Inductees Gene Petty was one of the most talented all-around athletes ever to play for Peoria Manual High School - or any other local high school.
Playing in the late 1950s, Petty was all-state first team in baseball and football and was selected to the all-city team in basketball.
As a 6-foot-1, 185 pound halfback, Petty was selected to the first team all-City team in both 1956 and 1957, playing a key offensive role on Ken Hinrichs-coached teams that went 8-1-1 in 1956 and 7-1-2 in 1957.
"I've always felt he was as good an athlete as we've had come out of Peoria," praises Hinrichs. "He's right alongside the best we've had."
Wooed by both the Big Ten and the Big Eight, Petty accepted a football scholarship to Missouri over Illinois and Michigan. But he never got around to college football.
Also an outstanding shortstop, he selected baseball over football and signed a $30,000 bonus contract with the Chicago Cubs after his senior year at Manual.
He was sent to Paris, Ill., of the Midwest League to close out the 1958 season and divided 1959 between Paris and Carlsbad, New Mexico in the Cub chain.
He played at St. Cloud, Minn., in the Northern League through the 1960 and 1961 seasons and then decided to leave professional baseball.
But he was not done with sports.
In 1963 Buffalo Bills coach Lou Saban signed him to an $8,000 contract as a place kicker, but he never appeared in an NFL game.
Always a fine golfer, after returning home, he concentrated on his links game and played 15 years in Championship flight in the city tournament, being medalist one year. He also qualified for five Peoria Publinks teams.
He joined the Peoria Park District in golf management and at the time of his induction was golf professional at Madison golf course.
Gene Petty was one of the most talented all-around athletes ever to play for Peoria Manual High School - or any other local high school.
|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.