Springfield Sports Hall of Fame 2013 Inductees


In the spring of 1944, she took her final exams at Feitshans High School early so she could attend spring training for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, and she spent that season as a pitcher and outfielder for the Kenosha Comets. She got softball pitching instructions as a 13-year-old, and in 1943 she took a part-time summer job in a spark plug factory in Chicago during he day and played semi-professional softball for the Tungsten Sparks team at night. A scout for he All-American Girls Professional Baseball League saw her play and invited her to try out. She played one season and went home due to injury. In 1988 she was part of the Baseball Hall of Fame's salute to the AAGPBI, and in 2000 she was part of the "Salute to Women in Baseball" at Safeco Field in Seattle. Every year she throws out the ceremonial first pitch at the Kirkland (Wash.) Girls Junior World Series.

When he graduated from Lanphier in 1957, his 1,374 career points were the most in school basketball history, and he's still among the top 10. He was a two-time all-city pick (1956 and 1957), and he led the city in scoring as a senior in 1957 with an average of 21 points per game to become the first Lanphier player ever to average 20 points a game. He played one year at Western Illinois University and then joined the Air Force, where he played on championship teams in 1962, 1965 and 1967. He retired from the Air Force in 1980 and returned to college. He worked as a school teacher, was director of the Boys Club, worked for the Springfield Recreation Commission, was director of the Springfield Housing Authority's recreation center, ran the Lincoln Challenge Program and then was a school teacher in New Mexico.


The 1968 Springfield High School graduate was a three-sport letter-winner at Lincoln Land Community College and graduated from Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. His greatest success came as a coach. He was at Pleasant Plains from 1974-78 and coached wrestling, cross country and baseball. He was at Perersburg PORTA from 1979-88 and coached cross country, wrestling and track. He was at Lincoln Land from 1989-91 and coached cross country. Then he was at Chatham Glenwood from 1994-2009 and coached cross country and boys track. At Pleasant Plains, his wrestling team won the school's first district title in 1978 and in one year as the cross country coach his team won Sangamo and New Salem Conference titles. At PORTA, his 1979 cross country team won the state title, his teams were sixth, fifth, third, fourth, seventh and ninth, he had 16 individual all-staters (top 25 at the state meet) and his team's won 70 consecutive dual meets, No. 4 in state history. At Lincoln Land he coached three national qualifiers in cross country before the school dropped the sport. At Glenwood, his 2007 cross country team finished second at the state meet and he coached 20 Central State Eight Conference championship teams in boys cross country, girls cross country and boys track.



While at Griffin High School (Class of 1983) he earned nine varsity letters in swimming, track and football and was captain of the swimming and track teams. He was a two-time all-city pick in swimming and an all-city selection in track as a senior, when he set the school record in the 800. He also earned all-city honors in football as a defensive back on the 1982 state finalist. He was the Illinois YMCA State Swimmer of the Year in 1983. After graduation from college, he became a world-class sailor, winning the Star Class world championship in 1993, the Star Class North American championship three times and the California Cup in 1996. He was a member of the United States Sailing team from 1992-1996, the United States Olympic second team (1988), was the United States Olympic Committee's Athlete of the Year for sailing in 1993 and the Southern California Yacht Racing Sailor of the Year in 1993. In 2009 he was the Farr 40 North American Champion, and in 2012 he skippered Realt na Mara to the overall title at the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac Island. In 2013 he completed his first Atlantic Ocean race, 2,700 nautical miles from Canary Islands to St. Lucia.


The 1981 Sacred Heart Academy graduate was an all-city volleyball player in 1979 and 1980, and she earned honorable mention in basketball. She was a starter on SHA teams that placed fourth in the state volleyball tournament in 1978 and 1980, and twice she made it up to the final cut for the United States National Junior Olympic Team. She was recruited by dozens of schools and offered full scholarships by a number of Division I schools including Wisconsin, Kentucky and Illinois State. She decided to go to the University of Missouri to pursue a degree in journalism. She was a four-year starting outside hitter and two-time captain for the Tigers, and she still is in the Missouri record books in a number of categories including kills, service aces, aces per game, spike attempts and points per game. She holds the all-time record for service aces in a four game match (7 vs. Iowa State in 1982) and is tied for the No. 1 spot for the most matches ever played in a season by a Missouri volleyball player (37). She was on the All-Big Eight Tournament team, and in 1982, she had a record 23 kills (a career high) to help Missouri beat powerhouse Nebraska for the first time ever.



The team was made up entirely of local players, went 21-3 and won the Midwest Conference title, regional and Midwest Sectional titles on the way to a second-place finish at the national wheelchair tournament. The Spoke Jockeys dropped a 56-50 decision to the Detroit Pistons in the title game. Team members were Chris Cooper, Carl Suter, John O'Brien, Don Behle, Merlyn Earnest, Richard Diecker, Jay Termaine, Alan Clark, Chuck Grove, Jack Spring and George Veenstra. Veenstra who is a member of the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame, served as coach.



The 1948 Springfield High School graduate earned a degree in civl engineering from the University of Illinois and spent 45 years as an engineer for the Springfield firm of Crawford, Murphy and Tilly Inc. It was in that role that he managed the engineering and construction of Chamberlain Park from 1975-77. Along with a corps of volunteers from Boys Baseball Inc., 3,000 hours were donated to the project and 100,000 tons of material from the old Boilerworks Factory was removed and a 6 1/2-acre mine site was reclaimed. He also was instrumental in the construction of the Korean War Memorial and he spent many hours on and was very dedicated to the Children's Safety Village.


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