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1998.
Connie has been an educator, director and coach in Illinois for over 35 years. She developed a successful speech program at Heyworth High School and at one time had over half of the student body involved in either speech or drama. She is the state final manager for the IHSA Individual Events Tournament and has also hosted many regional, sectional, and state final speech events. While serving on the IHSA Speech Advisory Committee, Connie works annually with the IHSA staff to review the Terms and Conditions. In 2005, Connie received the National Federation Coach of the Year Award for Speech, Drama, and Debate.
A longtime coach at Lane Tech, Madelynn was a pioneer of Illinois girls sports. In the 1970s, she made speeches in support of competition for girls to the IHSA, the Chicago Board of Education, and the state legislature. She was also a dedicated official, licensed for over 30 years in track, swimming, softball, and volleyball. In swimming and diving, she officiated 25 state final meets. She also served for 27 years as Head Umpire at the Girls Track and Field State Meet, where she was recognized as Honorary Referee in 2003. She worked the Goodwill Games, Prairie State Games, and NCAA indoor track championships, and among many honors, she received an Illinois Path Finder Award in 2004 from the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, and Dance. Madelynn passed away on May 30 and her loss is felt deeply by the entire IHSA community.
Haig was a wrestling coach for eight years at East St. Louis before he set out to start soccer programs at Granite City and Belleville Althoff High Schools. When IHSA adopted boys soccer in the 1970s, he became an IHSA rules interpreter and later added head clinician to his duties. He has also served on the IHSA Officials and Soccer Advisory Committees. As an official, he's worked state finals in boys soccer (15 times), girls soccer (7), and wrestling (12). At the national level, Haig is a certified “Train the Trainer” instructor with NFHS accreditation and is a member of the NFHS soccer rules committee. Haig is the recipient of three NFIOA Service Awards for soccer officiating.
As an Athletic Director at Andrew and Hillcrest High Schools, Rich has hosted various IHSA state series events. He has served on the state final bench crew in football for 15 years and baseball for 27 years. In addition, he has served as the coordinator for the IHSA Happening in boys basketball for 16 years. He was the President of the Illinois Athletic Directors Association in 2005-06, later serving as liaison to the IHSA Board of Directors. Rich also served as a member of the IHSA Athletic Administrators Advisory Committee. He received the Division 3 Athletic Director of the Year award in 2005 and was recently awarded the NFHS Spirit Citation for his active involvement in competitive cheerleading in the state.
Art has served the IHSA in many capacities over the last 35 years. He has been the Media Coordinator for every state championship event held at Illinois State University, starting with the first soccer state finals in 1972 and including football, girls basketball, girls volleyball, and competitive cheerleading. Recently he has also performed those duties for the football championship games at the University of Illinois. Art has served as a table official at the Individual Wrestling State Tournament and since 1977, he has taken on multiple duties at the Boys and Girls Track and Field Meets. He has also provided many photographs for the basketball and track and field state final programs.
For 30 years, Hank has shared his time and talents at numerous IHSA state championship events. He has served as the Press Conference Coordinator at boys and girls basketball as well as the Media Coordinator at the baseball and track and field state finals. He has also served as the IHSA Web site updater for many of the tournaments where he's worked. Hank has also enlisted his son and three grandchildren to assist with the media at various IHSA tournaments. As a freelance reporter for the Rock Island Argus and Moline Dispatch, Hank often wrote program notes for the IHSA state finals for teams he covered in the Quad Cities area. He is closing in on a 30-year career as a Supervisor of Logistics with the Department of the Army at the Rock Island Arsenal.
Michael E. (Fernandez) Zacate
Mike was instrumental in the establishment of the IHSA Chess State Tournament. As an instructor and chess coach at Evergreen Park High School in 1968, he sought IHSA guidance in how to start a statewide chess championship. Organizing the tournament himself for many years, Mike finally persuaded the IHSA to take over the event in 1975. Ever since, Mike has served as chairman of the IHSA Chess Advisory Committee and as Tournament Director, and he was instrumental in writing the Chess Terms and Conditions and IHSA Chess Rule Book. Now retired from teaching and coaching, he retains his IHSA duties and shows no signs of slowing down.