NeveHarms Bruce Saurs, the successful local businessman and avid sports fan who saved professional hockey for our city, has been named winner of the 1990 Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award.
Saurs' purchase of the debt-ridden Peoria Rivermen on July 1, 1989 began a success story beyond imagination that has brought the team to prominence on the Peoria sports scene. To immediately stabilize the team, Saurs signed a three-year lease with the Peoria Civic Center and a six- year affiliation with the NHL St. Louis Blues. Under his leadership, the team showed a profit in its first fiscal year of operation.
A life-long Peorian, Bruce graduated from Peoria High School where he lettered in baseball for three seasons, making two state tournament appearances. He returned to teach and coach at Peoria High after graduation from Bradley University. He was the head baseball mentor for six years, and also served as assistant in both basketball and football. From1950 to 1955 his baseball teams compiled an impressive record of 121-62, making two trips to the Illinois State High School Tournament.
In 1951, working with the late Ed Stonebock and Harold Llntz, Bruce was instrumental in helping to establish the first Little League Baseball Program in Peoria. He later followed in the footsteps of his father, the late Eddie Saurs, a 1968 Neve Harms winner, taking over as Manager of the
Cohen team in the Sunday Morning League for several seasons. He started playing A.M. ball at age 14 ending his career at age 21, when, as Bruce often states, "I built such a great team - I couldn't make it myself."
For the Peoria Rivermen, Bruce Saurs developed a marketing plan geared to good hockey, entertainment, and a family audience. The club drew a franchise record 190,000, and drew praise from League Commissioner Tom Berry.
So far, the 1990-1991 season has been an even bigger success story, highlighted by the 18-game winning streak that gave the Rivermen the longest winning streak in Professional Hockey history, while bringing to Peoria national media attention.
Bruce Saurs, the successful local businessman and avid sports fan who saved professional hockey for our city, has been named winner of the 1990 Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award.
|Ron Dwyer, Sr.|
Ron was an All-Conference, athlete in football, basketball, and baseball at Spalding Institute and achieved All-State honors in basketball. He accepted a full scholarship to Western Illinois University for basketball. After his freshman year he transferred to Bradley University on a baseball scholarship. At BU he played baseball for three years and football for two years. In 1964, he was selected for the All-Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Team. Ron was invited to play on the first Peoria Pacers Baseball Team in the Central Illinois Collegiate League, batting 4th in the lineup and playing 3rd base alongside Don Kessinger, the eventual star shortstop for the Chicago Cubs. After college he shared his sports acumen as an assistant coach for Spalding’s basketball teams that were the state runners-up in 1969 and 1970 Class AA Tournament. He was the pitching coach for the 1974 East Peoria team that placed 2nd in the Class AA Baseball Tournament. Ron was a player/manager in Peoria’s Sunday Morning League for 15 years; for 20 years he served as supervisor of the softball program for the Peoria Park District; for 6 years was active in Little League; and for 2 years helped lead a youth basketball program. He was an umpire/official in baseball, basketball, and football at various levels of competition over 21 seasons.