The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) was featured prominently among the 2021 Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Hall of Fame class when the IBCA revealed its latest honorees on December 7, 2020.
Current IHSA Associate Executive Director Kurt Gibson (top right) and recently retired IHSA Assistant Executive Director Scott Johnson (bottom right) were both named Hall of Fame inductees under the IBCA’s Friends of Basketball category. In addition, the IHSA was named one of the IBCA’s Organizations of the Year.
“The IHSA has been the foundation of our state’s high school sports and activities for 120 years,” said IBCA Executive Director Jim Tracy. “It takes many dedicated individuals working together and contributing many hours to make this type of organization this successful. Kurt and Scott's contributions in honoring and celebrating our rich basketball history have been extraordinary and are enjoyed by many generations in Illinois.
The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame was founded in 1973 to honor the best and most influential players, teams, coaches, media, officials, and friends of basketball in Illinois history. The Hall of Fame induction festivities typically occur during a ceremony at Illinois State University each spring. The 2020 ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19, with 2021 plans currently on hold. The IBCA hopes to hold a joint ceremony combining the 2020 and 2021 classes in the spring or summer of 2021.
“We are appreciative of the recognition and support provided by our friends at the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “Kurt and Scott have both made incredible contributions to the sport of high school basketball in Illinois throughout their decorated careers. We are also grateful for the organizational honor recognizing the Association’s efforts as a whole as we have navigated this extraordinary school year.”
Few have experienced Illinois high school basketball in as many facets as Kurt Gibson. Starting with his playing days at Belvidere High School, to coaching stops at several IHSA schools, Gibson went on to assume the role of IHSA boys basketball administrator when he joined the IHSA staff in 2002. In addition to basketball, he currently oversees boys golf and bass fishing, while also directing the IHSA’s education and corporate sponsorship efforts. Gibson previously managed the IHSA’s softball, boys gymnastics and girls gymnastics programs, as well as its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. He was directly involved in important innovations in each of the program’s he was responsible for, leading to him being honored with the prestigious Citation Award from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in January.
“I’m very humbled and appreciative of this recognition by the IBCA,” said Gibson. “Getting to know and work with so many great people in that organization, most notably IBCA founder Chuck Rolinski and current director Jim Tracy, over my career is truly one of the things I’ll remember most when my work in this arena is done. These recognitions, though, are the result of efforts from many people, including the two administrative assistants I’ve had the pleasure of working with here at IHSA, Laura Hennings and Pam Flohr, and their contributions to high school basketball in Illinois, even if behind the scenes, can’t be overstated.”
Scott Johnson was immersed in Illinois high school basketball history even before he began working at the IHSA. The Elgin native published an IHSA basketball newsletter while living out-of-state prior to joining the IHSA staff in 1994. Overseeing the Association’s IT efforts until his retirement in 2019, Johnson put the IHSA on the forefront technologically with his pioneering efforts in website integration, postseason assignment mapping software, and the development of the IHSA ScoreZone. His passion for records and history led him two author two books on the topic, chronicling Hebron High School’s 1952 state championship in the 2002 book, Once There Were Giants. He also led the efforts on the centennial celebration of the IHSA state tournament in the 2006 book, 100 Years of Madness.
“It was my pleasure to work with IBCA leadership during my years at the IHSA,” said Johnson. “My visits to Chuck Rolinski’s storefront office in Toluca were always memorable. I am very thankful to be recognized.”
Since 2018, the IBCA has honored three Organizations of the Year annually to recognize long-established organizations who enlist a huge number of volunteers to organize and run tournaments, conferences, and groups that promote basketball in Illinois.