NeveHarms Upon making the decision to take up permanent residence in Peoria, Dr. Higgins researched the history of Peoria sports. As Lt. Gov. of IL district of Kiwanis, Dr. Higgins, a chiropractic physician, was harboring an idea about a Peoria Sports Hall of Fame.
After approaching fellow Kiwanian Orville Nothdurf about the idea, Orville suggested they confer with the new athletic director at Bradley University, Ron Ferguson. Subsequently the board was formed and Dr. Higgins was voted the HOF's first president. The first board meeting was held Oct. 1979, with the first induction being held Dec. 1981.
Dr. Higgins has been active in the civic and sports area. Serving on the Board of Directors of S.O.S., save our stadium, Peoria City zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Commission City of Chillicothe, Pres. Suburban Kiwanis, Lt. Gov. II District Kiwanis. Assisted in forming and developing Richwoods and Bergan (Peoria Notre Dame) high school Key Clubs. Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau's Vice Pres. Sports Commission. Attended to sport injuries at Richwood High School from 1967-1989, then joined Pekin High School football in 1990 as team doctor. He had the privilege of assisting with IHSA High School All Star Football games as on field doctor in Peoria for sixteen years. He was an attending doctor at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He was recruited by Bass Master to treat their participants while traveling with them to their venues and attended Bass Master Classics from 1995-1997. Prior to that he was a NASCAR, IRL, TT Motorcycle, Pro Bowling , event doctor treating participates at their venues
Upon making the decision to take up permanent residence in Peoria, Dr. Higgins researched the history of Peoria sports. As Lt. Gov. of IL district of Kiwanis, Dr. Higgins, a chiropractic physician, was harboring an idea about a Peoria Sports Hall of Fame.
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.