2008 Springfield Sports Hall Inductees

Linda Suhs Cleveland

Sacred Heart Academy (1985) and Harvard University (1989) who competed in swimming. As a high school senior, she placed fourth in the 100 freestyle and eighth in the 50 freestyle at the Illinois High School Association state meet, and she was a five-time Illinois YMCA state champion (100 backstroke in 1982 and 1983; 50 freestyle in 1983 and 1985; 100 freestyle in 1985). In 1983, she placed eighth in the 50 freestyle at the National Junior Olympics, and in 1984 she was eighth in the 50 freestyle at the YMCA National Championships. Her best season may have been in the summer of 1985, when she won two titles at the YMCA state meet, was named Illinois Swimming Association Swimmer of the Year and YMCA National Outstanding Swimmer after placing seventh in the 50 freestyle at the YMCA national meet. She attended Harvard and was named Outstanding Freshman Swimmer at the school in 1986 and was a four-time first-team All-Ivy League swimmer. She was first-team All-Eastern swimmer in 1987, 1988 and 1989 and earned All-America honors in 1987 and 1988, and she qualified for the 1988 Olympic Trials. She was the Ivy League 50-yard freestyle champion in 1989, and she still holds the school record in that event. She also was a member of Harvard's school-record 200 medley relay team. In 2005, she was inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame.

Helen Dulle

Spent 34 years coaching volleyball at Sacred Heart Academy and Sacred Heart-Griffin High School before retiring after the 2006 season. According to the Illinois High School Association Web site, Dulle is the second-winningest coach in state history with 903 wins in 34 seasons. That included five fourth-place finishes at the state tournament, in 1978, 1980, 1989, 1992 and 1994. Dulle had 17 seasons in which her teams won at least 30 matches, including six straight 30-plus seasons from 1982-87. The Blazers' best season was 40-4 in 1980. Sacred Heart-Griffin won  27 City Tournament titles. According to the SHG Web site, the program has produced at least 56 college players, half of them Division I recruits.

Tom Jensen
Springfield High School graduate (1971) who was an all-state football lineman as a senior and received a scholarship to Michigan. He earned three varsity letters as center and guard and played in the 1976 Orange Bowl. He was a member of a Michigan class that compiled a 30-2-1 record in four years. He coached at Millikin University from 1981-1998, where he held the position of assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and line coach for both offense and defense. Since 1999 he has worked at the Lutheran School Association in Decatur and was elementary school principal for five years. He also coached the offensive line at Mount Zion High School during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

Ed Ransford
Native of Assumption, Ill., who attended the University of Illinois and began his teaching career in physical education at Ridgely and Bunn grade schools. After two years there he was transferred to Lanphier High School along with math teacher Arlyn Lober. At Lanphier, Ransford coached basketball, football, golf, track and field and wrestling as well as serving as athletic director. In 1955, Ransford introduced wrestling at Lanphier and later encouraged his friend, John McCoy at Feitshans, to start a program there. He coached wrestling at Lanphier for eight years, and one of his protégés - Julian "Babe" Gabriel - who was third at 154 pounds in 1964 to become the first city state-meet placer,  He held various administrative positions in District 186 until his retirement, and he was a regular at the YMCA for four decades. He was a Golden Gloves boxer and was the first regional director for the Prairie State Games. He was also one of the original members of the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame selection committee.

Jerry Slack
Was the star of the 1945 Springfield High Hall of Fame football team and was selected captain of the Illinois All-Star Football Team that year. He played football and ran track for four years at SHS and also was a member of the basketball team as a junior and a senior. After a stint in the United States Navy, he attended the University of Illinois and competed in both football and track. He was a teacher and coach at Farmer City High School for three years after graduating from Illinois, and then he was at Oak Park-River Forest High School as a football and track coach for 34 years. He retired in the 1980s and then was a volunteer assistant coach at West Chicago until his death in 1995.



Leo Duke's team was 22-9 and was the only Feitshans basketball team to ever win a sectional tournament. Springfield Sports Hall of Famer Marvin Schultz played on this team, which beat Springfield High 32-28 in overtime in the regional title game. In the sectional at Decatur, Feitshans beat Bement 39-25, Kincaid 27-26 and Clinton 45-28 in the title game. In the state quarterfinals held at the Armory, Feithans dropped a 29-19 decision to Pittsfield and Verdie Altizer. Other members of the Feitshans team were Leroy Bennett, Charley Bohles, Johnny Kimball, Bill Klekamp, Allen Loeser, Edris Mabie, Lloyd Newquist, Bob Rodgerson and Andy Washko.




Joe Bascio - Coached boys baseball in Little League, Pony League, Colt League, Mickey Mantle and Connie Mack League for 32 years beginning in 1960, when he was 23 years old. He retired from coaching in 1992, but in 2004 he returned to coach his grandsons, and the team finished second in the state Mickey Mantle Tournament. He served as president of the Connie Mack League, coached basketball for the St. Carbini CYO team and since 1992 he has been a manager and player in the Senior Slow-Pitch Softball League.

Bob Knox
Bob Knox - 1953 Feitshans High School graduate. He played football and ran track in high school, earning all-city, all-conference and honorable mention all-state recognition in 1952. He served from 1956-58 in the United States Army, where he played baseball and softball. When his playing days ended, Knox began umpiring summer baseball and softball games for the Springfield Recreation Department, and he did that from 1959-95. He worked Little Eight League games, Connie Mack League (including the World Series) and Mickey Mantle League. He still is involved with National Softball Association and Amateur Softball Association games, and he estimates he has worked at least 1,500 slow-pitch and 2,500 fast-pitch games in NSA and ASA, and he was in the first class to be inducted into the Illinois ASA Hall of Fame in 2007.

Jerry Owens
Jerry Owens - Pleasant Plains High School graduate who lived in Springfield after graduating from Illinois State University in 1964 and was able to mix his love for athletics, politics and writing for more than 40 years until his death in 2007. He was a social studies teacher at Chatham Glenwood High School from 1965-67 and became The State Journal-Register political columnist from 1966-72. He worked in various capacities of state government from 1972 until his retirement in 2002. He served on the Springfield Board of Education, the Prairie Capital Center board and the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame Selection Committee. He played fast-pitch softball at a high level for 25 years and coached slow-pitch softball.

Don Post - Springfield native who attended Lawrence Grade School and Springfield High School, got his degree from Western Illinois State College and came back to spend 31 years as a District 186 school teacher and a tremendous supporter of high school athletes in Springfield. He participated in football, basketball, baseball and track at Lawrence and SHS, and he says his main hobby is sports. He played on the 1952 American Legion team that won the state title, and later he served as an assistant baseball coach and then head baseball coach at Lanphier. He was assistant coach, business manager and board member of the original Springfield Caps of the Central Illinois Collegiate League, served as a scorer for the Lanphier basketball team, served as public address announcer for baseball games and track meets, sold tickets and took tickets and did whatever was needed at high school sporting events. He has attended at least one night of all the boys City Basketball Tournaments since the inception in 1948-49.

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