Back                                      Springfield Sports Hall of Fame 2019 Inductees

Peter Christofilakos

Sacred Heart-Griffin High School graduate (1999) who participated in soccer and football and college and high school and played professional football. In football, Christofilakos was selected as the kicker on the Chicago Tribune All-State team as a senior in 1999, and he set two state kicking records: consecutive extra points made and consecutive field goals made. He went on to the University of Illinois, where he was the starting kicker in 2001 and 2002. He was a second-team All-Big Ten selection as a junior in 2001 and honorable mention All-Big Ten as a senior in 2002. He was a two-time finalist for the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker. He set a school record for consecutive extra points, was a member of the 2001 Big Ten championship team that played in the Sugar Bowl, was named Player of the Game in 2001 for his performance against Michigan and was Big Ten Special Team Player of the Week in 2001 for his performance against Wisconsin. He played indoor professional football for the Bloomington Rattlers and Arizona Rattlers, was named Special Teams Player of the Year five years in a row in the UIF and IFL, holds the record for longest field goal in UIF history (59 yards) and had his jersey retired in 2013 by the Bloomington Extreme. In soccer, Christofilakos was an eight-time club soccer state champion, a two-time Midwest champion and was MVP of the national tournament when his team won the national title. He was named to the U.S. Select team three times. In high school he was a three-time all-state selection, an All-Midwest selection as a senior, a two-time Adidas All-America selection, captain of the 1998 state championship team and MVP of the state tournament. He scored a city-record 54 goals as a senior. He played one year of college soccer at UIS after his eligibility in football was up at the U of I, and he scored 22 goals in 2003 and was named Rookie of the Year and named to the All-America team. He also served as boys head soccer coach at SHG for five seasons and is in his fourth season as the soccer coach at Lincoln Land Community College

Bob Erickson

Lanphier High School graduate (1966) who played football, basketball and baseball and ran cross country in high school. He was a three-year regular on the baseball and basketball teams, earned all-city honors in baseball in 1966 and was honorary captain of the basketball team during the 1965-66 season. He received a baseball scholarship to Western Illinois and was a walk-on member of the WIU basketball team in 1967. He then transferred back home to Springfield College in Illinois, where he was a member of the track and basketball teams. He was SCI’s basketball MVP in 1969, when he averaged 19.1 points a game. He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and played two seasons in the minor leagues. After his release by the Cardinals, Erickson returned to Springfield where he played AAU basketball for Lincoln Cab and baseball for the Springfield Steelmen. The Steelmen were four-time state champions with a 227-37 record, and Erickson was named MVP of the Riverton Fourth of July Tournament three times. He coached baseball at Springfield College in Illinois after he helped start the program in 1969, then served as an assistant coach at Lanphier from 1992-95. He also coached youth baseball, football and basketball in Springfield and has been an umpire on the high school and college levels since 1975. He also is a proficient groundskeeper, and one field at Spartan Park is named in his honor and the high school varsity field at Community Park in Chatham is Bob Erickson Field.

Ann Gaffigan

Sacred Heart-Griffin High School graduate (2000) who won the 1998 Illinois High School School Association Class AA Girls State Track Meet title in the 3,200 meters, the 1998 IHSA Class AA Girls State Cross Country title and the state track title in the 3,200 meters again in 2000. She also was a four-year member of the SHG girls soccer team, served as team captain as a junior and senior and earned all-conference honors in soccer while she also competed in track meets. Gaffigan also played basketball in high school. She received a track scholarship to the University of Nebraska, and as a freshman she placed second in the mile at the Big 12 Conference Indoor Championships and third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, earning Nebraska’s Female Newcomer of the Year award. As a senior, Gaffigan led the Nebraska women’s cross country team to a regional championship and a berth in the NCAA Championships. On the track in the spring of 2004, Gaffigan won Big 12 and NCAA Regional titles in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, earning a trip to the NCAA Championships, where she placed fifth nationally in a personal-record 9:59.75 to earn All-America honors and qualify for the 2004 Olympic Trials. Gaffigan won the Olympic Trials in an American-record time of 9:39.35, but the event did not become an official Olympic event until 2008, so the 2004 Trials race was exhibition only. Gaffigan was named Nebraska’s Student-Athlete of the Year for 2004. She continued her post-collegiate career as a member of the New Balance team, and she placed 10th in the 3,000 steeplechase at the 2008 Olympic Trials and then retired. Gaffigan now serves as the secretary for the USA Track and Field Athletes Advisory Committee, which protects the rights and interests of elite athletes in the organization.


Rufus Greer






 Lanphier High School graduate (1971) who earned honorable mention all-state honors as a senior when he averaged 19.3 points for the Lions’ fourth-place in state basketball team. He finished his career with 1,045 points. He attended Black Hawk College ad earned all-conference and all-state honors and was nominated for Junior College All-America honors after the 1971-72 season. He attended Augustana College but he suffered a career-ending knee injury at the start of his junior year. He earned his degree from Western Illinois University and then began a 35-year coaching career at Black Hawk College and currently as the girls assistant head basketball coach at East Moline United Township High School. He spent 18 years coaching both the men’s and women’s programs at Black Hawk. His Black Hawk women’s teams won Arrowhead Conference championships in 1993, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003, were Region IV champions in 1993, 1994, 2000 and 2002. He produced six women All-Americans and was the conference Coach of the Year in 1991, 1993, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2003 and the Region IV Coach of the Year in 1993, 1994, 2000 and 2002. While he coached the men, Black Hawk was Arrowhead Conference champions in 1998. He had 376 victories as head of Black Hawk’s men’s and women’s programs, and he was inducted into the school’s Wall of Fame in 1999 and 2000. In addition, he coached on the professional level in the American Basketball Association (ABA) as an assistant with the Quad Cities RiverHawks. He was co-owner, general manager and coach of the Reigning Knights of the Georgia Professional League for three, and he coached one season in the Southern California NBA Summer Pro Basketball League at Long Beach, California, for one season.


Mike Mcgee

 Sacred Heart-Griffin High School graduate (1995???) who won nine varsity letters in high school. He earned All-Central State Eight Conference honors in track and was a state qualifier as both a junior and senior, and at one time he held the City Meet and CS8 records in the shot put. He was All-CS8 and honorable mention all-state in basketball as a junior and senior. In football, McGee was All-CS8 as both a junior and senior, and he was first-team All-State by the Chicago Tribune (as a tight end), Chicago Sun-Times and Champaign News-Gazette (as a defensive end) as a senior. He also was named the Schutt Sports All-America team as a senior, and he played in three all-star games following his senior season. He received a football scholarship to the University of Illinois, and he earned four varsity letters and a three-year starter at defensive tackle. He finished his career with 110 tackles and 13 quarterback sacks. During McGee’s senior season the Illini were ranked 24th nationally and won the Micron PC Bowl 63-21 over Virginia. He signed a free agent contract with the NFL Carolina Panthers after college, but his career was cut short by hamstring injuries.



Hank Borg





1953 Springfield High School graduate who played golf and basketball in high school (he qualified for the state tournament as a senior). He attended Ripon College, where he played basketball and golf, and he was captain of the Ripon golf team in 1956 and 1957 and was the medalist in the conference tournament in 1956. He played on the U.S. Army golf team at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, from 1957-59 and was team in 1958 and 1959 and qualified for the Fourth Army Championship. In 1967 and 1968, he won the Chicago Svithiod Golf Tournament. From 1970-95, he played golf in 48 countries, and from 1995-2007 he served as North American Executive PGA of Europe/RdG.



Rich Howard




 A lifelong resident of Springfield and Feitshans High School graduate who played football and ran track, Howard was a highly successful basketball and track coach at Washington Middle School from 1972 until his retirement in 2001, and he still volunteers to help with the coaching and administration at track meets. His teams won 14 state championships since joining the IESA in 1982, one in seventh-grade basketball and 13 in 7 th -8 th -grade track and field. He coached over 30 individual state champions and nearly 20 state championship relay teams. Among the athletes he has coached are Doug Collins, Malcom Holman, Skip Douglas, Tom McBride, T.J. Jumper, Victor Chukwudebe, James Ballard, Philandis Minter, George Wilson, Andre Williams, Jimmy Washington, Richard McBride and Kevyn Samuels.



 Bessie Paoli






A Springfield native, she was the first woman owner of an Indy car in February of 1952 when she ordered her Kurtis Kraft 4000, chassis No. 349 from Frank Kurtis. She chose the top power plant of the day, the now legendary 270 Offenhauser. Anxious to see her new car in action, the first race Paoli entered was the 1952 Indy 500. The fact that women weren’t allowed inside the fence at the Brickyard didn’t slow her down as she was seen passing notes through the fence to her crew chief Clay “Mr. Horsepower” Smith. In its first race, the No. 16 Springfield Welding’s Smith Special, driven Chuck Stevenson, powered to an 18th-place finish with a top speed of 136.142mph. While 18th place may not sound impressive, keep in mind that every year for Indy, 100 cars make it to the final qualifying, followed by another 66 getting cut after that before the race. The Bessie Paoli-owned team won the 1952 American Automobile Association point championship. At the 1953 Indianapolis 500, Paoli’s No. 16 car qualified 12th with a speed of 137.310 mph and then finished second to Hall of Famer Bill Vukovich with Art Cross driving. The No. 16 car, with Jimmy Bryan driving, had six top-10 finishes on dirt in 1953. Paoli’s car failed to qualify for the 1954 Indianapolis 500, and in 1955 Paoli sold the car to her good friend Mari Hulman. She died in 1996 at the age of 77.











 Mark Powell





MARK POWELL (Auburn 1977) has been an Illinois High School Association basketball official for almost 35 years. He coached youth basketball ast St. Agnes School for six years and was president of the Clark Griffith Little League for four years. As a basketball official he has worked 20 regionals, 17 sectionals, four supersectionals and two state finals.




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