NeveHarms Tom Lowery, long-time Peoria Youth Sports figure, has been named co-winner of the 1991 Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award. He has a Masters Degree from Sangamon State University and works as a Management Analyst.
A life-long Peorian, Tom is a graduate of Manual where he lettered in three sports. He developed his baseball skills under the late Ed Stonebock, beginning as an eight-year-old little leaguer and lasting through a State Tournament Championship his senior year.
Lowery has served as Director of the Averyville and Woodruff Youth Baseball programs since 1971. His involvement as founder of the program grew out of his desire to involve Northside youth in sports rather than the streets. His teams have won over 50 League and Tournament titles, including Peoria City Little League and Pony League Championships. He was the driving force in youth programs in the Averyville area for many years, offering year-round activities for the neighborhood youth in baseball, basketball, bowling and table tennis. He also coached grade school basketball at Christ Lutheran School and led his team to the title game of the prestigious Lutheran Tournament. Lowery-coached men's basketball teams won 8 Peoria league titles, 15 tournament titles and in 1976 finished in the top 8 at the National men's Lutheran tourney.
Lowery has been a long-time participant in the Illinois Central College Basketball program with Lorene Ramsey and Carroll Herman, serving in several capacities including Radio and TV announcer, PA announcer, Statistician, Sports Information Director, photographer, and promotional services ó all as a volunteer. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the Old Timers Baseball Association.
As Youth Baseball Director, Tom is now involved in the drive to develop the Riverfront Youth Athletic Field at Woodruff Park. This ambitious endeavor will provide a centralized lighted baseball facility for Peoria's youth for the first time - a veritable "Field of Dreams" for Director Tom, who has had over 3500 boys and girls participate in his programs.
Tom Lowery, long-time Peoria Youth Sports figure, has been named co-winner of the 1991 Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award. He has a Masters Degree from Sangamon State University and works as a Management Analyst.
Larry Leitner was among the state's elite officials for more than 40 years, officiating high school, college and professional sporting events from 1960 through 2003 and he remains involved in sports by serving on the board of directors for the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament, as well as evaluating current officials and moderating IHSA rules clinics.
Among his officiating highlights, Leitner worked more IHSA basketball and football tournament games than any official in the state's history, earning 27 consecutive boys basketball regional assignments. He also worked the IHSA boys basketball state finals in 1973, 1974 and 1976, including the 1976 championship game, and three IHSA football finals, including the first-ever 2A state championship game in 1974. A charter member of the Gateway Conference officiating crew in 1988, Leitner was part of the crew that officiated the 1990 and 1993 NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinals and he served as an associate official for the Big Ten Conference from 1984-88.
Leitner also was called upon to officiate two IESA state championship games, the 1990 National Catholic Basketball finals, three Shriner All-Star football games and the 1980 IBCA All-Star Classic, while also working for two seasons in the Midwest Professional Football League.
Leitner is a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, Peoria Officials and Bloomington/Normal Officials Halls of Fame.