1964 CANTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE BASEBALL TEAM
The Canton Community College/Spoon River College Alumni Association inducted members of the 1964 Canton Community College baseball team into Athletic Hall of Fame during the annual Alumni Association Awards Reception held November 6 at the Canton Campus.
Team members are Bill Anderson, Chuck Bentley, John Doolan (deceased), Mike Frisch (deceased), Ron George (deceased), Ed Hoffman, Carroll Herman (deceased), Dick Kautz (deceased), Jack Meyer, Jasper “Jay” Parrish (deceased), Rich Prosser, Paul Swiger, Ken Walker, Ed Warner, Randy Welch. Coach Harry Smith (deceased) and Manage Lee Baker.
The team was the 1964 NJCAA Region IV Champions and NJCAA Illinois State Champions
After a solid regular season, the 1964 Canton Community College men’s baseball team got hot at the right time and won the NJCAA Region IV Championship en route to being the NJCAA State Champions of Illinois. No CCC or SRC baseball team has ever advanced further into postseason play.
The team scored convincing wins in the playoffs over Black Hawk, Morton, and Belleville (now Southwestern Illinois College), allowing just five runs in the three victories. This advanced them to the Section Championship, where they won the first game against Ellsworth Community College (Iowa Falls, IA). Unfortunately, they dropped games two and three to end their season one game short of the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, CO — an eight-team tournament to crown the National Champion. Coach Harry Smith’s Crusaders ended the season with a record of 13-8.
Lance Q. Zedric
A native of Canton, Illinois, Lance is a noted author, historian, and consultant specializing in the history of U.S. military special operations. He has authored ten books and has had major articles published in VFW, ARMY, Behind the Lines, The Writer, Heartland USA, and other magazines. Lance’s first book, Silent Warriors of World War II, was the first published history of the famous Alamo Scouts and was optioned by Universal Studios.
Lance has appeared on and consulted for programs appearing on the History Channel, PBS, Japan Television, Sunwood Entertainment, Flashback Television, and for Miramax Studios on the motion picture, The Great Raid. He is the former Director of Public Information and Sports Information at Monmouth College and was nominated for the Bernard Dial Award for Excellence in Military History. Lance is also the historian for the Alamo Scouts Historical Foundation and editor of Recon magazine.
Lance has taught special education in Peoria, Illinois for 22 years and was the 2018 recipient of the prestigious ELITE Suzi Russell Teacher of the Year Award and a multi-recipient of the Children’s Home Educator of the Year Award.
Lance received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Monmouth College and holds a Master of Arts in History from Western Illinois University. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Intelligence School, and during his four years in the U.S. Army, served as an intelligence analyst in the Republic of Korea; at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and in support of coalition forces during the Gulf War. He was a two-time member of the U.S. All-Army Track & Field Team and was inducted into the Monmouth College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014. He was also a member of the 1978 CHS Football Team that was inducted into the Canton High School Hall of Fame.
Lance and his wife, Ching live in Peoria, and his daughter is a sophomore at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.
For more information on speaking availability, visit his website at www.LanceBooks.com; email him direct at Lzedric@gmail.com, or call (309)692-0802.
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Dr Bruce DeRuntz
Dr. Bruce DeRuntz still remembers his first visit to Spoon River College, at new student orientation on July 15, 1981. His new head coach, Charlie Black, was out of town. One of five children of a truck driver father and cafeteria cook mother, he was an acclaimed runner from Granite City, Illinois, who had earned a scholarship to the University of Northern Iowa. But there was one problem.
He was in a full cast, on crutches, and recovering from reconstructive surgery on his ankle, and he was meeting SRC’s Athletic Director, Ed Georgieff, for the first time.
“I limped my way up to Ed and extended my hand to greet him,” Bruce says. “He took my hand, looked down at my cast and said, with a loud proclamation of doubt, ‘So you are Charlie’s new runner!’”
Coach Black and SRC had shown interest in Bruce in high school, but the allure of a full scholarship from UNI was too good to pass up. When the injury happened, his high school coach, Harry Lang, who Bruce credits with having already done a great deal to help in his exposure, encouraged Bruce to keep his options open.“
Coach Lang encouraged me to go to my contingency plan and look at community colleges again,” Bruce says. “I sent out letters, and Coach Black said he’d take a chance on me. I guess he saw my [running] times and thought, ‘Well, if he’s run them before, he can run them again,’ and offered me a scholarship.”
While Spoon River may have been Bruce’s fall-back option, he readily admits coming to SRC changed his life for the better. “It’s the community. I came from a larger city, where you’re able to get lost or be anonymous. You can’t do that at Spoon River. Everyone knows everyone, and everyone makes a point to know everyone – in a good way. It was so neat to make friends in classes and get invited to come to their farm to hunt, fish, ride motorcycles, and other things I never had the opportunity to do.”
Having never been truly prepped for college-level coursework, he acknowledges that he had some trouble adjusting to college academics. But the faculty at SRC quickly earned his admiration, further strengthening his belief in the community atmosphere SRC offered.
“I was embarrassed by my lack of ability [in developmental algebra], but the instructor – I think she was from Macomb – never let me feel that way,” Bruce says. “Farrell Till taught a very tough English class; he was brilliant. He’d give you straight talk about your deficiencies, but not in a demeaning way, and he’d find a way to coach you. I could interrupt Martha Strode while she was eating lunch, and she would come, like many instructors would, help you on their personal time just because you were trying.”
As an athlete on both the track and cross-country teams, Bruce excelled. He was the 1982 Region 24 Cross Country Champion, having set course records five times and gone undefeated in the regular season. He won the 3-mile race at the Region 24 Indoor Track Finals in 1983. In addition to being named All-American for both efforts, he was an Honorable Mention All-America honoree for his 12th place national finish in the 1983 NJCAA Marathon.
“There was a lot of intra-squad rivalry between the runners our year and the runners here the previous year,” Bruce says. “They had gone to nationals, and didn’t do as well the following year. It was a way for me to see that I needed to try harder, because I saw how much Coach Black had invested in them. That was a motivation for us to do better.”
During his sophomore year at SRC, he suffered from severe lower back issues. A pinched sciatic nerve even took the feeling from one of his legs. “Coach Black sent me to one of his former runners, Dr. Randy Klinedinst, for chiropractic care,” Bruce says. “Randy was so welcoming, and his care was instrumental in keeping me competing.”
After graduating from SRC in 1983, he continued his academic and athletic career at Eastern Illinois University. Unfortunately, the lower back issues – paired with the team medical staff’s resistance to chiropractic care – kept Bruce from competing. Still, he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology.
He has since earned a master’s degree in Manufacturing Systems and a doctorate in Workforce Education and Development from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he now serves as a Full Professor of Engineering and as the Director of their Leadership Development Program, which began in 2007. In the latter role, he has helped to provide over $2 million in funding for community college transfer students to complete their bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields, while also decreasing time to complete their degrees and helping 97 percent of students achieve career placement prior to graduating.
He has continued his athletic career through road races and triathlons, including the infamous 1998 Springfield Ironhorse Triathlon, where over 10 percent of the race field was hospitalized with leptospirosis from the swimming portion. “The CDC called every person up, and if you didn’t call back, they sent the police to your house because there was a chance you might be dead,” Bruce says, laughing. “Forget finishing; surviving was an actual accomplishment.”
Bruce has also completed Iowa’s RAGBRAI eight times, and continues to run, swim, bike, and garden in his spare time. He is married to Elizabeth, and they have two children, Alex and Katie. He plans to continue training and mentoring as many students as possible to become future leaders who make the world a better place. In the classroom, he confesses he still uses some lessons that he learned and critiques he received from faculty that helped to make him a better student during his time at SRC.
“I remember what they did for me – especially Martha and Farrell,” Bruce says, “and I want to pay it forward.”
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Jon Grzanich is a lifelong resident of Canton, Illinois. While growing up, if he wasn’t participating in athletics, he was either hunting waterfowl or fishing the numerous ponds and strip lakes around Fulton County. He was a three-sport athlete at Canton High School, graduating in 1987.
After a successful baseball career at Murray State University (from which he graduated in 1992 with a degree in physical education), Jon came back home to Canton to teach and coach at Ingersoll Middle School from 1992-1995. After one year of coaching the freshmen boys’ basketball team at the high school in 1996, Jon began working with Spoon River College as the assistant men’s basketball coach.
While teaching and obtaining his first Master’s degree (1997, Sport and Fitness Administration/Management) from Western Illinois University, he spent two years in his assistant’s role before being named SRC’s head men’s basketball coach in 1998.
Jon stayed in that role until 2005, becoming SRC’s all-time winningest men’s basketball coach in the process. He coached 5 All-Americans and earned 2004-2005 Collegiate Conference of Central Illinois Coach of the Year honors. In both 2002 and 2005, he was the NJCAA Region 24 Coach of the Year.
During that time, Jon continued as a physical education teacher at Ingersoll Middle School in Canton, coaching the high school golf team. After his successful run as the head basketball coach at Spoon River, he became an assistant men’s basketball coach at Southeastern Community College (Iowa) from 2005-2009.
From 2009 until this past summer, Jon was the Athletic Director at Canton District #66. During that tenure, he served as the President of the Mid-Illini Conference in 2013-14, the District #66 Title IX Coordinator in 2015, and the Little Giant Hall of Fame Chairman. Most recently under Jon’s leadership, the Little Giants’ football team made a run to the IHSA 4A state semifinals in 2016, which was the best finish in school history.
Jon also coached the Little Giants’ sophomore boys’ basketball team for two seasons in addition to his duties as A.D, and earned his second Master’s degree from WIU in 2011 (Educational Leadership and Administration).
Earlier this year, Jon accepted a job with East Peoria High School as its men’s basketball coach and Dean of Students. For the past two years, Jon has also worked as a broker for Premier Farm Realty Group, based in Pevely, Missouri
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Coming from “a big city,” Robert Brower and his brother Bill attended Spoon River College from 1969 to 1971 and played basketball for the college. Bob then transferred to Trinity University in Texas and Western Illinois University.
Bob moved to France in 1974 and dedicated his life to basketball, earning many honors with the Cabourg, the Ninane, the Caen, the Orleans, the Tours, Villeneuves sur Lot, the Kaysersberg, the Dieppe, and the Poissy sur Seine Basketball Clubs. He joined PRO SERVE in Paris as a basketball agent in 1992.
From 1993-1995, Bob and his brother Bill operated a B & B, arranging NCAA basketball tours and handling player contracts to play overseas. In 1995, Bob and his family returned to Chicago.
About SRC, Bob only has good things to say. “We met so many friends, teachers and people to help us, guide us. Our lives, our failures, our triumphs, our loves, our conflicts, and even our secrets were shared with many in those good times. We learned not only to share a basketball, but to always work together to overcome the difficulties at hand for the betterment of the group.”
“You certainly don’t have to cross oceans to find life’s characters as depicted in Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. Mrs. Patterson forced us to trample through that mess of poetry. How I detested that when the foosball table was just a few doors away. But she was right and I was wrong. It really is a classic…So just a warm thank you…coaches, teachers, teammates, friends and people of Spoon River College…We were a good team. Thank you…”
Bob and his French wife, Sylvie, now reside in Highland, Indiana. They have two children, Gregor and Andrea, both of whom will be marrying in the near future.
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Garry “Goose” McCray
Garry “Goose” McCray now lives in Florida with his wife of 28 years, Jacqueline. They have four children—Camille, Jerome, Shani and Jazmin—and three grandchildren. Since moving to Florida, Garry has been very active in his church, New Hope Missionary Baptist, where he serves as a deacon and is a Sunday School teacher for the Men’s Small Group.
Garry attended Canton Community College from 1968 to 1970 and was inducted into the Theta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. While attending CCC, he also played on the basketball team and made 1st Team All-State for Basketball in 1969-1970.
Garry then graduated from California State Teachers College in 1972 with a BS in Elementary Education, graduated from State University of New York at New Paltz with a Master of Science degree in Elementary Education in 1974 and received a Master of Science Degree in Public School Administration in 1972 from SUNY-New Paltz.
During high school at Beacon High in New York, Garry received the Coca Cola Honorable All–American Basketball award in 1967. In 2004, he was inducted into the Beacon High School Hall of Fame. Garry would like to thank his first coach, Jim Herrin, for giving him the opportunity to play at Canton Community College. He enjoyed his fellow teammates: Fred Mims, Bob Brower, Rich Tran, Frank Ball and Skip Tripica and CCC friends Bernie Cowen and Elliot “Pete” Terry.
“Because of my experience at Canton Community College, I also had a successful academic career at California State Teachers College in California, Pennsylvania and post graduate work at SUNY—New Paltz. I really enjoyed Canton…many thanks to Coach Ed Georgieff for his efforts and friendship. He is my Hall of Fame Coach!”
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Fred Mims has been a staff member of the Iowa Athletics Department for the past 38 years, having served as assistant baseball coach, athletic counselor, assistant athletic director, and associate athletic director. His responsibilities have included NCAA, Big Ten Conference and institutional rules compliance, and student athlete support services. He also supervised the Iowa wrestling and baseball programs as well as the department’s mental health program. Fred was also asked to serve as Interim Director of the University’s Center of Diversity and Enrichment for the 2014-2015 academic year. After attending Spoon River College, where he earned an Associate of Arts degree, Fred received his BA in English from the University of Iowa, as well as his Master’s in Higher Education. As a student, Fred was a multi-sport athlete and was a two time All Big Ten first team selection in baseball, having led his team to the College World Series. He also played for his country in the 1972 Pan American Games and won a silver medal. Fred also played professional baseball for the Houston Astros organization in the 1970s until he experienced a career-ending injury. About SRC, Fred states, “SRC was an important beginning to my college education. I was able to develop my reading and writing skills and an appreciation for modern literature.” He further states that he will always remember the close relationships he developed with peers and the faculty and staff while he attended Spoon River College. Fred and his wife Susan have four children—Jeremy, Monica, Corey, and Kelsey—all outstanding students and athletes in their own right. Although he officially retired this year, Fred continues to remain active in his community and at the University of Iowa.
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William “BJ” McCullum
BJ McCullum played basketball and golf at Spoon River College and was also an assistant coach, a head coach, the athletic director and eventually the director of athletics and auxiliary services.
With a record of 118-98 in seven years, BJ’s basketball teams received rankings as high as 6th in 1989-90 and 3rd in 1990-91 tying for most wins (26) in a season and having the best winning percentage. BJ’s best record as an SRC coach was 25-7.
During his years at SRC, BJ recruited and coached six Division I athletes including Hall of Fame members Bobby Allen and Vance Clarke. He also coached Shannon Pritchard who has the 5th most points (64) ever scored in an NJCAA game.
Two former players, Bobby Allen and Jeff Holloway, played over eight years professionally overseas. BJ also brought diversity to SRC by recruiting athletes from Jamaica, Canada, Russia, Israel, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, and Antigua.
BJ says that when his assistant coach Jon Grzanich became head coach at SRC, Jon “unseated me as the winningest coach in history.”
BJ served as an assistant and head coach for over 20 years at three different colleges: Spoon River, Lincoln, and Black Hawk East. His record was 411-276 overall and 394-266 as a head coach. His teams played in three national tournaments and he recruited and/or coached two National Players of the Year and 12 Junior College All Americans. Twenty five of his players went on to play Division I Basketball and dozens of former players are educated, employed and productive members of society.
BJ thanks Ed Georgieff for the success that SRC athletics experienced and Martha Strode who helped teach him the consequences of work. He most of all thanks his parents for being role models and his wife and son who sacrificed so that BJ could “chase his dream.”
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Dr. Randy Klinedinst
Dr. Randy L. Klinedinst participated in Cross Country, Indoor/Outdoor Track and Field and Baseball at Spoon River College from 1974-1976 while taking classes in the pre-medical curriculum.
After graduating from Canton High School where he excelled his senior year in cross country as the school’s number one runner, along with MVP honors, Randy naturally wanted to continue running in college. At the time, SRC had no cross country program, but Coach Charlie Black convinced Randy to attend SRC on scholarship if one was instated.
At SRC, Randy participated in many track and field events including individual running events and several relays. He most notably ran in the 600 yard dash, 880 yard run, 800 meter run, and the 1000 yard run in which he set SRC records. At the Region IV Regional Championships held in the Armory of the University of Illinois, he qualified for the NJCAA Nationals each year in the 1000 yard run. Both years, he went on to run at Nationals held at the University of Missouri in Columbia.
While training to qualify for Nationals, he suffered an injury where he was unable to run. This caused him to seek chiropractic care. That experience made such a difference for him and his performance that he calls it “A Life Changer.” He attributes his running experience at SRC as a defining moment in his life.
Dr. Klinedinst has been a doctor of chiropractic for over 30 years in Canton, Illinois, practicing at Klinedinst Chiropractic. His son, Tyson, recently joined him in his practice where they hope to make the same difference in the lives of their patients.
Randy was awarded SRC’s first Distinguished Alumnus award in 1983.An interesting side note: Randy’s wife, Samantha, and his two sons, Tyson and Seth, all graduated with Associate Degrees from Spoon River College.
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The 1980 Men’s Cross Country Team
Five Invitational First Place finishes, two second place finishes, a first place finish in the Region IV Regional Championships and an 11th place finish in the NJCAA National Championship. Yes, 1980 was truly a banner year for the Spoon River College Men’s Cross Country Team.
Not only did individuals excel that year, Coach Charlie Black was named Coach of the Year and seven runners completed the National Championship race despite inclement weather that saw only 185 of the 225 runners finish.
Rich Smith was the first place finisher in the Waubonsee, College of Dupage, Oakton, and the SRC Invitationals as well as the Region IV Regionals. He finished 32nd in Nationals.
Besides Rich Smith, SRC Runners completing the invitationals in the top ten included Lenny Burns, Mark Ford and Vern Keller at Monmouth; Larry Taylor and John Juraco at Blackhawk East; Mark Ford, Vern Keller and Larry Taylor at Waubonsee; Vern Keller, Willie Adams and Mark Ford at College of DuPage; Willie Adams, Mark Ford and Vern Keller at Oakton and Parkland; and Vern Keller, Willie Adams, and Larry Taylor at SRC.
At the Region IV Regional Championships, SRC finished first with Rich Smith (1st), Vern Keller (2nd), Willie Adams (8th) and Mark Ford (9th).
Competing in the NJCCA Nationals, the team finished 11th with Rich Smith (32nd), Willie Adams (81st), Vern Keller (112th), Larry Taylor, (110th), Lenny Burns (114th), Mark Ford (129th) and John Juraco (142nd). It was truly a remarkable season for the 1980 Men’s Cross Country Team!
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Charlie Black was a Canton Community College/SRC math instructor from 1967 to 1994. While he was recognized for his excellent teaching, Charlie is best known as a very successful Cross Country & Track Coach for the college. His win/loss record stands at 66 wins and 14 losses.
While Charlie was coaching, SRC was the Region 4 Champion in 1980 and the Region 24 Champion in 1984. Coach Black produced many national track qualifiers including Greg Zaborac, Lance Zedric, Bill Thompson, Randy Klinedinst, and Dave Qualls. He also coached several national cross country qualifiers including John Isbell, Jeanette Magness, Kelly Eggers, Bruce DeRuntz, and Rich Smith.
Coach Black also had three All Americans: Ron McLean in the High Jump, Bruce DeRuntz in Cross Country, and Rich Smith in Cross Country.
Coach Black believed in “academics before athletics” as was evidenced by his 1980 Team which finished 2nd overall academically in GPA. Those team members included Mark Ford, Lonny Burns, Larry Taylor, Vern Keller, John Juraco, Rich Smith, and Ken Krock.
One of his best athletes, Rich Smith, is being inducted this evening as well and considers it a great honor to be included with “Coach Black.”
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Mike graduated from Pekin High School and then attended and earned his Associate of Arts Degree from Canton Community College (Spoon River College) and followed by a Bachelor’s Degree from Bradley University in Physical Education and later earned his Master’s Degree from Illinois State University in Physical Education. While in college, he played baseball for four years, earning All Missouri Valley Conference Baseball honors his senior year at Bradley as a third baseman and was on the last team to win the Missouri Valley Conference Championship in baseball (1968). After college, he taught business for one year at Bergan High School in Peoria and then left when he signed as a free agent catcher with the St. Louis Cardinal organization. After two years of Class “AA” baseball he was released and returned to a teaching career at Morton High School, a career that spanned 34 years.
At Morton High School, he taught Physical Education and Health Education. He also was an assistant football coach for 24 years, 14 years as varsity assistant, and 10 years as sophomore assistant. He also coached baseball for 26 years, 2 as an assistant and 24 as head baseball coach. During his tenure as baseball coach, he amassed a career record of 452 – 313 – 4, along with 7 conference championships, 8-20 plus win seasons, 4 regional championships, 2 sectional championships and two state appearances: 1984 State Champions and 1994 State Runner-up. He was selected as District 3 Coach of the Year twice and was named Illinois Coaches Association “Coach of the Year” in 1984. He was one of the founding fathers of the Peoria Area Junior-Senior and Underclass All Star games played in Peoria. In 1995, he received the highest honor in the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association when he was named IHSBCA “Man of the Year.” He was the Baseball Chairman for the Illinois Coaches Association for four years running the ICA East/West All Star Game held in Peoria. He coached four times in the ICA All Star Games and once in the Illinois vs. Michigan All Star Game at Comisky Park in Chicago in 1985.
“Coach” was an associate scout with the Cincinnati Reds and later for the St. Louis Cardinals. He worked numerous baseball camps including Bradley University, U of Illinois, and Illinois Central College and hosted a baseball camp for a group of adolescence from Belgium. He was a color commentator for the IHSA State Baseball Tournament on the Sports Channel. He was a clinic speaker and spoke at various clinics including the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association, U. of Missouri Baseball Clinic, and Illinois Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.
Mike resides in several hall of fames. They include: Bradley University Hall of Fame in 1976, the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1991, Spoon River Junior College inducted Mike into their Hall of Fame in 2012. He was also selected in the Sunday Morning League Hall of Honor. He is a current board member of the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame.
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Rich Smith’s individual cross country and track accomplishments from 1980 to 1982 are extraordinary.
In cross country, Rich was the SRC Open Champion in 1981, the Parkland Invitational Champion in 1981, a two time Waubonsee Chiefs Invitational Champion in 1980, 1981, a two time Dupage Invitational Champion in 1980, 1981, a two time Oakton Raider Invitation Champion from 1980, 1981, a two time Spoon River College Invitational Champion 1980, 1981, and a two time Region IV Station Champion in 1980, 1981. He was also a two time NJCCA Cross Country qualifier and a member of the 1980 Region IV State Champion Team — an 11th place team in the NJCAA.
As a member of the Track Team, Rich was the Region IV 10,000 meter outdoor state champion in 1980, the Region VI three mile indoor state champion in 1981, and a two time NJCAA Track qualifier.
Rich holds several records as well. In track, he set the SRC five mile course record of 26:19 in 1980, and the Illinois State record at Schiller Park in 1981 with a five mile time of 25:01.
His track records include the outdoor 5000 meter record at 15:15 in 1981, the outdoor 10,000 meter at 31:53 in 1981, and the Indoor three mile at 14:45 in 1982.
Rich states, “It is an honor to be considered among those individuals and teams that made SRC something special. It is extra special for me because I have the pleasure of being inducted with my coach, Charlie Black. I can promise you this, without Charlie’s leadership, wisdom, caring, and above all, patience, I would not be sharing the evening with him. Charlie treated all of us like family. While there is no “I” in team, there is an “I” in family and win. Under Charlie’s coaching I was lucky to be both a winner and a part of his running family.”
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Rudy has been a valuable member of the Spoon River College community for many years. During the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s, Rudy served the Spoon River College Athletic Department as SRC Head Women’s Volleyball Coach and Head Women’s Softball Coach. In addition, he was the official scorekeeper at basketball games and drove the teams to competitions.
Rudy was also a leader in community athletics serving as the Canton Youth Softball Commissioner. In addition, he coached both the Youth Softball traveling teams and Youth Baseball teams.
Rudy’s invaluable service and leadership to Spoon River College, the Athletic Department and to SRC student-athletes cannot be measured.
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Robert Allen was a stellar basketball player for Spoon River College. At the national level, Robert was named the 1990 – 1991 National Junior College Division II Player of the Year and was honored as a two-time All American 2nd Team member. In 1991, he was named as the Region 24 Most Valuable Player.
For Spoon River College, Robert was and is currently the all-time leading scorer in Spoon River College history with 1550 points. He also holds the record for the most points scored by a freshman. Robert led the Spoon River College Crusaders to a 1989 -1990 season record of 22 – 9 and their best ever record of 25-7 in the 1990 -1991 season. The two year record of 47 – 16 stands as the best record for a basketball team in the history of the college. In addition, Robert was the co-captain of the 1990 – 1991 team.
The community recognized Robert in a number of ways while a student-athlete at Spoon River College. He was the Canton Jaycees’ “Athlete of the Year”. He was named as a player in the East Central Rotary Club Classic, the Chubb’s Spoon River College Classic, and the Laker Classic All – Tournament Team.
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The 1978 SRC Women’s Softball Team
The 1978 Women’s Softball team is the first team to be inducted into the Spoon River College Athletic Hall of Fame. They currently hold the best Women’s Softball team record of 21 – 10. They were the 5th Place finisher in the 1978 NJCAA National Championship Finals. In 1978, they were the Region 24 State Champions.
Leading hitters for the team include: Debbie Bland, Katie Juraco, and Teresa Morgan. The leading pitcher for the team was Teresa Morgan, a Spoon River College Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee. This championship team was coached by Spoon River College Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee Sandy Weeks. On the heels of Title IX, Spoon River Colleges’ 1978 Women’s Softball Team produced an outstanding season, outstanding performances and especially, outstanding female student-athletes.
Joyce Grissom (Shelby)
Katie Juraco (Bartlett)
Angie Busby (Courtosis)
Kolby Harris (Hirth)
Shelly Howater (Swope)
Cindy Dickson (Deceased)
Head Coach Sandy Weeks
Asst. Coach Dick Sherman
Asst. Coach Tim Davis
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A native of Basseterre, St. Kitts, Philadelphia, Pennsyl-vania is now home to Vance. He is a Convential Mortgage Underwriter for PHH Mortgage in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. He has three children, daughter Juvandy and two sons, Kivaleon and Khiron.
A 1999 graduate of Spoon River College, Vance was on the President’s and Dean’s Lists. He was named to the Basketball All-Conference and All-Region First Teams, was a four-time All-American in track and field, and holds the rec-ord in the triple jump at 49’ 9”.
Vance transferred to Mississippi State after leaving SRC. There he was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, won the Newson Award for outstanding student athlete in men’s track and field, was named to the Southeastern Conference Honor Roll twice, was a four-time All SEC performer in the triple jump, and is number two on the all-time list for a triple jump of 53’ 31/2”. This jump is also a National Record for St. Kitts. He was a triple jump finalist in the Central American and Caribbean Games, a finalist in the Pan American Games, and a silver medalist in the Carifta Games.
“I’m very grateful to have been able to attend Spoon River College. This institution was my gateway and transition that put where I am today. I have met some of the most heartwarming individuals from faculty, to students and people within the City of Canton. It wasn’t easy making the transition from the sunny island of St. Kitts to the ice box I called Canton, IL, but you all made me feel at home and I was able to adjust quickly.
BJ, thanks for taking a chance on recruiting me. Everything I learned from you on and off the basketball court I try to incorporate into everyday life…except the yelling, of course. Coach Caudle, you were truly a credit to me in many ways. It was always comforting to know you were someone I can reach out to with any problems and know they would be solved. To Sharon and Dick Grove, thanks for opening your doors to me. You guys I dearly consider my parents (don’t worry my mom said it’s ok) and I can honestly say to this day I feel so blessed to have met you both. This award is by far the most unselfish thing you could have given me and it will undoubtedly be respected. However, this could not have been possible without Spoon River College and the City of Canton opening their arms to me and I hope, accepting me as one of their own. Stay blessed.”
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Ed and his wife Betty are Canton residents. They will be celebrating forty-eight years of marriage on October 14. They have two children, Edward and Dimana, and four granddaughters. Ed was employed at Spoon River College from 1966 to 1993.
He began as Assistant Basketball Coach, became track coach in 1968 (only loss that year was to Western Illinois University), and became Head Basketball Coach, leading the team to a 22-13 season. Ed was named Athletic Director in 1970. He was named Coach of the Year for the 1972-1973 seasons. The golf team he started and coached in 1972-1973, qualified for state. In 1974, he resigned as basketball coach and was given student life responsibilities in addition to remaining Athletic Director.
He is Past President of the Canton Kiwanis Club. Ed is no stranger to halls of fame. He has been inducted into the Granite City High School Athletic Hall of Fame and the men’s basketball team on which he played was inducted into the William Jewell College Athletic Hall of Fame. Since his retirement, Ed enjoys golfing, working around the house and yard, and he and Betty love to travel.
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Curley “Boo” Johnson
Curley and his wife Michelle call Scottsdale, Arizona home. He is a Peoria native and a 1982 graduate of Peoria Central High School. He attended SRC in 1982-1983 and was a member of the Men’s Basketball Team. In 1983, he led the state and tied for seventh in the nation in field goal percentage, shooting 65.7%. He once went three games without missing a field goal, going 21-21.
After leaving SRC, he went to Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, receiving a degree in marketing. In December of 1999, he became the first of their athletes to have his jersey retired. Curly played with the Harlem Globetrotters from 1988-2006. He was team captain from 1996-2005, won the Legacy Award in 1996, the Mr. Globetrotter Award in 1998, and the Ambassador Award in 1999.
He was inducted into the Peoria High School Athletic Hall of Fame, the Peoria Sports Hall of Fame, the Peoria African American Sports Hall of Fame, and had a street in Peoria named after him in 2006.
He has been involved with various organizations and causes including the Boys and Girls Club, Family Rescue, Big Brother-Big Sister, United Way, Special Olympics, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Since his retirement from the Globetrotters, Curley has his own basketball academy and camp where he trains some of the top names in the NBA. He has also been on the national speaking circuit.
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Teresa and her son Jeremy live in Canton. She graduated from SRC in 1978 with an Associate of Science Degree. Teresa was an inaugural inductee into the Canton High School Athletic Hall of Fame. She turned down other scholarship opportunities to attend SRC, playing volleyball, basketball, and softball for Coach Sandy Weeks.
In 1977, she helped the Women’s Basketball team set records for the best won-lost at 18-8; most points scored by an SRC women’s team (81-33 against Black Hawk East); and lowest number of points allowed by an opponent (57-17 against Black Hawk East). The 1978 volleyball team ranked number eight in the state and beat nationally ranked Highland, ending the season with a 20-16 record.
But softball was what Teresa loved the most and pitching was what she did best. The 1977 Women’s Softball Team was champion of the first-ever Region IV (all community colleges in Illinois) Tournament. The next year, the team finished tied for sixth in the Nationals held in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Teresa was voted MVP by her teammates. She received a softball scholarship to Bradley University, where she helped the newly established team end their first year with an 8-4 record and their second year with a 12-6 record. From there, she played semi-pro with the Pekin Lettes.
One of her greatest softball memories at SRC is beating Lorene Ramsey’s ICC team. She says, “I absolutely love it at SRC! The instructors were tough, challenging, and awesome. It was a wonderful hometown atmosphere where education was number one. All the athletes supported one another and had the greatest respect for one another as well. Coach Weeks gave her heart and soul to every player, and it was really hard to leave.”
Teresa is a graduate of the Graham Hospital School of Nursing. She feels her greatest accomplishment in life is the fact that she is a four-year breast cancer survivor. She says she wants everyone to know it can happen to them and that early detection is the key to successful treatment.
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Audrey “Sandy” Weeks
Sandy began working at SRC in 1969. She retired in 1995 and is now living in Panama City Beach, Florida. She enjoys playing golf, volunteering at the local food pantry, and is very active in church activities. Sandy pioneered women’s athletics at Spoon River College.
In 1971, she was appointed the head of the Physical Education Department and coached the first women’s basketball team. She initiated the softball program, and as coach, took the team to the Nationals in 1977 and 1978. The 1978 team compiled a record of 21-10. Sandy says, “My job at SRC was the best job anyone could have had. Dr. Taylor was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees in 1970 and asked if I would be in-terested in starting women’s basketball, softball, and volleyball teams.
Girls weren’t playing sports in high school yet, that didn’t start until 1973 with the passage of Title 9. SRC women’s basketball played against Knox College, Illinois State University, Illinois Central College, and the second, third, and fourth level team at Western Illinois University. We didn’t have uniforms, so we wore ‘pinnies’ with numbers.
We practiced and played in the Central Grade School gym on a cement floor. We played in a tournament in Rockford that first year and took second place. In 1977, the National Junior College Athletic Association recognized women’s basketball. We played in the state tournament in 1977 and 1977, and took first place both years.” She also coached the Women’s Softball Team to the first-ever Region IV Championship in 1977, and lead them to the Nationals in 1978 where they finished tied for sixth.