Inductees Peoria Manual High School suddenly needed a new football coach in 1949 when Tony Juska, who had gone 8-1-1 to bring the school out of the football doldrums, was hired by Bradley. Heads turned toward the northwest. Coming in from Montana to succeed Juska was a burly young man named Bob Jauron. A former fullback for legendary coach Frank Leahy at Boston College, Jauron was about as devoted to the game as Leahy himself. What happened was perhaps beyond anyone's fondest dreams.
The result was unbeaten seasons in 1949 and 1950 and 22 victories in succession before the streak ended in the midst of a 7-3 season in 1951. A 14-0 loss at Mishawaka, Indiana, ended the streak in the third game of the season. Jauron also left then to fill a variety of football coaching jobs before retiring in Swampscott, Mass.
Jauron's first two Manual teams simply overwhelmed almost every opponent. It outscored the opposition 637-79 in the 20 games with its closest tests 6-0 and 7-0 victories over Kewanee, 6-2 over Spalding, and 7-0 over Pekin. Other teams were totally blitzed: Central 45-0, Spalding 37-0, Decatur 58-6, Lincoln 43-7 among others.
Jauron's teams had fine size, a stout defense, an exceptional fullback in Bob Peake and a bunch of small but quick and deadly running backs. One of the latter was Vern Woosley who played at 5 foot 9 and 135 pounds, making the Greater Peoria first team, later playing at 145 at Bradley.
As a Coach, Bob Jauron was a stern and demanding person. Very innovative, he was far ahead of his time in coaching knowledge, even running from the "I" formation that was unheard of at that time. He even changed Dick Echard, now deceased, a fine pass catcher, to quarterback.
Under Jauron, Manual had four players on the All-Greater Peoria first team in 1949. The following season, after his streak hit 20-0, eight of the 12 players to make the Greater Peoria team were from Manual: end Gene WaIler, tackles Joe Schaab and Elmo Petty, guard Lou Roberts, center Dick Lolrman and running backs Peake, Woosley and Lou Alcaraz.
Ken Hinrichs, later one of the most successful local coaches during a long career at Manual, and the late Eddie Stonebock, Manual's brilliant baseball coach, were Jauron's assistants during the two seasons. Both were admitted to the GP Hall during earlier induction banquets.
Peoria Manual High School suddenly needed a new football coach in 1949 when Tony Juska, who had gone 8-1-1 to bring the school out of the football doldrums, was hired by Bradley. Heads turned toward the northwest. Coming in from Montana to succeed Juska was a burly young man named Bob Jauron. A former fullback for legendary coach Frank Leahy at Boston College, Jauron was about as devoted to the game as Leahy himself. What happened was perhaps beyond anyone's fondest dreams.
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.