Roy Gummerson, track star, coach and consummate volunteer, was recently honored by hundreds of men and women whom he touched over the years when they raised $11,500 to send him to the Olympic Games in Korea. Such was their devotion to the man!
Born in Peoria, Roy attended Kingman grade and high school before enrolling at Bradley at the urging of Mr. C.B. Baymiller. There he captained the Cross Country and track teams while running the 2 mile. He held records in that event for several years and was honored for his achievement by being inducted into the Bradley Hall of Fame.
Always quick to credit others, he names L.A. McDonald, Tom Correll, Harry Landis, A.J. Robertson and Cecil Hewitt as his idols and says "All in all, I have many cherished friends and moments that make for a continuous light of goodness and happiness lighting my way."
Woodruff High opened in 1937 with Roy as their track and cross country coach. And for the next 17 years he was trainer and motivator of hundreds of Peoria athletes. His stars are too many to mention here, but among them were area mid-state champions and record holders who gained national recognition in their sport and went on to become successful productive adults.
One of Roy's proudest moments came when his friends and former athletes honored him with a "This is your Life" program, when he left Woodruff to finish out his coaching career at Oak Park River Forest High School. A hospital and retirement home volunteer in Oak Park, Roy has never slowed down. He has been chairman of the IHSA state track and field for 24 years and will work his 50th and last state meet in 1990.
His honors include Northern Illinois Track Association Hall of Fame, Honorary Referee Award for the IHSA, 25 years award - IHSA, Carl Winter Volunteer of the Year Award and National Federation of High Schools award for Recognition for services and contributions to Track and Field.
Roy indeed has established himself as a Role Model for the coaching profession.