TriCounty Winning the State football championship in Class 4-A was a highlight for Washington High School Coach John Venturi in a very successful career as a player and coach.
Since he assumed the job as head football coach at Washington High School six years ago, the team has won the Mid-State 10 championship in 1981, then the Mid-Illini championship in 1982, became runner-up in Class 4-A in 1983, and then the State 4-A championship in 1985. His overall record at Washington High is 52 wins and 22 losses.
John had an illustrious career as an athlete at Pekin High School and the University of Missouri. He quarterbacked two Mid-State championship football teams for Pekin and was named to the Chicago American's AllState team in 1967. He played on the 1967 Pekin State basketball champion team. John lettered in football, basketball and baseball at Pekin High. He was quarterback on the 1970 University of Missouri football team which played in the Orange Bowl.
His coaching career has included one year as a graduate assistant at the University of Missouri and four years as assistant coach in basketball, football and baseball at Peoria Central during which time Central won a state basketball championship in 1977.
John is the son of the highly respected and long time coach of Pekin High school, Joe Venturi.
Winning the State football championship in Class 4-A was a highlight for Washington High School Coach John Venturi in a very successful career as a player and coach.
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.