NeveHarms As a member of the first four-year class at Limestone High, Larry Stranz was eager to help get a positive athletic tradition started for the Bartonville school. All he lacked was talent.
"It took me very little time to find out I was just terrible in everything," said Stranz.
So Stranz chose to contribute in many other ways. That is why he was chosen to be the 40th recipient of the Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award.
Stranz figures he set the Greater Peoria record for "playing the last few seconds in (Rockets) games.. .and as a result I've always had a soft spot in my heart for athletes who sit on the bench."
As generations of Limestone athletes - stars and deep reserves alike - should have a soft spot in their competitive hearts for Stranz.
"I'd rather not think about what our athletic programs would be like without Larry around," said Larry Hodge, athletic director at the Mid-Illini Conference School. "He's been involved in about every sport you can imagine. You can always count on him. He's always there when we need him."
Stranz has always been there as a scorer, clockkeeper, statistician, volunteer coach, organizer, fundraiser, promoter and in many other sports-related capacities throughout the Limestone school system.
He's also humble - and admits to an ongoing struggle in the search for at least one sport in which he has a chance to become proficient.
"I can't golf, can't bowl, darts... I really can't do anything well," said Stranz, 60, an electrician by trade who is facility manager at the Peoria County Courthouse. His behind-the-scenes contributions have also benefited Illinois Central College.
"I'm proud of this award and very grateful," said Stranz, "but please mention there are people who have done the same things at every school, hundreds of them."
Consider it mentioned.
Through the years, the Stranz family - wife Pat, children Chris and Deana - has shared in Dad's tireless athletic activities. That makes it an even better story. Even if he has trouble throwing a Frisbee.
As a member of the first four-year class at Limestone High, Larry Stranz was eager to help get a positive athletic tradition started for the Bartonville school. All he lacked was talent.
A 1974 Bradley University graduate and longtime financial consultant for MassMutual Financial Group, Paul Herzog has served as the public address "Voice of the Braves" for nearly 600 Bradley men's basketball games for the past 39 seasons, including every game the Braves have played at Carver Arena and Renaissance Coliseum. In addition to his volunteer service for Bradley, Herzog has served as the volunteer public address announcer for every game the Peoria Civic Center has hosted in the IHSA Boys Basketball State Tournament during its 20-year run in the River City.
While "PA" Paul is well-known for his role with Bradley Basketball and the IHSA, his community service extends far beyond Carver Arena. A Braves Club Board of Directors member for 20 years and a past president (1992-94) of the organization, Herzog also served as president of the Central Illinois Bradley Alumni Chapter (1983-85) and the Bradley University National Alumni Association (1990-91). He also has began emceeing the IHSA State Cross Country Championships awards ceremony in 1996.
Closer to his home in Germantown Hills, Herzog has coached in youth baseball and basketball house leagues and from 2006-13 he was a member of the Germantown Hills Athletic Association Board of Directors. He served as a committe co-chair in the effort to acquire land for the expansion of youth sports in Germantown Hills, which led to the addition of 20 acres to school district property. Herzog also brought a little of the Bradley Basketball experience to the Germantown Hills Grade School Boys Basketball program by serving as the public address announcer from 2008-12.
Herzog is the recipient of numerous service awards, including the Bradley Varsity Club Billy Stone Service Award, the Bradley University Lydia Moss Bradley Award, the IHSA March Madness Volunteer of the Year and the IHSA Distinguished Service Award. He was inducted into the Bradley Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.