Inductees "Dawdy" Hawkins, one of the most successful high school basketball coaches in the nation, directed his teams to state titles in two different states.
His Lincoln Northeast High School team won a Nebraska state prep crown in 1948, just before he left to take over at Peoria Central.
He quickly forged a powerhouse at Central, his 1952-53 team, led by brilliant center Hiles Stout, making it to the championship game of the Illinois state finals at the University of Illinois' old Huff Gym before bowing to LaGrange, 71-60.
Hawkins took three other Peoria Central teams to the state tournament (1954, 56, 59) and then, switching to Pekin, had five other state appearances (1964, 65, 66, 67, 73), including state championship teams in 1964 and 1967.
"Dawdy" Hawkins, one of the most successful high school basketball coaches in the nation, directed his teams to state titles in two different states.
1948 Pekin Basketballl Team
Back row, left to right: Don Ehrett, Bill Nelson, Dave Skillman, Coach Lewis, Don Hannan, Herbie Raab, Jim Ennis.
The 1947 and 1948 Pekin Basketball Teams had many similarities at the time. Both teams were led by head coach Jim Lewis and assistant coach John Moss. Both teams won more games combined (59) in a two year period than any other Pekin teams at that time. Six players; Don Ehrett, Herb Gerecke, Howie Harris, Bert Van Horn, Chuck Busby, and Jay Nelson played on both squads that placed 4th in state in 1947 and 3rd in state in 1948. Both teams were their respective season’s Greater Peoria Conference Champs and were ranked in the top ten in the regular season basketball poll; #10 in 1947 and #1 in 1948. In 1948, Herb Gerecke was named to the Chicago Daily News all-state team and 6-2 senior, Chuck Busby (top vote getter), Bob Watson, Jay Nelson, and Herb Gerecke were voted to the all-state tournament squad.