NeveHarms Players and coaches could come and go, but the two Dr. Harts could be counted on to stay. Both became fixtures at home and away games where they were an essential part in the success of the Peoria High School football program.
Lifelong Peorians, Dr. Robert and Dr. William Hart have been associated with Peoria High as students, parents of students and as team physicians. Unmatched for continuous service to the school, the two doctors served for a period spanning six decades. Dr. Bob became the team physician in 1946 and Dr. Bill joined him in 1949, both serving through the 1992 football season.
A 1931 Peoria High School graduate, Dr. Bob played football and was active in other school functions. After finishing at Bradley U., he attended the University of Illinois College of Medicine graduating in 1939. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he returned to Peoria in 1946 where he established a practice in Pediatrics. His daughter and four sons graduated from PHS where they were involved with a number of school teams. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Bill was active in various school activities, graduating from Peoria High in 1936. After completing his degree at Bradley U., he received his medical degree from the University of Illinois, finishing his internship and residency in general surgery in 1949. He practiced surgery in Peoria until his retirement in 1992. Several of Dr Bill's five daughters and two sons graduated from PHS. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgery.
Both would interrupt busy schedules to care for the athletes of Peoria High. They would keep their offices open after hours to administer the needs of injured players, whether it be game night or regular practice. Coaches could count on the two doctors to return to the school or go to the hospital following a ballgame to ensure that the athletes received proper care.
In 1982, Dr. Bob and Dr. Bill were honored by the Illinois High School Association as the FIRST recipients of the Team Physician Award for service rendered to high school teams of Illinois, an award they richly deserved.
AND - just for the record, they served under SEVEN coaches. Their names in order are: John Noppenberger, Leon Daily, Tony Juska, Wm. ìCorkyî Robertson, Dick Whitaker, Dick Jamieson, and Larry Lavery. EIGHTY NINE (89) YEARS OF TOTAL SERVICE - a tough act to follow!!
Players and coaches could come and go, but the two Dr. Harts could be counted on to stay. Both became fixtures at home and away games where they were an essential part in the success of the Peoria High School football program.
A 1972 graduate of Peoria Manual High School and 1977 Bradley University graduate, McClain enjoyed a nationally-recognized basketball coaching career at both the prep and collegiate levels. Following 18 seasons as an assistant for Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Famer Dick Van Scyoc, culminating with the 1994 IHSA AA state championship, McClain succeeded Van Scyoc for the next seven seasons and led the Rams to the final three state titles in 1995, 1996 and 1997 during their unprecedented state championship four-peat. The 1997 USA Today National High School Boys Basketball Coach of the Year, McClain’s Rams were USA Today’s No. 1 ranked boys basketball team in the nation in 1996-97. The three-time (1995-96-97) Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year, McClain led Manual to five straight Mid-State Conference championships from 1995 through 1999 and his teams advanced to the at least the Sweet 16 in the IHSA AA state tournament in each of his first five years. McClain joined the University of Illinois coaching staff in 2001 and helped the Illini to nine NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run to the 2005 national championship game in St. Louis. Following one year as the director of student-athlete development for men’s basketball at Kansas State, McClain returned to high school basketball as the head coach at Champaign Central in 2013. He guided the Maroons to a 13-win improvement in his lone season on the bench before his untimely death in 2014.