NeveHarms Jim Watson has devoted more than forty years to the youth and public of our community. He is recognized throughout central Illinois as an excellent official, coach, administrator and league organizer.
An enthusiastic volunteer in Peoria, he's been a superb role model for our youth. Instrumental in a variety of sports essential to Peoria, Jim spent twenty-seven years in service as a coach, official and director of the Junior Football League. Primarily associated with basketball, he's served as a longtime scorer for Peoria Manual, helped to establish the Moonlight Basketball League, worked as chief statistician for both Bradley basketball and WMBD radio, and supervised activities for the Boys and Girls Club as well as Taft and Warner Homes.
Numerous other contributions have been made to such activities as YMCA 1-ball, soccer and touch football, Carver Center, IBCA All-Star basketball, and every job imaginable for the success of the Gus Macker Tournament.
Due to his tireless dedication and outstanding example to our community, we are honored to bestow the Neve Harms Award on Jim Watson.
Jim Watson has devoted more than forty years to the youth and public of our community. He is recognized throughout central Illinois as an excellent official, coach, administrator and league organizer.
|H. V. Porter|
Henry Van Arsdale (H.V.) Porter
A native of Manito, Ill., Henry Van Arsdale Porter is credited with coining the phrase "March Madness," but his influence on high school athletics in the state of Illinois and nationally is much more tangible. After graduating from Illinois State University in 1913, Porter began his career as a high school coach, athletic director and principal. He led the Athens High School boys basketball team to a 29-1 record and a runner-up finish in the 1924 state tournament, as well as a 36-3 record and fourth-place state tournament finish in 1926. Well known for his administrative skills, however, Porter served as an IHSA Assistant Executive Director from 1929-40, before moving on to the National Federation of High School Athletic Associations (NFHS) staff in 1940 as the organization's first executive secretary and editor of publications. Throughout his career, Porter's contributions in a wide range of areas led directly to the evolution of basketball. During his service to the IHSA, Porter organized the department to train and license high school officials in football, basketball and baseball and he oversaw the introduction for state tournaments in the sports of tennis, golf, swimming and wrestling. He also published the first high school basketball rules book in 1936, standardizing the game across the country. Among his contributions to the game, Porter designed the popular, fan-shaped backboard in 1933 and in 1935 he pushed for the replacement of the 32-inch sewn leather basketball with a 29.5-inch, molded leather basketball. The new ball was much easier for youth players to handle and made dribbling a more prominent skill in all levels of the game. Porter also pioneered the use of motion pictures to study proper playing techniques. Porter was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960 and the Athens High School gymnasium is named in his honor.