IHSA Honors 4th Annual Distinguished Service Award Winners

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IHSA Honors 4th Annual Distinguished Service Award Winners

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Twleve individuals with a long history of service to the Illinois High School Association were honored June 14 at the 4th Annual IHSA Distinguished Service Award ceremony, held at the Holiday Inn and Suites Airport in Bloomington.

"The Distinguished Service Award winners are the embodiment of the can-do spirit of high school sports and activities," said Executive Director Marty Hickman. "In every case, they have been given a task and then taken it far above and beyond the job description. For their lasting commitment to IHSA sports and activities, we are happy to have the opportunity to honor each of them with this award."

The 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.

John Anderson

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 Harper

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 Hecathorn

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.

Dick Inman

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 Kidwell

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 Krempasky

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 Lachel

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 Manahan

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 Pruitt

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.

John Sommer

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 Vogt

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 Widmayer

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.

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