Welcome to the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame website. We have inducted numerous individuals and teams. Their plaques are located in the Peoria Civic Center. As you browse through our site, you will learn that the Peoria area is rich in talent. Many individuals, teams and organizations have contributed to our sports history. If you have any comments or requests, please feel free to contact us at any time.
|2019 Individual Inductees|
Corky King was an outstanding swimmer at Richwoods High School for Coach Rich Clopper. After high school, he attended and swam at Drury University in Missouri. He then began an outstanding career as a teacher and coach for 37 years. He was the swimming & diving coach at Peoria Richwoods High School for 22 years (197799); coaching six individual state champions and 17 relay squads that earned medals. Corky also served as the girls’ coach at Richwoods for 16 years (1983-99) with a perfect 70-0 mark over the last eight seasons of his tenure. During this time, the girls’ team won 11 conference titles.
In 1999, King took over the reins of the Hinsdale Central boys’ swimming & diving team and held them for 15 years (1999-2014), earning five state trophies, 12 individual state champions and six relay state champions. He was named Illinois Swimming & Diving Boys’ Coach of the Year eight times. In 2014, he was selected for the John Newman Hall of Fame Award by the Illinois Swimming & Diving Association. In 2017, King was inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame.
Bob Koeppel was a three-sport star at Limestone High School, competing in baseball, basketball and football. Twice he earned all-conference honors for baseball. Over his junior and senior seasons, he posted a 15-4 pitching record and batted .438 as a junior and .365 as a senior.
After his senior year in high school, Koeppel was selected in the 11th round of the 1968 Major League Draft by the Oakland A’s, but instead chose to play college baseball for Bradley University. He played in 63 games during his three seasons, posting a career batting average of .379 with 23 doubles, 6 triples, 15 home runs and 77 RBI’s.
In 1971, the Sporting News named Koeppel a First Team All-American after he posted a .442 batting average with 8 home runs and 38 RBI’s. He is one of only two Bradley baseball players to ever win First Team honors. He was also named to the Missouri Valley All-Conference Team and was selected Team MVP. He led the nation in RBI’s that year, averaging 1.46 per game. He remains one of just four Bradley baseball players to lead the nation in a statistical category. He was inducted into the Bradley University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1976.
The Baltimore Orioles selected Koeppel during the secondary phase of the 1971 MLB Draft, but again he did not sign, and the next year, the Minnesota Twins selected him in the first round. He eventually signed with the Twins and played two seasons in their minor league system, posting a career batting average of .282 with 14 HR’s and 143 RBI’s, reaching the Class AA level. Bob later became a teacher and coach at Limestone Community High School.
Norm Reiser arrived at Morton High School in 1971 and led the basketball team to 19 conference titles and one undefeated regular season in 1979. He directed Morton to its first regional title in 1974 and also won regional crowns in 1976, 1978, 1979, 1983, 1993 and 1994 before retiring in 1995 after 24 years. His record at Morton High School was 434-195.
Under Coach Reiser, Morton was known for its pressuring trap defense and excellent outside shooting. In 1985, Reiser finished the league season with the top five percentage shooters in the Mid-Illini Conference. At the time he retired, his overall career record of 587246 ranked him 21st on the Illinois all-time list for wins and his career winning percentage of 71% ranked him 16th among coaches with 300 or more wins.
Other honors included being inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and coaching the 1986 IBCA Class AA South All-Star team. He has the satisfaction of developing a good number of players that were named basketball all-staters and was a role model for several that became successful coaches in their own right.
Coach Reiser’s 1979 team was 28-0 before losing to Peoria High School in the sectional championship game. The 1993 and 1994 teams just missed winning Sweet Sixteen berths, losing sectional finals to Danville and Lincoln, respectively. His 434 victories at Morton trails only Chuck Buescher, Dick Van Scyoc and Wayne Hammerton for wins at a single area school. His combined 587 career victories are exceeded only by Van Scyoc among tri-county coaches. He also coached at Coal City, Chrisman and St. Joseph-Ogden, where he compiled a record of 153-51.
Norm and his wife, Carol have two children, Craig a former IBCA All-Star team member, and Amy, along with five grandchildren
When John entered Metamora High in the Fall of 1988 he was known as a “pretty good” distance runner from his accomplishments at St. Mary’s Grade School. During his Freshman Cross Country season, he learned from the experienced runners on the Varsity Team and also learned from some very good distance runners of the Peoria Area. He ran the fastest time by a Metamora Freshman on Black Partridge Park Course - and still holds that #1 ranking. He won the Mid-Illini Meets for the next three years, which gave him All-Conference status for four years. During the Track Season as a Freshman, he confirmed the distinction of being one of the top distance runners of the area. He was an outstanding Track runner for the next three years. He medaled in the 1600 and 3200 his last three years John also accomplished All-State status his last three years runnin’ for Metamora High School.
In the Fall of 1992, he joined the outstanding distance program at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois under Coach Al Carius (Morton native and GPSHOF inductee). An outstanding resume was written at North Central. 2-time Individual CC Champion in their Conference (CCIW) Cross Country Meet. John was a three-time All-American in CC with 2nd place finishes in 1993, 1994, & Individual Champion in 1995. His runner-up finish in 1993 helped North Central set the record for lowest team score ever recorded at nationals (32 points) – the record stands today, 2019. John was three-time All- American in the 5,000 meters indoor and three-time All-American in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters outdoor. He was National Champion in the outdoor 10,000 in 1995. John was Academic All-American all four years at North Central in both Cross Country & Track. NCAA Division III Athlete of the Year in 1995 as named by the USA Track & Cross Country Coaches Association. John has been inducted into both Metamora & North Central’s Athletics Hall of Fame. John was named as one of only 7 Cross Country Runners named to the NCAA Division III All-Century Team. John continued to run after NCC. He competed in 15 marathons with the goal of an invitation to the Olympic Marathon Trials. He accomplished that with a best marathon time of 2:21.26 and ran in the Olympic Marathon Time Trial in 2000.
Teaching and coaching is his profession. John was Assistant Cross Country Coach at North Central in 1995. He taught & coached one year at Winston Park Junior High in Palatine. John has been employed at Kennedy Junior High in Naperville as a 7th Grade Math teacher and CC coach since 1997. He also coached the Track team for 10 years. He is helping those boys to become better athletes from the tremendous amount of experience and success he has achieved himself.
John married Jamie (Peterson) in 1999. Jamie was also a NCC Cross Country and Track runner. They have three children; Samantha, a Junior and Josh, a Freshman at Naperville Central. Daughter, Ellie is a 5th grader at an Elementary school. All are involved in sports in the Naperville School Districts
|2019 Team Inductees|
1994 MORTON HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL TEAM
Class AA State Runner Up Mid-Illini Conference Champions Season Record: 28-7 • Conference Record: 11-1
Under the tutelage of the late IHSBCA Hall of Fame Coach Mike McDonald, the 1994 Morton Potter baseball team posted a 28-7 overall record and finished as the runner-up in the state tournament. The Potters won the Mid-Illini Conference with an 11-1 record, losing only to Limestone. Morton avenged the loss to Limestone later in the regular season before posting a second win over the Rockets in the regional championship game. Victories over Bradley-Bourbonnais and
Chatham Glenwood in sectional play preceded a 9-1 win over Belvidere in IHSA state quarterfinal action and an 11-1 drubbing of Chicago Lane Tech in the semifinal round. The Potters were defeated by a very strong Joliet Catholic team in the state title game. Morton compiled a team batting average of .330 with seven players hitting .300 or better. They averaged 7.8 runs per game while allowing just 3.5 per game.
1993-’94 EUREKA HIGH SCHOOL BOYS’ BASKETBALL TEAM
Coached by Tim Meiss, the 1993-94 Eureka High School boys’ basketball team finished as the runner-up in an exciting IHSA Class A State Championship game in Champaign. The Hornets trailed 65-60 with 39 seconds left, but the didn’t give up. Matt Koeppel made a three to tie the game at 65 with seconds left, but Pinckneyville was able to score at the buzzer to win, 67-65, ending Eureka’s dream of winning a state championship.
The Hornets ended their regular season with a record of 23-1, losing only to Normal U-High. They were ranked 6th in the state and averaged more than 70 points per game prior to the IHSA state tournament. The Hornets went on to win their first regional championship in over fifty years (since 1942 when a player named Dick Van Scyoc led the Hornets to the regional title) by beating Normal U-High in a rematch.
But they did not stop there. They breezed through the sectional at Clinton “amid the cheers of loyal fans packing the stands full.” Momentum was in their favor as they next traveled to Redbird Arena, where they walloped the Warriors of Watseka to win Eureka’s first-ever super sectional title for a trip down to Champaign.
Eureka then defeated tournament favorite St. Martin dePorres in the state semi-final to advance to the championship game. The Hornets finished the season with a record of 30-2. Nathaniel Meiss was named first team all-tournament with sophomore teammate Bob Wettstein being named second team all-tournament. Coach Meiss just finished his 35th year as head coach at Eureka. His assistants in 1993-94 were Bob Gold, Mike Raney, and Scot McMullen.
2002-’03 ILLINOIS CENTRAL COLLEGE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM
Given their pre-season #1 ranking in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II poll, much was expected from the 2002 -’03 ICC Women’s Basketball Team. After a most inauspicious beginning to the season that included three losses in their first eight games, the Lady Cougars rallied for 28 consecutive victories (an ICC single season record at the time), finishing the campaign with a record of 33-3. The season culminated with an 80-67 victory over Mitchell College of Connecticut at Hagerstown, MD, to secure the National Championship. Included in their impressive season, ICC won three other tournaments: the ICC Invitational (4 teams); the 22nd Annual Cougar Holiday Tournament (8 teams); and the NJCAA Regional Tournament at Lincoln
Land CC. Two time All-American, Petra Manakova was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the National Tournament. Amy Fuller, Shannon Williams, and Manakova were selected to the All-Tournament Team. Coaching her 5th national championship basketball team, Lorene Ramsey (GPSHOF Class of 1982) was named the Coach of the Tournament, an award subsequently named the “Lorene M. Ramsey Coach of the Tournament.” Ramsey was assisted by Steve Garber, Associate Head Coach; Greg Martin, Assistant Coach, and Laura Criswell, Assistant Coach.
Three Lady Cougars went on to play professionally. Manakova (Oakland University) and Daria Mieloszynska (University of Texas) had long careers in Europe. Christelle N’Garsanet (University of Missouri) played in the WNBA as a member of the New York Liberty. At the time of the team’s induction, Christelle was the top assistant basketball coach for Cindy Stein (ICC class of 1981; GPSHOF class of 2001) at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
|2019 Neve Harms Meritorious Service Award|
Talk to any parent who had a daughter participate in a Peoria Girls Sports League (PGSL) program, and it is safe to wager they are familiar with Jerry Robertson and his many years of dedicated service to the league. For the PGSL’s 33 years of existence, its programs provided a valuable experience for thousands of girls from third grade through high school. Most notably, Robertson was active in the league for 29 years, including 23 as President of the organization. Over his long tenure, Robertson wore many hats, including recruiting volunteers, keeping score and time, evaluating skills and coordinating the selection of players to the respective teams, securing venues, scheduling games, hiring and scheduling officials, purchasing equipment, updating rules, obtaining the state charter, fundraising, and dealing with the occasional unhappy parent. If that wasn’t enough, he also coached and officiated when needed. Under Robertson’s leadership, PGSL’s basketball program expanded to include a summer league for area high school teams that lasted for 20 years. For more than three decades, PGSL provided thousands of girls, of all skill levels, an opportunity to participate and compete in basketball and softball. Volleyball was also offered on an
instructional basis. Needless to say, Robertson’s efforts and perseverance were vital for the continuity and sustainability of the PGSL. The vast majority of parents and players appreciated PGSL’s objective of striking the proper balance between participation and competition while stressing good sportsmanship. In addition to his service to the PGSL, Robertson has volunteered for 20 years on the committee responsible for the set-up and tear-down of the “March Madness Experience” for the IHSA Boys’ Basketball Tournaments at the Peoria Civic Center. In 1994, he served as the director of the high school girls’ basketball competition for the Illinois Prairie State Games. He has also volunteered as an official for Special Olympics basketball games.
|2019 Tri-County Athlete and Coach of the Year Awards|
Tri-County female athlete of the year:
(Illini Bluffs High School) The team captain of her basketball team, Hicks led Illini Bluffs to the class A Sweet 16 averaging 15.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists. The All-state shortstop hit .415 and scored 34 runs leading the Tigers to a the state runner-up trophy at the class 1A softball finals. Hicks was a key member of a volleyball team that went to state for the first time ever. She lead her team in kills (421) and digs (325) in lifting IB to a 40-2 record and a class 1A state runnerup finish.
Tri-County male athlete of the year:
(Princeville High School) Snedden finished his high school career as a four-sport athlete his senior year. He was a starting running back in football and point guard in basketball. But his accomplishments in playing two sports simultaneously in the spring were amazing. Snedden ran high school track for the first time and advanced to the state meet in three events, capturing fourth in the 100, sixth in the 200, and helped grabbed a fourth place medal as part of the 4x100 relay. At the same time, he was an all-conference centerfielder for the baseball team, hitting .511 with 23 RBI, 4 HR and 38 runs scored in 28 games.
Tri-County female coach of the year:
(Illini Bluffs High School) Meyer coached the Tigers to a 26-6 record and the class 1A state softball runner-up trophy, the highest finish ever for an IB softball team. Then her volleyball team broke about every record in school history. It started the season on a 25-match win streak and advanced to state for the first time ever. The Tigers took second in state with a 40-2 record, the most wins in a season in school history.
Tri-County male coach of the year:
(Washington High School) Miller’s wrestling team was ranked No. 1 all season. The Panthers went 22-10 on the way to winning the class 2A dualteam state championship for a fourth consecutive year. The Panthers beat the fifth-ranked and third-ranked schools in Illinois at state. Additionally, Miller coached two Washington wrestlers to individual state wrestling titles.