Tri-County Youth Sports Grant
Tri-County Youth Sports Grant Winners
Don Millard

 

Just the second wrestler to be inducted into the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame, Don’s outstanding wrestling career began at Pekin High School under the guidance of head coach, Jim Custer (GPSHOF class of 1995) and assistant coach, Jack Stoudt (GPSHOF class of 2008).   Don led Custer’s last team to the Illinois state finals where Pekin placed second.  Millard won silver medals at the state finals as both a junior and a senior, losing matches both years to 3-time state champion, Rick Bay, in very competitive bouts.  Following high school, he accepted a scholarship to Southern Illinois University (Carbondale). While at Southern Illinois, the Salukis transitioned from the College to the University Division status.  Don developed rapidly with a number of accomplishments.  He finished the 1961-62 season with an 18-4 record.  He won the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) Championship three times.  Don placed 2nd in the prestigious Midlands Championships, and placed 4th in the NCAA Division I Tournament in 1962 at Oklahoma St.  In 1964 he achieved a rare feat by winning the NCAA College Division Championship at Northern Iowa, allowing him to advance to the University Division Championships at Cornell where he achieved the same result, a national title at 167 lbs.   During his three years of varsity competition at SIU (frosh were not eligible), he posted a 50-6-1 record.   He was once a College Division All-American and twice a University All-American.  After completing his career at SIU, he tried out for the 1964 Olympics, and finished 5th in those trials. Don was inducted into the SIU Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.  He has also been inducted into both the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and into the Illinois Wrestling and Coaches Hall of Fame (Class of 1985).