NeveHarms Dr. Pat Cusack was the Spalding Irish team physician from the early 1940's until 1966 when he was succeeded by Dr. Kenny (also a Neve Harms recipient). He was associated with the legendary Ennio Arboit (a previous Hall of Fame Inductee) during the years Irish teams were Peoriarea "monsters of the gridiron."
Known simply as "Doc", even to his nine boys and two girls, Dr. Cusack, the long-time, easy recognizable East Bluff resident, graduated from Elmwood High School. He worked his way through Bradley University where he was captain of the baseball team.
Following graduation from the Loyola Medical School in Chicago, Dr. Cusack began his medical career as a General Practitioner on Peoria's Southside, where $2.00 office calls and $3.00 house calls (remember them?) were the norm. He abhorred cigarette smoking, and would never set foot in a tavern.
He was attending physician for just about every type of sporting event in Peoria, and was a fixture at the old "top of Main Street" Arena (a grocery store parking lot). As part of a battery of doctors at the Golden Glove finals in Chicago, he examined Mohammed Ali (then Cassius Clay). "Doc" regularly examined most of Peoria's Golden Glove participants.
When Spalding revived baseball in 1945, Dr. Cusack anonymously donated money for the program, including replacement of the twenty-year old uniforms Coach Father Sylvester pulled out of mothballs tattered and worn with a huge "Gothic 5" across the chest.
He was a friend and great admirer of A. J. "Robbie" Robertson. His closest doctor friend was Dr. C.V. Ward, whose son Clarence is also being honored with the Neve Harms award. From "Doc's" son Pat,"Dad would be most proud to be in Clarence's company."
Dr. Pat Cusack was the Spalding Irish team physician from the early 1940's until 1966 when he was succeeded by Dr. Kenny (also a Neve Harms recipient). He was associated with the legendary Ennio Arboit (a previous Hall of Fame Inductee) during the years Irish teams were Peoriarea "monsters of the gridiron."
|Junior and Jackie Watkins|
Junior and Jackie coordinated basketball and golf events for the Elks organization on an international level when Junior served as the Grand Athletic Global Director for 20 years. The Watkins’ founded and ran the Hersey Hawkins Summer League for 35 years. Junior was the league commissioner while Jackie oversaw scoring, scheduling and other matters. Each served on the Peoria Park District Athletic Advisory Board. Junior has been a member of the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame board for over 20 years and Jackie has lent her singing voice to the GPSHOF banquet for years. The couple was involved with PHY (People Helping Youth), a non-profit designed to help Little League Baseball at State Park. Junior has been a volunteer official for Caterpillar Leagues and a volunteer host for the IHSA state basketball tournament.