The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) annually bestows an honor, regarded as the highest achievable accolade in high school sports and activities, upon 11 individuals with their respective enshrinement into the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame. The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) is proud to announce that three-sport state final official Bill Laude of Frankfort has been selected as a member of the 2017 NFHS National High School Hall of Fame inductee class.
“Bill Laude is a legendary high school official here in Illinois, and this national honor celebrating his career is very much deserved,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “You can find countless coaches and athletic directors who will speak to Bill’s character and professionalism as both an on-field official, clinician, and assignor. However, it is Bill’s engaging personality and ability to communicate that have allowed him to enjoy such remarkable longevity in his career. I had the opportunity to work closely with Bill during my time as the IHSA administrator for football and baseball. I was honored to oversee his nomination to the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame, and am privileged to call him both a colleague and a friend.”
Bill is the 27th individual representing the IHSA to be honored in the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame and will be formally inducted at an enshrinement ceremony banquet on Sunday, July 2, 2017 as a part of the 2017 NFHS Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. Inductees must be nominated by their respective state association and are categorized based on their contributions as Athletes, Coaches, Officials, Administrators or in the field of Fine Arts. Bill is the seventh IHSA enshrinee to represent the Officials category.
“What is most gratifying about this honor is that the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame represents the pinnacle of high school sports and activities,” said Laude. "I am proud to be recognized for more than my on-field officiating success. This honor encompasses my work with all sports and my mentoring as a football rules interpreter, head football clinician, instructor, and even as the PA voice of the IHSA state baseball tournament. Officials receive so few accolades, and that's as it should be, but officiating is a great avocation, and its humbling to be recognized."
Laude began his IHSA officiating careers in baseball and basketball in 1962. He went on to work the IHSA State Final Tournaments three times in both sports, as he officiated America’s Original March Madness in three consecutive seasons from 1985-1987. His baseball state trips came in 1989, 1990, and 1994, respectively. Laude’s time as an IHSA football official wouldn’t begin until 1971, but that is the sport where he arguably made the biggest impact. In addition to being selected to work five IHSA State Championship games in three different decades (1988, 1989, 1990, 2003, 2009), he was also named the IHSA’s Head Football Clinician, a position he still holds today, when the program began in 1999.
“Bill is not only regarded as an outstanding official, he’s also known for being one of the elite instructors/clinicians at the high school level,” said retired Big Ten official and current ESPN Rules Analyst William LeMonnier. “The success I have enjoyed as an official, and now as a Rules Analyst for ESPN, had a lot to do with my early years officiating with Bill, and the solid direction and example he provided.”
A retired high school teacher, Bill began his teaching career at Eisenhower High School (Blue Island) and Wauconda High School, before working for over 30 years in District 228, where he spent time in each of the District's four high schools (Bremen, Hillcrest, Oak Forest, Tinley Park). Bill is one of 11 officials in state history to work the state finals in baseball, basketball & football. He is a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, Chicago Public League Basketball Coaches Association, Central Officials Association, and South Suburbs Officials Association Halls of Fame. Bill has served as the assignor for some of the top football conferences in the state, a role he continues to serve in for the DuPage Valley and South Suburban Conferences.
“Bill has fostered a rapport of collaboration and respect with high school football coaches and officials in Illinois,” said Lemont High School Athletic Director John Young. “His dedication, loyalty and enthusiasm for his assigning role has helped create positive experiences for our student-athletes. Bill is a leader among his peers and sets a great example for his colleagues to follow.”
The other members of the 2017 Hall of Fame Class include: Russ Cozart (Coach, FL), Joe Dial (Athlete, OK), Lisa Fernandez (Athlete, CA), Joe Lombard (Coach, TX), Bobby Richardson (Athlete, SC), Steve Shondell (Coach, IN), Bernie Walter (Coach, MD), Melissa (Missy) West (Athlete, NY), Jerry Winterton (Coach, NC) & Rick Wulkow (Administrator, IA). Click here for NFHS release on HOF class
Bill Laude is the 27th NFHS National High School Hall of Fame member from Illinois, joining:
Norm Geske (Official from Buffalo Grove, inducted in 1982)
H.V. Porter (IHSA & NFHS Staff, 1982)
Arthur Trout (Coach at Centralia, 1982)
Dwight "Dike" Eddleman (Athlete at Centralia, 1983)
Vergil Fletcher (Coach at Collinsville, 1983)
Milt Sprunger (IHSA Staff, 1983)
Fred "Brick" Young (Official from Bloomington, 1983)
Harold "Red" Grange (Athlete at Wheaton, 1984)
Bart Connor (Athlete at Niles West, 1986)
John Griffith (Special contributor from Chicago, 1986)
Charles Farina (Coach at Leyden & Gordon Tech, 1987)
Quinn Buckner (Athlete at Thornridge, 1989)
Gordon Gillespie (Coach at Joliet Catholic, 1989)
Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Athlete at East St. Louis Lincoln, 1989)
Keith Parker (Official from Granite City, 1990)
David Robertson (Coach at New Trier, 1991)
William "Red" Schmitt (Coach at Granite City, 1993)
Tom Frederick (IHSA & NFHS Staff, 1994)
Larry Wilcoxen (Official from Walnut, 1994)
Ola Bundy (IHSA Staff, 1996)
Dick Deitz (Official from McLeansboro, 1996)
Joe Newton (Coach at York, 2004)
Dana Miroballi (Athlete at Wheeling, 2009)
Jan Heiteen (Fine Arts, Coach at Downers Grove South, 2012)
Haig Nighohossian (Official from Granite City, 2013)
Peg Kopec (Coach at Wheaton St. Francis, 2016)