BLOOMINGTON - Eighteen players or coaches with ties to The Pantagraph-area are on the Illinois High School Association's final list of 281 nominees for the "100 Legends" to be honored at the 2007 boys basketball tournament in Peoria.
The 2007 tournament marks the centennial celebration of basketball in Illinois. Over the next 14 weeks, individuals can vote for their choices as lasting legends of the state tournament. Voting begins today on the IHSA's Web site (www.ihsa.org) and ends March 19, 2006.
"We're thrilled to be able to celebrate our boys basketball centennial by directly involving the fans, who have supported our tournament in great numbers throughout the years," said IHSA executive director Marty Hickman.
"The Legends election and Ball of Fame are fun ways to get folks interested in our rich history and set the table for a terrific celebration in 2007."
The 100 Legends are going to sign a ball, which will be auctioned to finance IHSA scholarship funds.
The team of Legends, which will be announced in March or April, 2006, will be selected from individuals who participated in state final tournament games and super-sectional games only.
"Some of the nominations will no doubt surprise people," said Scott Johnson, an assistant executive director at the IHSA. "Our criteria were strict in that nominations were based on performance in state final tournament games and super-sectional games only.
"A lot of great players and coaches never made it to state, or only participated in a game or two. Our overriding goal was to present a list of nominees, who in the final analysis might be considered persons who made a significant contribution to or a lasting impression on the state final tournament."
Players on the list with area high school ties include Bill Braksick of Flanagan (1982-83), Jeff Clements of Mount Pulaski (1976-77-78), Seth Hubbard of University High (1997-98-99), Harold Hufford of Bloomington (1909-10), Layard Mace of Bloomington (1916-17), Jeremy Stanton of University High (1995-97) and Gary Tidwell of Prairie Central (1988 at Pana, 1989-90 at Prairie Central).
Players, who were on rosters at Illinois State or Illinois Wesleyan on the list, are Mark Aubry (Seneca, IWU), Rich Beyers, Shelbyville, ISU), Shawn Jeppson (Spring Valley Hall, ISU), Robert McCoy (Chicago Heights Bloom, ISU), Roger Powell (Joliet Central, ISU) and Jack Sikma (St. Anne, IWU).
Coaches on the list with area high school ties include Ed Butkovich (Mount Pulaski), Cal Hubbard (University High) and former BHS mentor John Thiel (Galesburg).
Coaches who toiled at ISU or IWU on the list are Ron Ferguson (Thornridge coach, ISU assistant) and Kevin Stallings (Collinsville player, ISU head coach).
The Legends ballot is broken down into seven regions of the state and three tournament eras (Pioneer 1908-40; Golden Age 1941-71; Modern Times 1972-2005). There are 20 groups to vote on if a person so chooses and individuals can vote as many times as they'd like.
For each Pioneer era group, fans will elect two Legends from 10 nominees. For each Golden Age group, fans will elect four Legends from a slate of 15 nominees. For each Modern Times group, fans will elect six Legends from a slate of 20 nominees.
When the ballots are counted, 82 Legends will be elected. The remaining 18 Legends will be selected by a committee that will consider player and coach nominees, who missed election by the fans, as well as officials, members of the media and friends of the game.
The Pantagraph/LORI ANN COOK
Above: Illinois High School Association Executive Director Marty Hickman, right, and Assistant Executive Director Scott Johnson talk about some of the memorabilia at the IHSA office in Bloomington on Wednesday. The IHSA announced its list of 281 nominees for the "100 Legends," to be honored at the 2007 boys state basketball tournament at Peoria. Below: A closer look at some of the memorabilia.