Inductees As a point guard, Frank Williams starred at both the high school and collegiate levels, and played briefly in the NBA.
Williams attended Manual High School in Peoria, Illinois, where he was a member of one of the most heralded teams in the nation. Williams led Peoria Manual to the final two of four consecutive IHSA class AA boys state basketball tournaments, in 1996 as a sophomore and again in 1997 as a junior. In both tournaments, Williams was named to the five-player All-Tournament team. As a Manual senior, the 6-foot-3 Williams averaged 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Rams team that finished 27-3 and ended the string of state titles with a loss in the super sectional. Williams was named a McDonald's All-American and was named Mr. Basketball in Illinois.
Williams attended the University of Illinois, and played three seasons for the Fighting Illini under head coach Bill Self, leading the team to a string of NCAA Tournament appearances. Frank led the team in steals all three seasons and led the team in scoring in 2001 and 2002. He finished his career at Illinois scoring 1,440 points, was two-time Illinois MVP, and started 97 out of 101 games over three seasons. After the 2000-2001 season, Williams was named the Big Ten player of the year, and received the Chicago Tribune Silver Basketball award. While at Illinois, Williams was reunited with high school teammates Marcus Griffin and Sergio McClain, (a.k.a. "The Peoria 3") where they earned a number one seed and eventually went to the Elite 8 in 2001. Williams' high school coach, Wayne McClain (Sergio's father) also was named assistant coach for the Illini during his time there. He was elected to the "Illini Men's Basketball All-Century Team" in 2004. In 2007, Williams was voted one of the "100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament," recognizing his superior performance in his appearance in the tournament.
In the 2002 NBA draft, Denver selected Williams with the 25th pick in the first round, he was then dealt to the New York Knicks. Williams spent two seasons in New York before being traded to the Chicago Bulls for one season. In 86 NBA games he averaged 2.9 points and 1.9 assists. Williams is one of four Peorians honored in the 31 year history of the Illinois Mr. Basketball award. Williams is one of two players ever to be named Player of the year in the Big Ten.
As a point guard, Frank Williams starred at both the high school and collegiate levels, and played briefly in the NBA.
Larry Leitner was among the state's elite officials for more than 40 years, officiating high school, college and professional sporting events from 1960 through 2003 and he remains involved in sports by serving on the board of directors for the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament, as well as evaluating current officials and moderating IHSA rules clinics.
Among his officiating highlights, Leitner worked more IHSA basketball and football tournament games than any official in the state's history, earning 27 consecutive boys basketball regional assignments. He also worked the IHSA boys basketball state finals in 1973, 1974 and 1976, including the 1976 championship game, and three IHSA football finals, including the first-ever 2A state championship game in 1974. A charter member of the Gateway Conference officiating crew in 1988, Leitner was part of the crew that officiated the 1990 and 1993 NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinals and he served as an associate official for the Big Ten Conference from 1984-88.
Leitner also was called upon to officiate two IESA state championship games, the 1990 National Catholic Basketball finals, three Shriner All-Star football games and the 1980 IBCA All-Star Classic, while also working for two seasons in the Midwest Professional Football League.
Leitner is a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, Peoria Officials and Bloomington/Normal Officials Halls of Fame.