NeveHarms Dr. Pat Cusack was the Spalding Irish team physician from the early 1940's until 1966 when he was succeeded by Dr. Kenny (also a Neve Harms recipient). He was associated with the legendary Ennio Arboit (a previous Hall of Fame Inductee) during the years Irish teams were Peoriarea "monsters of the gridiron."
Known simply as "Doc", even to his nine boys and two girls, Dr. Cusack, the long-time, easy recognizable East Bluff resident, graduated from Elmwood High School. He worked his way through Bradley University where he was captain of the baseball team.
Following graduation from the Loyola Medical School in Chicago, Dr. Cusack began his medical career as a General Practitioner on Peoria's Southside, where $2.00 office calls and $3.00 house calls (remember them?) were the norm. He abhorred cigarette smoking, and would never set foot in a tavern.
He was attending physician for just about every type of sporting event in Peoria, and was a fixture at the old "top of Main Street" Arena (a grocery store parking lot). As part of a battery of doctors at the Golden Glove finals in Chicago, he examined Mohammed Ali (then Cassius Clay). "Doc" regularly examined most of Peoria's Golden Glove participants.
When Spalding revived baseball in 1945, Dr. Cusack anonymously donated money for the program, including replacement of the twenty-year old uniforms Coach Father Sylvester pulled out of mothballs tattered and worn with a huge "Gothic 5" across the chest.
He was a friend and great admirer of A. J. "Robbie" Robertson. His closest doctor friend was Dr. C.V. Ward, whose son Clarence is also being honored with the Neve Harms award. From "Doc's" son Pat,"Dad would be most proud to be in Clarence's company."
Dr. Pat Cusack was the Spalding Irish team physician from the early 1940's until 1966 when he was succeeded by Dr. Kenny (also a Neve Harms recipient). He was associated with the legendary Ennio Arboit (a previous Hall of Fame Inductee) during the years Irish teams were Peoriarea "monsters of the gridiron."
1953 Peoria Central Basketball Team
First Row (left to right): Jerry Lewis, Jim Shively, Chet Ziegler
The Lions ended a 29-4 season with a 72-60 state title loss to undefeated LaGrange. Still, a 2nd place state finish, along with city, Greater Peoria conference, and Big 12 titles, made this one of the area's best-ever high school teams. Coached by Dawdy Hawkins and assisted by Bruce Saurs, the team featured Hiles Stout, Alan Swanson, Jim Ashby and Hal Douglas with a supporting cast of Nick Panos, Jerry Green and Gary Trotter. It was the highest state finish for Central since 1908.