Inductees Larry Lavery, in charge of Peoria Central's football program for 27 seasons, won more games (he finished with a 176-109-2 record) than any coach in the history of the school before retiring following the 1998 season.
Lavery took 11 Central teams to the state grid playoffs and finished second in Class 4A in 1988. He won two conference titles and had one undefeated season.
Respected throughout the state, he served as president of the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association and was director of the Greater Peoria Area Football Coaches Association Clinic for ten years.
He is a member of the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame and received the Ray Eliot Service Award from the HSFCA.
He was a standout lineman at the University of Illinois and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles and Boston Patriots, signing with Boston of the American Football League in 1961.
He wound up the 1961 season as football coach at Galena High School and in 1962 posted a 9-1 mark at Freeport Acquin.
Lavery was assistant coach at Pekin High School for two seasons starting in 1963 and joined the Central staff as line coach in 1965.
Succeeding Dick Jamieson, he became Central's 24th head football coach in 1972. He also served six seasons as head wrestling coach (1965-1971).
Larry Lavery, in charge of Peoria Central's football program for 27 seasons, won more games (he finished with a 176-109-2 record) than any coach in the history of the school before retiring following the 1998 season.
This East Peoria native and Spalding ('82) graduate took the Irish to the 1982 state finals before obtaining an industrial engineering degree from Northwestern where he was an All-Big Ten catcher in 1985 and 1986. Drafted in the 5th round MLB draft by the Chicago Cubs, Joe turned a successful major league playing career into a managerial career, first as bench coach of the New York Yankees, and recently as manager of the Florida MarIin.