NeveHarms Gary Trotter began working with youth sports as early as his college days at Bradley University, when he coached boys' basketball at St. Marks grade school in the late`5Os. He continued by next working with freshman baseball at Peoria High School. Upon graduation in 1958, he entered the service and in 1960 he began working at Pleasant Hill grade school where he taught and coached the boys' sports. He holds great pride in the fact that he was able to coach a state championship basketball team during his stay at Pleasant Hill.
Each summer he worked with the Park District little league at Bradley Park. He enjoyed his stay with the little league, having coached many local athletes. One of the more notable players would be Jim Thome. Gary feels very blessed to have coached Jim and his two brothers. Jim even called him to let him know when he went to the `Big Leagues." Spending 25 years or more with little league players was a joy. There were many tournament and city championship games played.
After leaving Pleasant Hill grade school in 1974, Gary went to East Peoria High School. There he began coaching golf, basketball, and baseball. Even after retiring in 1993, Gary went on to coach until around 2000.
After retiring in 1993, Gary began to teach golf classes at ICC. He continues to enjoy these classes and looks forward to the next. He presently is volunteering at the YMCA and working with youth basketball. Sports and young people continue to be an enjoyment.
Gary Trotter began working with youth sports as early as his college days at Bradley University, when he coached boys' basketball at St. Marks grade school in the late`5Os. He continued by next working with freshman baseball at Peoria High School. Upon graduation in 1958, he entered the service and in 1960 he began working at Pleasant Hill grade school where he taught and coached the boys' sports. He holds great pride in the fact that he was able to coach a state championship basketball team during his stay at Pleasant Hill.
As a man devoted to sports, Mick Donahue contributed an essential (and sometimes underappreciated) service to organized sports in Peoria for decades. His passion for athletics began as a youth as a participant in the Salvation Army Junior League Tournament and Proctor Center Basketball League. At Peoria Manual High School in the early 50’s, he played on the baseball team. After graduating from Manual, he was a player/manager on the LeTourneau-Westinghouse team in the old Industrial League, which was one of the nation’s top amateur sports organizations at the time.
Mick spent much of his life coaching, organizing and officiating youth sports in the area, especially baseball, softball, basketball and volleyball. He volunteered as a coach from 1957-72 for the St. Boniface Mustangs. Additionally he coached numerous Little League and Pony League teams.
Over the next several decades, he volunteered thousands of hours organizing and administering officials for various league play in the community. Beginning in 1972, he supervised adult softball and basketball leagues for the Peoria Park District. He also scheduled officials/umpires for the area’s catholic grade schools as well as many basketball, baseball, and softball games for the Peoria Public Schools. In his over 30 years with the Peoria Park District, Mick trained, assigned, and supervised officials for adult softball games for leagues at Peoria Stadium and Sterling school. He organized a force of volunteer basketball officials for the Prairie State Games.
Even after his passing in 2011, his legacy in sports continued to have a positive impact for a charitable cause. As a tribute and acknowledgement of his decades of dedication to local softball leagues, a Mick Donahue Memorial Tournament was held in August of 2013, on the park district diamonds near Peoria Stadium. Many teams participated and many others, including umpires, volunteered their services. Proceeds from the successful event were donated to the PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) Foundation, a disease being fought by his granddaughter. Concurrent with the tournament, a park bench was dedicated near the large diamond near Peoria Stadium. The small plaque affixed to the bench, reads, “In Memory of Mick Donahue for his dedication to softball and the Peoria Park District.”