NeveHarms In January of 1994, Steve Kouri led a small group of civic minded citizens in seeking to persuade the IHSA to move its Boys State Basketball Finals to Peoria after it had been held in Champaign for 77 years. Few thought the goal possible, but Steve kept the focus sharp in months of quiet discussion with IHSA officials.
On May 5, 1995, the lHSA shocked folks across the state when Peoria won out over competing bids by Champaign and Bloomington.
In the years that followed, competition became fierce, but through the work of Kouri and his group of dedicated people, Peoria succeeded in putting on a tournament the likes of which became the model for states across this nation. The promise of a "March Madness Experience" was not only kept, but was improved upon year after year. No high school association has ever hosted such an event.
Kouri co-chaired the host committee for the next ten years and his group now coordinates more than 2,000 volunteers and annually raises more than $200,000 in corporate support.
Even after stepping aside and handing the reins to Cat VP Don Weston, Judge Kouri actively participates as a volunteer during the tourney, doing whatever is necessary to insure success. 2009 marks the 14th IHSA Boys Basketball Finals to be held at Peoria's Civic Center.
In addition, Steve has served on the Peoria City Council and his other activities include Bradley Chiefs Club, Easter Seals, Holy Family Parish Council, Visiting Nurses Association, Peoria Notre Dame and 0SF Community Advisory Board.
In January of 1994, Steve Kouri led a small group of civic minded citizens in seeking to persuade the IHSA to move its Boys State Basketball Finals to Peoria after it had been held in Champaign for 77 years. Few thought the goal possible, but Steve kept the focus sharp in months of quiet discussion with IHSA officials.
|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.