Inductees In a city that has spawned so many outstanding basketball coaches, long-time Richwoods High school coach Wayne Hammerton was one of the best.
Hammerton ended a 30-year coaching career in the spring of 1966, the final 26 seasons at Richwoods, where his teams were annually a major factor in this hotbed of basketball.
At the time of his retirement, Hammerton ranked 26th among Illinois prep coaches, with 578 wins (53-40 in his first four years of coaching at Atwood-Hammond) and 525-191 at Richwoods.
His record at Richwoods could hardly be bettered. His 1991-92 team went 30-3 and finished second in the Class AA state finals. And, he was fourth in 1975, with another 30-3 team.
A 27-2 team in 1980 made the Elite 8 and a 25-5 squad in 1985 got to the final round of 16. And nine other teams won regional crowns. There were also seven conference titles to celebrate.
Few coaches could post a more consistent record. Of his 26 Richwoods teams, only one lost more than it won, and none of the other teams won less than 15 games. A dozen won between 20 and 30 games.
There were two great eras in all that: from 1973 to 1976, with all-staters Mark Smith and Derek Holcomb available, Richwoods went 83-6; and from 1979 through 1986, the record was 160-33.
In his final four seasons, he coached the most prolific scorer in local history, Mike Robinson, who produced 2,944 points.
And Hammerton did more than coach basketball: for 31 years he was also golf coach and had a .799 winning dual meet mark (377-95) and was 45-3 in four years of cross-country dual meets.
In a city that has spawned so many outstanding basketball coaches, long-time Richwoods High school coach Wayne Hammerton was one of the best.
1985 Elmwood Cross Country Team
Front row, left to right: Chris Stillson, Brian Hamby, Brad Hamby, Brett Simpson
The 1985 Elmwood Cross Country team had no returning runners from the 1984 top five. The top five for ’85 included two juniors who were 6th and 7th runners in ’84, a senior who did not run in ’84 (injury), a junior in his first year of cross country, and a sophomore who had never run in a varsity race. The team managed to work themselves up to the #3 ranking in the final poll. Then they proceeded to pull off an amazing upset by beating #1 Pontiac and #2 Yorkville 69-93-126 for the state championship. We have called this the miracle team considering their run to the championship with so little experience and depth. The Elmwood runners were: Sr. Stan Johnson, 3rd in 15:12; Jr. Tony McCoy, 17th in 15:37; Jr. Tom Gorham, 23rd in 15:42; Jr. Brent Simpson, 31st in 15:51; So. Ralph Phillips, 40th in 15:59; Jr. Brad Hamby, 124th in 17:20, and Jr. Brian Hamby, 158th in 18:08.