Inductees Bill Lofgren is simply the most talented male tennis player to come out of Peoria: a standout high school player at Peoria Central, a brilliant college performer at Bradley University, and a world ranked Grand Prix player who has competed in every major tournament in the world.
Lofgren drew the attention of the collegiate tennis world during his three varsity years at Bradley when he compiled a 66-7 singles record, including 26-1 as a sophomore, and won the Missouri Valley Conference singles title in 1968.
By 1975, after a stint as head tennis professional at the Carolina Country Club, he joined the Men's Grand Prix circuit and participated in all of the major championships in the world.
He competed in the four Grand Slam events: Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the French Championship and the Australian Open. His schedule also included stops in South Africa, the Phillipines, New Zealand, Japan, Finland, Nottingham, the Newport Grass championships, the National Clay court championships, Madrid, Tehran and the Woodlands Doubles championships.
He was ranked 132nd in the world by ATP and continued to compete world wide through 1978. He was named to the Bradley University Hall of Fame in 1978.
At the time of his induction into the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame he was head tennis professional at the prestigious Queen City Racquet Club in Cincinnati, a post he accepted in 1979.
Bill Lofgren is simply the most talented male tennis player to come out of Peoria: a standout high school player at Peoria Central, a brilliant college performer at Bradley University, and a world ranked Grand Prix player who has competed in every major tournament in the world.
|Dawdy Hawkins |
"Dawdy" Hawkins, one of the most successful high school basketball coaches in the nation, directed his teams to state titles in two different states. His Lincoln Northeast High School team won a Nebraska state prep crown in 1948, just before he left to take over at Peoria Central. He quickly forged a powerhouse at Central, his 1952-53 team, led by brilliant center Hiles Stout, making it to the championship game of the Illinois state finals at the University of Illinois' old Huff Gym before bowing to LaGrange, 71-60. Hawkins took three other Peoria Central teams to the state tournament (1954, 56, 59) and then, switching to Pekin, had five other state appearances (1964, 65, 66, 67, 73), including state championship teams in 1964 and 1967.