Inductees Dick Baxter, a successful three-sport coach at Peoria Manual High School, was responsible for originating the Illinois State High School Baseball Tournament and made Peoria the home of that tournament for the first 40 years of its existence.
He coached football, basketball, and baseball at Manual in an era when many coaches handled that tremendous load as a matter of course. Baxter was a winner in all three sports as his teams became powers.
He was Manual's premier coach from 1935 through the 1944 season, and it was in 1940 that he came up with a plan for a statewide prep baseball tournament.
The first tournament was put together solely by Baxter, although the Illinois High School Association gave its blessing. That first one drew 64 entrants and eight sectional winners came to Peoria to play for the state title. The finalists were Pekin, Fairbury, Princeville, Bloomington, Champaign, Bluffs, Belleville and Streator. Belleville defeated Champaign to win the first state title.
The IHSA took over the tournament the next year. It became a fixture on the Peoria sports scene until it was moved to Springfield for the 1980 tournament after that city refurbished its ballpark.
Dick Baxter, a successful three-sport coach at Peoria Manual High School, was responsible for originating the Illinois State High School Baseball Tournament and made Peoria the home of that tournament for the first 40 years of its existence.
This year’s Neve Harms recipient is not only a gracious volunteer, but a born organizer. Glen is the head man of the crew that manages the Bradley basketball games. They have been so efficient that they have been asked to manage the Missouri Valley Tournament in St. Louis. He has been a coach, a manager, a Caterpillar worker, and a member of the Bradley Alumni Board in 1967-68. Glen’s organizing skills first blossomed when he volunteered to form a stats, program for "Ozzie" and then Joe Stowell. This job gradually grew in technology until it reached its present status as the best of the rest. Later, Glen was asked by Ron Ferguson to be in charge of the Bradley basketball games, where at 84, he still runs the show.