Inductees THIS CATS TEAM fared no better than 16-16 for the 1959-60 National Industrial Basketball League season - and needed a victory in their final game over the last-place New York Tuck Tapers to break even - before traveling to Denver for an Amateur Athletic Union Tournament bid that didn't end until a 115-99 championship game over the Akron Wingfoots.
The Cats won 90-76 in the semifinals over the Phillips 66 Oilers after edging the Cleveland Pipers 84-82 and downing the Chicago Jamaco Saints 98-73. Bob Boozer of Peoria was named MVP of the tournament and, along with teammate Howie Crittenden, earned AAU all-American recognition. Also scoring in double figures for Caterpillar in the record-breaking title game win over Akron were Jack Adams, Al Kelley, Leon Hill and Don Ohl.
Caterpillar continued to win in the Olympic Trials, and wasn't stopped until the NCAA University All-Stars (Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, et al) ran past the Cats 124-97 in the championship game.
This post-season left Cats head coach Warren Womble with a 58-7 career record in AAU and Olympic Tournament games, and Caterpillar soon dropped sponsorship of the team to end a basketball era in Peoria.
THIS CATS TEAM fared no better than 16-16 for the 1959-60 National Industrial Basketball League season - and needed a victory in their final game over the last-place New York Tuck Tapers to break even - before traveling to Denver for an Amateur Athletic Union Tournament bid that didn't end until a 115-99 championship game over the Akron Wingfoots.
Jim Lewis served as Athletic Director, head football, golf, basketball, and baseball coach at Pekin Community High School during his career from 1933-1955. Jim received his BA from the University of Illinois and a masters from the University of Iowa. During his days at the University of Illinois he played football and basketball. Jim also served in the military. Jim Lewis started his coaching career at Pekin in 1933 with the baseball team. He compiled a record of 118-71-1 in eleven seasons under his direction. Lewis led Pekin to six regional titles in his seven seasons as basketball coach, including state trophies in 1947 (4th place) and 1948 (3rd place). Jim coached football for eleven seasons with a 71-30-1 record. The 1951 unbeaten Pekin football team was the first team in the history of the school to win ten games. The 1951 team was considered the mythical Number 1 team in the state. Pekin won both the Greater Peoria Illini Conference and the Big 12 Conference titles that year. Jim's golf teams excelled, winning a 3rd place (1948) and a 2nd place (1949) in the state tournament during his seven years as coach. Jim Lewis was one of the driving forces behind building Pekin Memorial Stadium. Jim was a member in three Halls of Fame, the Pekin High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Illinois High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame, and the IBCA Hall of Fame. Even by today's standards, Coach Lewis' coaching achievements are legendary.