NeveHarms About the Neve Harms Award
The Neve Harms Award for Meritorious Service to Sports was established in 1966.
Neve was director of Proctor Recreation Center. He knew the need for all youths to participate in sports activities, not just the few who excelled. He therefore adopted a firm policy that assured all youths would have an opportunity to play in various sports activities.
Neve was a 4-sport player at Manual High and a member of the 1929 Manual High State basketball champions.
His tradition was carried on by former winners Tony Van Dyke, Paul Reatherford, and many others who made sure all participated, boys and girls.
In the last number of years, many teams were formed, in basketball, football, soccer, hockey, but that also required sponsorship from various organizations throughout the Peoria area. Such a group is the Independent Sports Club of Peoria (ISC), a current member of the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame. It was established in 1945 with its goal to help kids in the greater Peoria area.
Our winner this year is Cliff Coddington a man who has belonged to this club for 50 years, serving as past president, board member, and many activities chairman, but by far his most important achievement is that of being treasurer this past 16 years. He took the ISC through a very troubled era to where today it is financially sound, while contributing thousands of dollars to our youth and fulfilling Neve Harms' dream that as long as men like Cliff Coddington are alive, that dream will last forever.
About the Neve Harms Award
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.