Inductees Charles "Chuck" Rolinski, now retired from coaching after 34 seasons at Toluca High School, is called by many the "father" of the two-class Illinois state basketball tournament, and the driving force beyond its creation.
Rolinski was an early crusader for dividing the state basketball field into large and small school classes. His efforts paid off with the 1972 Class A and AA state finals. Shortly after winning the 1972 Class A state championship, Lawrenceville Coach Ron Felling thanked Toluca's Chuck Rolinski for making it all possible.
Chuck retired last March after 34 years as head basketball coach at Toluca, with a 649-262 record to tie the late Gay Kintner of Decatur for seventh on the all-time list. His first Wildcats team, in 1956-67, had a 17-6 record.
Rolinski won 59 major championships, including 16 Tri-County conference titles, 14 regional titles, and three Sweet 16 appearances. He piloted three regular season undefeated teams at Toluca - 1959, 1964, and 1984. He also served as baseball coach for the small Marshall County school, with a 72-1 record over one eight-year string of Tri-County Conference titles.
A former Toluca player and Class of 1950 valedictorian, the former infantry sergeant returned from Korea and coached two grade school programs in Toluca while taking 68 academic hours in one year at Illinois State University.
Rolinski and his wife, Anita, still live in Toluca, where he runs the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association as its secretary-treasurer. He still avidly supports the Toluca Basketball program.
Charles "Chuck" Rolinski, now retired from coaching after 34 seasons at Toluca High School, is called by many the "father" of the two-class Illinois state basketball tournament, and the driving force beyond its creation.
1973-74 Richwoods Boys Basketball Team
Front Row, left to right: G. Schwab, Manager, K. Westervelt, G. St. Julian, K. Krick, S. Mach, G. Moreland, D. Loyd.
The 73-74 Knights had the right combination of muscle, speed, skill, and determination. With a starting lineup of seniors Ray Bailey, Dave Krick, Dave Loyd, junior Chris Williams, and sophomore Dereck Holcolm, this team was programmed to win. The amazing point potential of Williams, along with the strength of the other players, shot the Knights almost immediately to an all-time high state ranking, and a well deserved MS-9 championship. With all starters carrying a double-figured game point average, a "close" game was a rare sight for the Knights. The newspaper raves came in from all around, including a complimentary write-up in the Chicago Tribune. The Knights won the Pekin Holiday Tournament hands down, then went on to win the Mid-State 9 conference title. They captured the regional championship by defeating the Galesburg Silver Streaks. The Knights won their first game in the sectionals, before losing to Peoria Central in a disappointing double overtime defeat. The Knights finished the season with a 27-2 record.