TriCounty The song has ended but the melody lingers on. Manual's incredible 36-game Class AA boys basketball state tournament winning streak ended in the 1998 Sweet 16. The school's record run of four championships was doomed when the 1997 graduation of All-Americans Marcus Griffin and Sergio McClain left the Rams with an all-guard starting lineup.
But what a guard Manual had in 6-foot-3 Frank Williams, the Tri-County's Male Athlete of the Year for 1998.
"With Frank on your team, you can play with anyone," Manual coach Wayne McClain said. And win 27 out of 30, he might have added. That was the worst Rams' record in Williams' four high school years.
But Williams continued the Manual mystique like a one-man army, leading the Rams in points scored (22.8 average), rebounds (6.4) and assists (4.9).
And in arguably the best year for individual Illinois talent, Williams was named the best player in the state, becoming the third Mr. Basketball award winner in area (and Manual) history.
After graduation, Williams played in the McDonald All-America game at Norfolk, Va., and in Magic's Roundball Classic in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Now at the University of Illinois, he is completing classroom work to become eligible to join the Illini and former teammates McClain and Griffin next season.
The song has ended but the melody lingers on. Manual's incredible 36-game Class AA boys basketball state tournament winning streak ended in the 1998 Sweet 16. The school's record run of four championships was doomed when the 1997 graduation of All-Americans Marcus Griffin and Sergio McClain left the Rams with an all-guard starting lineup.
|Ron Dwyer, Sr.|
Ron was an All-Conference, athlete in football, basketball, and baseball at Spalding Institute and achieved All-State honors in basketball. He accepted a full scholarship to Western Illinois University for basketball. After his freshman year he transferred to Bradley University on a baseball scholarship. At BU he played baseball for three years and football for two years. In 1964, he was selected for the All-Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Team. Ron was invited to play on the first Peoria Pacers Baseball Team in the Central Illinois Collegiate League, batting 4th in the lineup and playing 3rd base alongside Don Kessinger, the eventual star shortstop for the Chicago Cubs. After college he shared his sports acumen as an assistant coach for Spalding’s basketball teams that were the state runners-up in 1969 and 1970 Class AA Tournament. He was the pitching coach for the 1974 East Peoria team that placed 2nd in the Class AA Baseball Tournament. Ron was a player/manager in Peoria’s Sunday Morning League for 15 years; for 20 years he served as supervisor of the softball program for the Peoria Park District; for 6 years was active in Little League; and for 2 years helped lead a youth basketball program. He was an umpire/official in baseball, basketball, and football at various levels of competition over 21 seasons.