Inductees Roy Gummerson, track star, coach and consummate volunteer, was recently honored by hundreds of men and women whom he touched over the years when they raised $11,500 to send him to the Olympic Games in Korea. Such was their devotion to the man!
Born in Peoria, Roy attended Kingman grade and high school before enrolling at Bradley at the urging of Mr. C.B. Baymiller. There he captained the Cross Country and track teams while running the 2 mile. He held records in that event for several years and was honored for his achievement by being inducted into the Bradley Hall of Fame.
Always quick to credit others, he names L.A. McDonald, Tom Correll, Harry Landis, A.J. Robertson and Cecil Hewitt as his idols and says "All in all, I have many cherished friends and moments that make for a continuous light of goodness and happiness lighting my way."
Woodruff High opened in 1937 with Roy as their track and cross country coach. And for the next 17 years he was trainer and motivator of hundreds of Peoria athletes. His stars are too many to mention here, but among them were area mid-state champions and record holders who gained national recognition in their sport and went on to become successful productive adults.
One of Roy's proudest moments came when his friends and former athletes honored him with a "This is your Life" program, when he left Woodruff to finish out his coaching career at Oak Park River Forest High School. A hospital and retirement home volunteer in Oak Park, Roy has never slowed down. He has been chairman of the IHSA state track and field for 24 years and will work his 50th and last state meet in 1990.
His honors include Northern Illinois Track Association Hall of Fame, Honorary Referee Award for the IHSA, 25 years award - IHSA, Carl Winter Volunteer of the Year Award and National Federation of High Schools award for Recognition for services and contributions to Track and Field.
Roy indeed has established himself as a Role Model for the coaching profession.
Roy Gummerson, track star, coach and consummate volunteer, was recently honored by hundreds of men and women whom he touched over the years when they raised $11,500 to send him to the Olympic Games in Korea. Such was their devotion to the man!
Tom’s outstanding baseball career was highlighted by Major League baseball appearances as a pitcher with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was the winning pitcher in his first outing with the Jays, his only decision in the Big Leagues.
Gilles was an outstanding athlete at Bergan High School (merged with Peoria AOL/Spalding to become Peoria Notre Dame in 1988). He was selected to All-Conference basketball and baseball teams. He was named All-State in both sports in 1980, his senior year. Tom was a star on the 1980 Bergan Basketball Team (GPSHOF class of 2010) that placed 2nd in the IHSA Class A State Tournament. Arguably, the most memorable moment in Bergan’s basketball history occurred during the tournament when his steal and resulting “buzzer beating” layup gave the Trojans a thrilling 56-55 win over Sterling Newman in the Moline Super-Sectional propelling Bergan to the quarterfinals. Tom was selected to the All-Tournament 1st Team. After Bergan, Gilles continued his baseball career at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana, playing for the Sycamores from 1981-85. As a freshman and sophomore, he both played as a position player and relief pitcher. His 3.22 earned run average in 1981 was the lowest among all pitchers. Tom was strictly a position player in his final two years, playing as a regular on ISU teams that won the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championships in each season. In the summer of 1983, he was selected as a Central Illinois Collegiate League All-Star. Soon after his college career, he attempted to land a spot on the USA Baseball Team’s 30-man roster that would compete in the 1984 Olympic Games. After making the preliminary roster against nationwide competition, he narrowly missed being named to the final roster. Tom signed his first professional contract with the New York Yankees as a 47th round pick in the 1984 draft. He played first and third base his first two seasons in the Yankees organization. He was converted to pitching in 1987 and hurled as a relief pitcher the next five seasons at Appleton, Kenosha, Orlando, and Knoxville, in the Yankees, Royals, Twins, and Blue Jays organizations. He compiled a record of 22-16. After his playing days, he shared his professional experience by coaching high school and college players.