NeveHarms Players and coaches could come and go, but the two Dr. Harts could be counted on to stay. Both became fixtures at home and away games where they were an essential part in the success of the Peoria High School football program.
Lifelong Peorians, Dr. Robert and Dr. William Hart have been associated with Peoria High as students, parents of students and as team physicians. Unmatched for continuous service to the school, the two doctors served for a period spanning six decades. Dr. Bob became the team physician in 1946 and Dr. Bill joined him in 1949, both serving through the 1992 football season.
A 1931 Peoria High School graduate, Dr. Bob played football and was active in other school functions. After finishing at Bradley U., he attended the University of Illinois College of Medicine graduating in 1939. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he returned to Peoria in 1946 where he established a practice in Pediatrics. His daughter and four sons graduated from PHS where they were involved with a number of school teams. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Bill was active in various school activities, graduating from Peoria High in 1936. After completing his degree at Bradley U., he received his medical degree from the University of Illinois, finishing his internship and residency in general surgery in 1949. He practiced surgery in Peoria until his retirement in 1992. Several of Dr Bill's five daughters and two sons graduated from PHS. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgery.
Both would interrupt busy schedules to care for the athletes of Peoria High. They would keep their offices open after hours to administer the needs of injured players, whether it be game night or regular practice. Coaches could count on the two doctors to return to the school or go to the hospital following a ballgame to ensure that the athletes received proper care.
In 1982, Dr. Bob and Dr. Bill were honored by the Illinois High School Association as the FIRST recipients of the Team Physician Award for service rendered to high school teams of Illinois, an award they richly deserved.
AND - just for the record, they served under SEVEN coaches. Their names in order are: John Noppenberger, Leon Daily, Tony Juska, Wm. ìCorkyî Robertson, Dick Whitaker, Dick Jamieson, and Larry Lavery. EIGHTY NINE (89) YEARS OF TOTAL SERVICE - a tough act to follow!!
Players and coaches could come and go, but the two Dr. Harts could be counted on to stay. Both became fixtures at home and away games where they were an essential part in the success of the Peoria High School football program.
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).