2006 Springfield Sports Hall Inductees

Chuck Gantt
Is a 1956 Feitshans graduate who was a four-year letter-winner in baseball, a three-year letter-winner in basketball and a two-time letter-winner in football, and he also earned a varsity letter in track as a freshman. He was all-city seven times - twice in football, twice in basketball and three times in baseball. As a senior he was voted Lineman of the Year in football and received all-state honorable mention. He also led the city in scoring as a senior basketball player. He attended Western Illinois University and later served in the Army National Guard and was stationed in Fort Riley, Kan. Gantt played baseball for the Sangamo Electric and Riverton Athletic Club teams that advanced to the national AAU tournament in Battle Creek, Mich. He officiated basketball and baseball for 40 years. As a baseball umpire he worked the NCAA Division II World Series at Lanphier Park and the state high school finals twice. He also was an umpire for an exhibition game at Lanphier Park between the St. Louis Cardinals and Triple-A Springfield Redbirds.

Larry Garrison
 Graduated from Mount Pulaski High School, where he was a two-year letter-winner in baseball and basketball, in 1955. He took part in the College Training Program at Caterpillar Tractor Company from 1955-59, and he received a degree in mathematics from the University of Illinois in 1959. He came to Springfield as a mathematics teacher at Ben Franklin Junior High School in 1960, and he stayed there as a teacher and basketball coach until 1967. He went to the newly opened Southeast High School as a math and computer science teacher in 1967, and he served as head cross country coach from 1967-70, assistant basketball coach during the 1967-68 season and then served as head boys basketball coach from 1969-82. His coaching highlights include winning three city titles, two district and one sectional title in cross country, and in each of  his seasons as the cross country coach he had runners compete in the state meet. His basketball teams compiled a 217-118 record, a .647 winning percentage. His teams won six city championships, including three straight outright city titles from 1970-72, four holiday tournament titles, two conference crowns including an undefeated Capital Conference season, three regional championships and one sectional title. He was the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association District Coach of the Year three times. He was an IBCA board member from 1972-1982, and he retired from coaching in 1982 and teaching in 1993. Garrison completed his career in sports by running the Chicago Marathon in 1984.

Joe Knox
 Is a 1943 Cathedral graduate who played football for two years and basketball for three years and also was a top-notch boxer. The first time he carried the football as a junior in 1941 against Jacksonville ISD, he went 73 yards for a touchdown. In the next game against Taylorville he went 62 yards for a score on his first carry, and that was the first unbeaten team in school history. The 1942 Cathedral basketball team went 27-4 and won regional and sectional titles on the way to a Sweet 16 appearance in the state tournament. As a senior, he earned all-city in football and basketball as team captain in both sports. In the all-city high school boxing tournament he won the 138-pound lightweight title and was named the tournament's outstanding boxer.  He played Muny League basketball for the Southend Veterans team that won the city title, and in 1951 he was a member of the One Day Cleaners basketball team that won the Illinois AAU title. He scored 16 points against a team from California in the national AAU tournament. In 1961 he won the all-events division of the Greater Springfield Bowling Association tournament, and he has recorded two holes-in-one on the golf course.

Bob Martin
Is a 1954 Cathedral graduate who earned 11 varsity letters, two in track, three in football, three in basketball and three in baseball. He was all-city in football, basketball and baseball as a senior and special mention all-state in football by the Chicago Daily News as a senior. He played summer baseball over the years in the Junior League, Senior League and Little 8 League. He received a football scholarship to Western Illinois State Teacher College and earned three letters in football and four in baseball at WIU. He played for Lou Saban at WIU, and two of the football assistants were Red Miller and Joe Collier; all three went on to coach in the NFL. In baseball, he played in the 1957 NAIA Tournament in Alpine, Texas. He taught and coached at Griffin  from 1964-85, including a stint as the head basketball coach. He spent 38 years as a high school and small college football official and 35 years as a high school and small college basketball official. He officiated basketball regional, sectional and supersectional games, and he also worked the state finals three times, including the 1991 Class A state title game between Pittsfield and Seneca.



CATHEDRAL HIGH BOYS BASKETBALL - During the the 1940s, Cathedral Boys High School qualified three teams for the one-class state basketball tournament. The 1942 team was beaten in the Sweet 16 by Cicero Morton. The 1946 team was beaten in the Sweet 16 by Collinsville. And the 1948  team lost in quarterfinals to eventual state champion Pinckneyville. The school -  as Cathedral, Griffin or Sacred Heart-Griffin - hasn't been back to the state basketball finals since.



Bill Blackwell - is a 1968 Williamsville graduate who played baseball and basketball there before moving on to Springfield College in Illinois (basketball and baseball) and then Southern Illinois. He was a member of the 1973 Quality Furniture Fast-Pitch Softball Team that was inducted into the Hall of Fame He lived in Springfield from 1972-82, first working in the cable television industry and then at WTAX radio as a sales representative and sportscaster. He did play-by-play for high school football and basketball, University of Illinois basketball and the Class AAA Springfield Redbirds of the American Association. He won a UPI Broadcast Award for best play-by-play in 1981. From 1982-87 he was vice president/general manager of the New York Mets' Class A affiliate at Shelby, N.C., and then Columbia, S.C., and from 1987-99 he was vice president/general manager of the Class AA team in Jackson, Miss., which had affiliations with the Mets and Astros. From 2000-02 he was president of the New York Yankees' Greensboro Class A farm club, and from 2002-05 he was vice president/general manager of the Chicago White Sox Class AAA Charlotte farm club. He was South Atlantic League Executive of the Year three times, Texas League Executive of the Year in 1992 and has won various other civic awards in Jackson, Miss., and Columbia, S.C.

Bill Foster -  is a 1966 Springfield High graduate who has been involved with the LPGA State Farm Classic since 1979, has served on the board since 1985 and on the executive committee since 1987. He served as tournament chairman in 1989-90, was vice president of the board of directors in 1991, president of the board of directors in 1992-92 and was chairman of the board of directors from 1994-2001. From 1996 until 2001, he served on the LPGA Tournament Sponsors Association in various capacities. He's also been on the board of the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame since 1993, was a founding member of the Capital Area Sports Commission, served as a member of the Springfield Park District board of trustees from 1979-83, was assistant treasurer of the Illinois Association of Park Districts from 1979-83 and was a youth coach in basketball and soccer for 10 years. From 2000-04, he served as official scorer for SHG girls basketball and volleyball. He also was involved in fast-pitch softball as a player and coach and recreational  league basketball.

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