NFHS Hall of Fame

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) honored the first NFHS National High School Hall of Fame class in 1982. The NFHS National High School Hall of Fame has since become the highest honor that can be bestowed upon individuals in the high school realm. The NFHS National High School Hall of Fame honors high-school athletes, coaches, officials, administrators, fine arts coaches and directors and others for their achievements and accomplishments in high-school sports and activity programs. Nominees must exemplify the highest standards of sportsmanship, ethical conduct and moral character. The state of Illinois is proud to currently have 24 NFHS National High School Hall of Fame inductees, the second most of any state in the country.

 

DWIGHT "DIKE" EDDLEMAN, CENTRALIA HIGH SCHOOL | 1983 INDUCTEE

Perhaps the most gifted all-around athlete in prep sports history, Eddleman starred in football, basketball, and track and field at Centralia High School (1939-42). Before earning a silver medal in the high jump at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, Eddleman was a three-time high school state champion in the event (1940-42). His 2,702 points in basketball led Centralia to three state tournament berths and to the 1942 Illinois state title. 


HAROLD "RED" GRANGE, WHEATON HIGH SCHOOL | 1984 INDUCTEE

The "Galloping Ghost" earned 16 letters in four different sports at Wheaton High School during his prep days. Grange averaged five touchdowns a game even though he was a more talented basketball player and track star at the time. Grange changed his athletic concentration to football at the University of Illinois before playing in the American Football League, which was formed around his football success. 


BART CONNOR, NILES WEST HIGH SCHOOL | 1986 INDUCTEE

Conner, who won the Junior Olympic boys gymnastics all-around title at age 14, won two state all-around titles while in high school at Niles West. As a senior, he was named to the United States Pan American team. Conner helped the University of Oklahoma win two national titles and was a three-time member of the United States Olympic gymnastics team. 


JACKIE JOYNER-KERSEE, EAST ST. LOUIS LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL | 1989 INDUCTEE

Joyner-Kersee competed in volleyball, basketball and track at Lincoln High School in East St. Louis. She was a member of four state championship teams — one in basketball and three in track. Joyner-Kersee won two Olympic gold medals in the heptathlon and added another gold in the long jump at the 1988 Summer Games.


QUINN BUCKNER, THORNRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL | 1989 INDUCTEE

Buckner is one of only two persons to win championships at every level of play — high school, college, Olympics and professional. In high school football, Buckner was all-state as a defensive back and helped Thornridge High School to a 10-0 record and a conference championship. On the basketball court, he was a three-year starter and led his team to two state championships. He was a four-year basketball starter at Indiana University and helped the Hoosiers to the 1976 NCAA Championship. He played in the NBA for 10 years, including the 1984 Boston Celtics NBA championship team. 


DANA MIROBALLI, WHEELING HIGH SCHOOL | 2009 INDUCTEE

In the 35-year history of Illinois High School Association girls sports competition, no other athlete has dominated the sports of cross country and track and field like Dana Miroballi did at Prospect Heights MacArthur Junior High School and Wheeling High School in the 1980s. Miroballi won five consecutive state cross country titles, with the first coming as an eighth-grader at Prospect Heights. On the track, Miroballi won four consecutive 3,200-meter run titles, and she also claimed the 1,600-meter run championships as a junior and senior. Overall, she won 10 state championships as a high school student and two others as an eighth-grader competing against high school students. She later was a standout track and cross country athlete at Indiana University. Since 2004, Miroballi has worked as an attorney for the Office of Intelligence within the National Security Division at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. 


 

ARTHUR TROUT, CENTRALIA HIGH SCHOOL | 1982 INDUCTEE

Trout amassed an astonishing 809-334 (.708) overall record at Centralia High School from 1915 to 1951, which set an Illinois record and was sixth in the nation at that time. Trout's coaching laurels also include three state championships (1918, 1922 and 1942) and six finishes among the final four teams. The strong tradition Trout established helped Centralia High School become the first school in interscholastic basketball history to reach the 1,500-win plateau. 


VERGIL FLETCHER, COLLINSVILLE HIGH SCHOOL | 1983 INDUCTEE

Fletcher built a long list of coaching achievements, honors and awards during a 34-year career, which included 32 seasons (1947-78) as the head man at perennial powerhouse Collinsville High School. With a 742-170 (.814) record at Collinsville, Fletcher guided the Kahoks to the state tournament on 14 occasions, winning 20 conference championships along the way. His overall coaching record is 794-216 (.786). 


CHARLES FARINA, LEYDEN & GORDON TECH HIGH SCHOOLS | 1987 INDUCTEE

A former high school and college champion as a competitor, Farina became the most successful high school wrestling coach in history with 644 career dual-meet victories at Leyden High School and Gordon Tech High School. After 38 years of coaching high school wrestling, Farina retired in 1993. In 1975, he was named national wrestling coach of the year by the National High School Coaches Association and was selected Illinois wrestling coach of the year three times. 

GORDON GILLESPIE, JOLIET CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL | 1989 INDUCTEE

In 27 years coaching at Joliet Catholic High School, Gillespie's football teams posted a 224-53-5 record, including four consecutive state championships. In winning the 1978 state title, Joliet registered four consecutive shutout victories. From 1959 to 1965, Gillespie was a "full-calendar" coach, taking on basketball and baseball duties. Gillespie has been inducted into nine other halls of fame, and is the only coach to be inducted into three Illinois coaches halls of fame. 

DAVID ROBERTSON, NEW TRIER HIGH SCHOOL | 1991 INDUCTEE

In 30 years at New Trier High School as head swim coach, Robertson's teams won the state swimming title 14 times, finished second 12 times and placed third three times. His teams were undefeated from 1946 to 1951, and he accumulated 475 varsity and 743 junior varsity dual-meet victories. More than 150 individuals earned all-American status under Robertson's tutelage, and his swimmers established 65 national records. 

WILLIAM "RED" SCHMITT, GRANITE CITY HIGH SCHOOL | 1993 INDUCTEE

With a career wrestling record of 602-84-5 (87.5 percent), Schmitt owns the ninth-highest number of victories on the all-time coaching list. The majority of his career came at Granite City High School (1951-85), where he won a state title in 1965. He was named national coach of the year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association in 1977, and was inducted into the Greater St. Louis Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1992. 

JOE NEWTON, YORK HIGH SCHOOL | 2004 INDUCTEE

Newton is a coaching legend in Illinois. In 50 years as cross country coach at York High School, Newton’s teams have won 26 state titles and 19 national championships. Combined, his track and cross country teams have won 255 conference championships and nearly 2,000 dual meets at a 96-percent winning clip. Newton was honored as the first high school coach to be chosen as both a U.S. Olympic coach and member of the U.S. Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame. 

PEG KOPEC, ST. FRANCIS HIGH SCHOOL | 2016 INDUCTEE

Peg Kopec concluded her outstanding career as volleyball coach at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, Illinois, this past November with yet another Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state championship. During her 42 years as St. Francis coach, Kopec led her teams to 12 IHSA state titles, including four in a row to conclude her career – the first in state history to accomplish that feat. Kopec registered 30 or more victories in 30 seasons and eclipsed 40 wins on three occasions and finished with an overall record of 1,248-260-2 (.827 winning percentage) – good for fifth on the all-time list in the NFHS National High School Sports Record Book. In addition to her 12 state titles, Kopec’s teams claimed 25 sectional titles and 31 regional titles and compiled a 43-9 record in state finals competition.


NORM GESKE, BUFFALO GROVE | 1982 INDUCTEE

An invaluable resource person for his state, Geske was a rules interpreter for the Illinois High School Association for 19 years. As an educator of officials, his credentials include the production of instructional tapes on rules and procedures that have been distributed nationally. A football, basketball and track official for more than 30 years, Geske also served on key NFHS committees and was a featured speaker at four national football rules interpreters meetings.

FRED "BRICK" YOUNG, BLOOMINGTON | 1983 INDUCTEE

Young began officiating in 1918 and continued for 30 years until a leg injury put an end to his career. He was also known as one of the top officials in the Big 10 Conference in both basketball and football. Young was a well-known sports editor for a local newspaper for more than 36 years. 

KEITH PARKER, GRANITE CITY | 1990 INDUCTEE

Since 1951 when he began his coaching and teaching career at Bushnell High School, Parker has been one of the most successful clinicians in the country. He was the official basketball rules interpreter for the Illinois High School Association for 25 years and served on the IHSA Basketball Committee. In the mid-1950s, Parker was the leader in organizing a meeting of top basketball rules experts, which led to such major changes as adoption of standard black trousers and shoes, and changing the philosophy of blocking and charging.

LARRY WILCOXEN, WALNUT | 1994 INDUCTEE

Wilcoxen, an official in more than 5,700 contests, has more than 40 years experience as an official for basketball, football, baseball and softball in Illinois. At the state tournament level, he has officiated six Illinois High School Association state finals in basketball, three in football and baseball, and two in softball. He is the only official in Illinois to work five different high school state finals.

DICK DEITZ, MCLEANSBORO | 1996 INDUCTEE

Deitz has been working as a football, basketball and baseball official in Illinois since 1958 and has been the state’s rules interpreter in basketball and baseball since 1976. He also officiated softball for 26 years. Deitz is the head official for the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) football playoffs, and he is an IHSA clinician in both football and basketball. Deitz officiated boys basketball state tournaments four times and worked the state championship games in 1974 and 1996. He also officiated state finals in football, making him one of a select few in the state to work finals in both major sports. He was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1998, and since 1993, Deitz has been mayor of McLeansboro, Illinois.

HAIG NIGHOHOSSIAN, GRANITE CITY| 2013 INDUCTEE

Haig Nighohossian has been the face of high school soccer officiating in Illinois for more than 40 years, and he is one of the sport’s most respected officials throughout the country. While his accomplishments as a soccer official alone would qualify for hall of fame status, Nighohossian also has been one of the state’s best wrestling officials during that timeframe. Nighohossian began officiating soccer in 1968 and became the IHSA’s Association’s first soccer rules interpreter in 1973. All combined between soccer and wrestling, he has combined to work over 40 IHSA State Final events.

BILL LAUDE, FRANKFORT| 2017 INDUCTEE

Bill Laude has been involved in officiating football, basketball and baseball in Illinois for 50 years. He has been the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) football rules interpreter since 1988 and the head IHSA football clinician since 1999. He officiated IHSA Football State Championship games five times and has been Coordinator of Officials for the Football State Championships five times since 2010. In basketball, Laude officiated the IHSA state finals three times in the 1980s, and he officiated the IHSA Baseball State Finals three times as well (1989, 1990, 1994). Laude is one of 11 officials in state history to officiate state finals in football, basketball and baseball. A full-time high school teacher for 35 years, Laude was appointed to a special IHSA committee in 1997 designed to improve rules knowledge and mechanics for officials in the state of Illinois, and he was an inaugural instructor for the IHSA Train the Trainer program, which officials must complete in order to become IHSA clinicians. Laude was NFHS Football Official of the Year in Illinois in 1988 and NFHS Baseball Official of the Year in Illinois in 1996.

JAN HEITEEN, DOWNERS GROVE SOUTH | 2012 INDUCTEE

Jan Heiteen has served as head speech coach and drama director at Downers Grove South High School in Illinois for 32 years. In addition to her 14 team state championships in speech, Heiteen’s students have been involved in more than 70 state individual championships. As the drama director, she has been responsible for more than 80 plays, musicals and talent shows. In 2009, Heiteen was inducted into the National Forensic League Hall of Fame.

H.V. PORTER, IHSA & NFHS STAFF | 1982 INDUCTEE

The first full-time executive secretary of the NFHS, Porter was primarily responsible for the early development of the organization as well as the subsequent prominent position it holds today in the international athletic community. During the 18 years he directed the NFHS (1940-58), he recodified rules in basketball, football, baseball, soccer, and track and field. His experimental work and promotion resulted in the development and legalization of a smaller, fan-shaped basketball backboard and the first molded basketball.


MILT SPRUNGER, IHSA STAFF | 1983 INDUCTEE

Sprunger spent more than four decades in education and athletics, including 21 years as the assistant executive secretary of the Illinois High School Association. He covered rules changes at national meetings for the NFHS, and as a result, is viewed as the "father" of national rules interpretation meetings. He also authored a series of books and pamphlets published by the NFHS including "So Now You're An Official." 


TOM FREDERICK, IHSA & NFHS STAFF | 1994 INDUCTEE

The growth of the high school athletic administration field is due in large part to the tireless efforts of Tom Frederick, who served as assistant and associate director of the NFHS for 22 years. During his career with the NFHS, Frederick directed the NFHS film program, served as national track rules interpreter and editor of the track and field rules, and was the NFHS' meeting planner. He also was responsible for starting the National Conference of High School Directors of Athletics in 1971, when 355 athletic directors attended. By the time he retired in 1989, more than 1,500 athletic directors were attending the annual national conference.


OLA BUNDY, IHSA STAFF | 1996 INDUCTEE

Bundy was one of the key figures in the rise of girls high school athletic programs for 35 years. Retired in 1996 from the Illinois High School Association, she is the only person to administer Illinois' state tournament series in girls volleyball, boys volleyball, and girls track and field. She was the original administrator for girls tennis, girls bowling, girls badminton, girls golf, girls field hockey and girls gymnastics. She also helped write the Illinois State Board of Education Sex Equity Rules, which are standards for all secondary schools in Illinois.



JOHN GRIFFITH, CHICAGO | 1986 INDUCTEE

Griffith, who founded a magazine devoted to the coaching profession called the Athletic Journal, was the first commissioner of the Western Conference (now the Big Ten Conference). In 1909, he created the famed Drake Relays, and he was one of the organizers behind the first NCAA track and field championships held in 1921. He later served as the president and secretary-treasurer of the NCAA.