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.
Jim Lewis served as Athletic Director, head football, golf, basketball, and baseball coach at Pekin Community High School during his career from 1933-1955. Jim received his BA from the University of Illinois and a masters from the University of Iowa. During his days at the University of Illinois he played football and basketball. Jim also served in the military. Jim Lewis started his coaching career at Pekin in 1933 with the baseball team. He compiled a record of 118-71-1 in eleven seasons under his direction. Lewis led Pekin to six regional titles in his seven seasons as basketball coach, including state trophies in 1947 (4th place) and 1948 (3rd place). Jim coached football for eleven seasons with a 71-30-1 record. The 1951 unbeaten Pekin football team was the first team in the history of the school to win ten games. The 1951 team was considered the mythical Number 1 team in the state. Pekin won both the Greater Peoria Illini Conference and the Big 12 Conference titles that year. Jim's golf teams excelled, winning a 3rd place (1948) and a 2nd place (1949) in the state tournament during his seven years as coach. Jim Lewis was one of the driving forces behind building Pekin Memorial Stadium. Jim was a member in three Halls of Fame, the Pekin High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Illinois High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame, and the IBCA Hall of Fame. Even by today's standards, Coach Lewis' coaching achievements are legendary.