TriCounty Illinois Central College's ninth National Junior College Athletic Association team championship in school history was a first for Sue Sinclair's volleyball program.
The 33-7 Cougars completed their banner season in November with a five-set victory over Cowley College in the NJCAA Division II championship match at Wisconsin Dells, Wis. ICC's best finish previously in the DII national tournament was fourth place in 2005 and 2008.
The championship led to Sinclair's selection in December as American Volleyball Coaches Association two-year colleges national coach of the year. The pool of candidates for junior college volleyball's highest coaching honor comes from the NJCAA's three divisions, the California Community College Athletic Association and the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (Oregon and Washington).
ICC sophomore Yiting Cao, from Shanghai, China, was named AVCA two-year colleges national player of the year. College athletes, however, must be from Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties to be eligible for Tri-County awards.
Illinois Central College's ninth National Junior College Athletic Association team championship in school history was a first for Sue Sinclair's volleyball program.
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.”