NeveHarms Mike started his volunteering back in 1977 when he coached the Little League program in Peoria Heights. Don Matthews was the director. Mike later became the director of this program. The youths involved were 7 to 12 years old.
He also coached in the Little League program at the ALF's program at the Herke Field at Central High School.
He volunteered for many years at Woodrow Wilson and Hines grade school programs.
He eventually took over the program at Woodrow Wilson and was the director.
While at Peoria Central Little League he turned that program around, including a summer's end cookout for the parents and the young players, where everyone got involved with games and activities.
The many area coaches all said if you ever asked Mike Persich to help in any basketball or baseball programs where the youth of central Illinois were involved, Mike never hesitated to pitch in and help.
Mike received a certificate from Mayor Bud Grieves a few years ago which was a commendation for all the volunteering he does for our young people.
He has worked full time for the last 23 years at United Parcel Service.
Mike has worked with the basketball program at Woodruff on recent years and now is Assistant Varsity Coach there.
Mike credits his parents and four older brothers who helped him in growing up and being the citizen he is. Mike is married to his wife, Misty, and has a young son, Noah. Misty is expecting another child in September.
Mike started his volunteering back in 1977 when he coached the Little League program in Peoria Heights. Don Matthews was the director. Mike later became the director of this program. The youths involved were 7 to 12 years old.
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.