Inductees The 1956-57 Bradley basketball team, the first coached by Chuck Orsborn, brought the University its first national championship in winning the National Invitational Tournament title.
Prior to the 1956-57 season, Bradley had made five NIT appearances, including the first two, but had yet to win one. Then the jackpot was hit by a 19-7 team in the regular season.
Bradley destroyed Xavier University of Cincinnati, 116-81, in the first round, and then surged past Temple 94-66 in the semifinals.
In the title game against Memphis State, coached by Bob Vanatta who had just left Bradley after two seasons, a three-point play by the late Shellie McMillon in the final seconds let BU survive, 84-83.
The members of that historic team were McMillon, Barney Cable, Chuck Sedgwick, Bobby Joe Mason, Curley Johnson, Don Groves, Don Carothers, John Myers, Dick Dhabalt, Gene Herberger, Dave Emerson, Wes Mason, Gene Fox, Roger Dunn, Lynn Jager, Gene Morse, Joe Billy McDade and Al Doscher. Cable and McMillon, in their junior seasons, led the team in scoring with 506 and 337 points respectively, while Morse, a sophomore from Havana, had 308.
Sedgwick who had played on an Illinois state championship team at LaGrange (that defeated Peoria Central for the 1953 title) scored 265 points; McDade, a sophomore from Texas who was to remain in Peoria, became a lawyer and then a judge, had 220, and Mason, playing the final 12 games after becoming eligible at the semester, scored 207.
The 1956-57 Bradley basketball team, the first coached by Chuck Orsborn, brought the University its first national championship in winning the National Invitational Tournament title.
Jim Lewis served as Athletic Director, head football, golf, basketball, and baseball coach at Pekin Community High School during his career from 1933-1955. Jim received his BA from the University of Illinois and a masters from the University of Iowa. During his days at the University of Illinois he played football and basketball. Jim also served in the military. Jim Lewis started his coaching career at Pekin in 1933 with the baseball team. He compiled a record of 118-71-1 in eleven seasons under his direction. Lewis led Pekin to six regional titles in his seven seasons as basketball coach, including state trophies in 1947 (4th place) and 1948 (3rd place). Jim coached football for eleven seasons with a 71-30-1 record. The 1951 unbeaten Pekin football team was the first team in the history of the school to win ten games. The 1951 team was considered the mythical Number 1 team in the state. Pekin won both the Greater Peoria Illini Conference and the Big 12 Conference titles that year. Jim's golf teams excelled, winning a 3rd place (1948) and a 2nd place (1949) in the state tournament during his seven years as coach. Jim Lewis was one of the driving forces behind building Pekin Memorial Stadium. Jim was a member in three Halls of Fame, the Pekin High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Illinois High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame, and the IBCA Hall of Fame. Even by today's standards, Coach Lewis' coaching achievements are legendary.