NeveHarms Jim Watson has devoted more than forty years to the youth and public of our community. He is recognized throughout central Illinois as an excellent official, coach, administrator and league organizer.
An enthusiastic volunteer in Peoria, he's been a superb role model for our youth. Instrumental in a variety of sports essential to Peoria, Jim spent twenty-seven years in service as a coach, official and director of the Junior Football League. Primarily associated with basketball, he's served as a longtime scorer for Peoria Manual, helped to establish the Moonlight Basketball League, worked as chief statistician for both Bradley basketball and WMBD radio, and supervised activities for the Boys and Girls Club as well as Taft and Warner Homes.
Numerous other contributions have been made to such activities as YMCA 1-ball, soccer and touch football, Carver Center, IBCA All-Star basketball, and every job imaginable for the success of the Gus Macker Tournament.
Due to his tireless dedication and outstanding example to our community, we are honored to bestow the Neve Harms Award on Jim Watson.
Jim Watson has devoted more than forty years to the youth and public of our community. He is recognized throughout central Illinois as an excellent official, coach, administrator and league organizer.
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.”