Inductees Few coaches had more impact on so many local athletes as Tommy Correll - and almost no one coached as long.
Correll, an outstanding Bradley athlete, especially as an outfielder and hitter, gave his entire coaching and teaching life to Woodruff and the two schools that preceded it, Averyville and Kingman.
From 1925 through 1960 he coached north side athletes, many of the years handling the football, basketball and baseball teams.
He began at Averyville, then a Peoria suburb, in 1924 and switched to Kingman when Averyville became part of the city and the school was renamed. Kingman existed until the 1937-38 school year when the present Woodruff High School was constructed.
In 20 seasons at the three schools his football teams went 73-76-11, his best season at Woodruff produced by the 1939 team that won eight of 11 games and tied another.
As Woodruff's basketball coach he took two teams to the state finals, his 1938-39 team whipping Gillespie before bowing to Paris and his 1950-51 team opening with a win over St. Paul of Odell before being ousted by Stephen Decatur.
His 1950 Woodruff baseball team finished second in the state tournament played here.
Virgil Boucher, also entering the hall this time, succeeded Correll as Woodruff's football coach for the 1946 season and Don Mathews, a Spalding standout who later played for Bradley, took over the Woodruff basketball reins for the 1959-60 season.
Correll played semi-pro baseball in the Sunday Morning League for many seasons after graduating from Bradley and later was a baseball and softball umpire for several decades.
He passed away in December of 1980.
Few coaches had more impact on so many local athletes as Tommy Correll - and almost no one coached as long.
To be inducted into the GPSHOF while continuing your career in coaching, requires some serious “credentials.” John Gross’s career in coaching high school girls basketball certainly meets that criteria. At the time of his election into the Hall, he had coached nearly 1,000 games, and his teams had won more than 75% of those contests. Close to 70% of those victories came during John’s 26 seasons at Limestone Community High School (Bartonville). From 1976-2001 the Lady Rockets compiled a record of 544-168. John’s 1991-92 team (32-1) lost only to Chicago Marshall in the championship game of the IHSA Class AA (large schools) State tournament at ISU’s Redbird Arena. After a semifinal win over LaGrange (Lyons) earlier in the day, the fatigued Rockets, trailing most of the game, “dug deep” in the 4th quarter to tie the game with under 10 seconds to play, only to lose on a last second basket by Marshall. Beginning with 2004-2005 campaign, John coached for 5 seasons at Richwoods (Peoria) where his teams compiled a 147-26 record. The Lady Knights won State Championships in 2005 (Class AA vs. Bartlett) with a perfect 38-0 record, and in 2009 (Class 3A vs. Freeport) with a record of 34-3. (A four-class system was introduced by the IHSA for the 2007-08 season.) John came out of “retirement” in 2015. In his second season at Princeville, the Lady Princes won their first Regional Championship since 1988. At the time of his election into the GPSHOF, he was guiding Princeville through another winning season. Not surprisingly John has received several honors both at the State and National levels. Gross was twice named national coach of the year and has been inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.