TriCounty National championships for Illinois Central College and long-time coach Lorene Ramsey go hand-in-hand.
And this was especially so in 1998 when she won not one but two national titles: the National Junior College softball crown in Hutchinson, Kansas and the National Junior College Division II basketball title in Hagerstown, Md.
The double victory march earned her the honor of being named the Tri-County Female Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year and fifth time overall adding to previous awards in 1993, 1992 and 1979.
She won her first national JC softball title in 1982 and followed up with Division II basketball crowns in 1992 and 1993. She was named national JC Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1993.
Ramsey felt her basketball team hit its peak in the national tournament. "We put together our three best back-to-back games in the national tournament, and we got contributions from a lot of people. Sometimes they contributed in a way that amazed me."
In the softball national tourney, ICC had to win five games after a loss put it into the loser's bracket, but it then won the tourney with ease with back-to-back shutouts of Ricks College.
Ramsey was voted into the Women's Softball Hall of Fame last May. Kathy Leitke, president of the Women's Softball Coaches Association, lauded Ramsey: "There's no doubt in my mind that Lorene Ramsey is as solid as a rock. She is the foundation of JCAA women's softball."
Following the season, Ramsey retired as softball coach with a career mark of 840-309. She will continue as ICC's basketball coach.
National championships for Illinois Central College and long-time coach Lorene Ramsey go hand-in-hand.
|H. V. Porter|
Henry Van Arsdale (H.V.) Porter
A native of Manito, Ill., Henry Van Arsdale Porter is credited with coining the phrase "March Madness," but his influence on high school athletics in the state of Illinois and nationally is much more tangible. After graduating from Illinois State University in 1913, Porter began his career as a high school coach, athletic director and principal. He led the Athens High School boys basketball team to a 29-1 record and a runner-up finish in the 1924 state tournament, as well as a 36-3 record and fourth-place state tournament finish in 1926. Well known for his administrative skills, however, Porter served as an IHSA Assistant Executive Director from 1929-40, before moving on to the National Federation of High School Athletic Associations (NFHS) staff in 1940 as the organization's first executive secretary and editor of publications. Throughout his career, Porter's contributions in a wide range of areas led directly to the evolution of basketball. During his service to the IHSA, Porter organized the department to train and license high school officials in football, basketball and baseball and he oversaw the introduction for state tournaments in the sports of tennis, golf, swimming and wrestling. He also published the first high school basketball rules book in 1936, standardizing the game across the country. Among his contributions to the game, Porter designed the popular, fan-shaped backboard in 1933 and in 1935 he pushed for the replacement of the 32-inch sewn leather basketball with a 29.5-inch, molded leather basketball. The new ball was much easier for youth players to handle and made dribbling a more prominent skill in all levels of the game. Porter also pioneered the use of motion pictures to study proper playing techniques. Porter was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960 and the Athens High School gymnasium is named in his honor.