Inductees In a city that has spawned so many outstanding basketball coaches, long-time Richwoods High school coach Wayne Hammerton was one of the best.
Hammerton ended a 30-year coaching career in the spring of 1966, the final 26 seasons at Richwoods, where his teams were annually a major factor in this hotbed of basketball.
At the time of his retirement, Hammerton ranked 26th among Illinois prep coaches, with 578 wins (53-40 in his first four years of coaching at Atwood-Hammond) and 525-191 at Richwoods.
His record at Richwoods could hardly be bettered. His 1991-92 team went 30-3 and finished second in the Class AA state finals. And, he was fourth in 1975, with another 30-3 team.
A 27-2 team in 1980 made the Elite 8 and a 25-5 squad in 1985 got to the final round of 16. And nine other teams won regional crowns. There were also seven conference titles to celebrate.
Few coaches could post a more consistent record. Of his 26 Richwoods teams, only one lost more than it won, and none of the other teams won less than 15 games. A dozen won between 20 and 30 games.
There were two great eras in all that: from 1973 to 1976, with all-staters Mark Smith and Derek Holcomb available, Richwoods went 83-6; and from 1979 through 1986, the record was 160-33.
In his final four seasons, he coached the most prolific scorer in local history, Mike Robinson, who produced 2,944 points.
And Hammerton did more than coach basketball: for 31 years he was also golf coach and had a .799 winning dual meet mark (377-95) and was 45-3 in four years of cross-country dual meets.
In a city that has spawned so many outstanding basketball coaches, long-time Richwoods High school coach Wayne Hammerton was one of the best.
Paul Reatherford was the main ramrod in establishing Peoria's first Biddy Basketball program in 1951 at the old Salvation Army gym with 275 boys. He started as Coach and Director in that league in 1947 where he stayed for 23 years. That first year in the official Biddy program his team won the state title but lost its first game in the national tournament in Scranton, Pa., home of the Biddy program. In subsequent years, his teams would have first and third place finishes, plus one season where our town hosted the national tournament.