The following individuals will be honored for their contributions to the sport of high school track & field in Illinois as the 2017 IHSA Girls Track & Field Honorary Referees at the Spring Spectacular on Saturday, May 20, 2017:
Glenn Cothern is one of the most dedicated and longest tenured
officials in the history of the IHSA Girls Track & Field State Finals. The Gibson City native first licensed as an IHSA official in 1966 and two years later worked his first Spring Spectacular State Final meet, and has been returning ever since.
Glenn has worked the pole vault for nearly 50 years, including roughly 35 of those years as the Head Official of the event. Glenn has also been a Starter four total times across the Boys and Girls State Final meets, a position he has also held at the cross country state finals.
Glenn spent time as a coach at Oak Park-River Forest High School, where he was recruited to join the state final officiating team by then meet manager Roy Gummerson, while legendary Peoria area coach Phil Salser’s was instrumental in Glenn becoming a part of the pole vault crew.
Glenn is most proud of all the fellow officials and athletes who have become his friends after bonding over the experience of the IHSA State Final meet.
Bill Derks’ first experience at the IHSA State Track Meet came as a student-athlete at Carthage High School in 1968 when he qualified for state in the 100-yard dash. He has attended nearly every state meet since then as a spectator, coach or official. He served as the Head Boys Track Coach at Rochester High School for the past 24 years, a tenure that includes three state trophies, as well as numerous Conference and Sectional titles. Bill also coached eight individual state champions, including his son Andy, who won the Class A 1600m Run in 1998.
After retiring from coaching, Bill became an IHSA official and began volunteering as an official at both the Girls and Boys State Track meets. He started out as a Finish Line Judge in 1999 and has also served in the clerk’s tent over the years. For the past several years, he has worked as the Booth Official in charge of certifying the results for the Girls State Meet. He served as a starter for the Boys State Meet on three separate occasions, and was an Assistant Referee and Meet Referee as well.
Already an ITCCCA Hall of Fame coach, Bill went on to be named the state Official of the Year by the NFHS in 2006. Bill has also served as a Football Official for the past 36 years, working the Class 3A State Championship Game in 2013. Bill is one of only four individuals in IHSA history who have worked as many as four different state championships.
Bob James grew up with a love for track & field and cross country events as a student at Mattoon High School. Having to enter the work-force very early in life prevented Bob from participating as an athlete for the Green Wave, but that never dampened his enthusiasm for the sport.
In 1989, Bob was given the opportunity by then Mattoon Athletic Directors Steve Parker and Jim Kearney to assist with home track & field meets at the high school and middle school levels. With that, Bob settled in to what has become a comprehensive presence at numerous Mattoon sporting events for nearly 30 years.
Bob has become a technical expert in the High Jump venue, learning all that he could from former High Jump Head Judge Joyce Carlson and other IHSA officials. The journey has since led Bob to collegiate High Jump officiating, serving as the head judge at the FTTF State Indoor Championships, and working over 20 years of Sectional and State Finals for the IHSA. He has been honored to witness and help certify the record achievements of many High Jump athletes, including this year’s 6’1” national mark in prep girl’s competition.
Bob also serves the IHSA each year as a Course Marshall for the State Final Cross-Country Meet at Detweiller Park. A retired employee of the City of Mattoon, he is a proud member of the Mattoon Knights of Columbus.
Clarence Nolden has been a part of the sport of track & field as an athlete, coach and official for more than 50 years. More than half of that time can be accounted for in his work as an official at the IHSA Girls Track & Field State Finals meet, where he has worked for the last 31 years. Clarence has operated as an umpire during that duration, spending much of his time working in the exchange zones. When he isn’t officiating for the IHSA, he officiates both AAU and USATF meets in the St. Louis area.
Clarence is a graduate of East St. Louis High School, where he ran track & field, and was the leadoff leg on the two-mile relay. He went on to achieve his goal of running a sub 1:50 half mile while running collegiately.
After college, Clarence returned to East St. Louis, where he coached sprints at the elementary, junior high and high school levels. He was mentored by legendary East St. Louis Lincoln High School coach Nino Fennoy, and continues to serve on Fennoy’s coaching staff today, coaching throws for the Flyers.