TriCounty National championships for Illinois Central College and long-time coach Lorene Ramsey go hand-in-hand.
And this was especially so in 1998 when she won not one but two national titles: the National Junior College softball crown in Hutchinson, Kansas and the National Junior College Division II basketball title in Hagerstown, Md.
The double victory march earned her the honor of being named the Tri-County Female Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year and fifth time overall adding to previous awards in 1993, 1992 and 1979.
She won her first national JC softball title in 1982 and followed up with Division II basketball crowns in 1992 and 1993. She was named national JC Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1993.
Ramsey felt her basketball team hit its peak in the national tournament. "We put together our three best back-to-back games in the national tournament, and we got contributions from a lot of people. Sometimes they contributed in a way that amazed me."
In the softball national tourney, ICC had to win five games after a loss put it into the loser's bracket, but it then won the tourney with ease with back-to-back shutouts of Ricks College.
Ramsey was voted into the Women's Softball Hall of Fame last May. Kathy Leitke, president of the Women's Softball Coaches Association, lauded Ramsey: "There's no doubt in my mind that Lorene Ramsey is as solid as a rock. She is the foundation of JCAA women's softball."
Following the season, Ramsey retired as softball coach with a career mark of 840-309. She will continue as ICC's basketball coach.
National championships for Illinois Central College and long-time coach Lorene Ramsey go hand-in-hand.
Ulrich has coached in the Junior Football League and youth baseball for 32 years, while also serving as president of numerous youth leagues and director of the Peoria Diocesan basketball tournament. He began volunteering as coach for the Richwoods Browns JFL team in 1971 and served in a coaching or administrative capacity for the Richwoods JFL program from 1971-89. In addition, he served as a coach and president of the Richwoods League League, as well as Pony League, from 1975-85. During that same period, he coached the Bergan All-Star Pony League from 1981-84. In his role as St. Thomas Grade School athletic director for 32 years, Ulrich directed the 11 boys (six) and girls (five) basketball teams for 27 years, scheduling tournaments, ordering uniforms and hiring officials among his many duties. He also served as director of the Peoria Diocesan Tournament for 14 years. Ulrich coached basketball at Peoria Heights Grade School from 2006-11 and he volunteered as manager of a fastpitch team in the Peoria Park District Softball League for 23 years, while also playing on the team for several seasons. He currently is completing his two-year stint as the St. Philomena School 5th Grade boys basketball team and is preparing for his second year of coaching in the Irish youth baseball program.