Inductees Phil Salzer has been a vital part of the local high school coaching scene for almost his entire life.
A 1957 graduate of East Peoria High School, where he played football and ran track, he was on the football and track staff at Peoria Central High School by 1964 after a three year stint at Farmer City High School after his 1961 graduation from Bradley University.
He was head track and field coach at Central from 1966 through 1989 and assistant football coach for 30 years beginning in 1964. And few have been as successful.
During his long track coaching tenure his teams won 10 Mid-State titles and took nine district and sectional crowns. His athletes placed in the IHSA state meet 15 times along with three of his relay teams. Three of his athletes became NCAA national champions and one was a Big Ten champion.
Still a volunteer football coach at the time of his induction, he helped coach 11 Central teams that made the IHSA playoffs including the 1989 team that was runner-up in Class 4A.
He was inducted into the Illinois High School Track and Cross Country Hall of Fame in 1992, named the Illinois High School Track and Field Coach of the Year in 1974, been a member of the IHSA Track and Field Advisory Board since 1978 and was named chairman of the group when the boys and girls committees merged.
He was inducted into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1994, received the Greater Peoria Football Coaches Award for Meritorious Service in 1994 and received the Ray Eliot Award for Service of the Illinois High School Football Coaches in 1984.
He was a member of the steering committee which brought the state high school basketball tournament to Peoria and has been involved as a member of the Games Committee in running the IHSA cross country meet hosted by Peoria Central.
Phil Salzer has been a vital part of the local high school coaching scene for almost his entire life.
|Dawdy Hawkins |
"Dawdy" Hawkins, one of the most successful high school basketball coaches in the nation, directed his teams to state titles in two different states. His Lincoln Northeast High School team won a Nebraska state prep crown in 1948, just before he left to take over at Peoria Central. He quickly forged a powerhouse at Central, his 1952-53 team, led by brilliant center Hiles Stout, making it to the championship game of the Illinois state finals at the University of Illinois' old Huff Gym before bowing to LaGrange, 71-60. Hawkins took three other Peoria Central teams to the state tournament (1954, 56, 59) and then, switching to Pekin, had five other state appearances (1964, 65, 66, 67, 73), including state championship teams in 1964 and 1967.