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.
Neve Harms Award
The Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame Neve Harms Award, formerly the Peoria Advertising and Selling Club's Annual Meritorious Service to Sports Award, was named the Neve Harms Award in 1966 and for a very good reason.
As Director of Proctor Recreation Center, Harms observed the need for all youths to experience participation in sports activities, and not just the few who excelled. He, therefore, adopted a firm policy which assured that all youths would have an opportunity to play in games of the various sports controlled by Proctor Center. This plan met with much success and certainly with acceptance by parents whose children became more interested in sport activities at Proctor and consequently made good use of their free time.
Neve carried through this policy when he was appointed Superintendent of the Peoria City Recreation Department which later became part of the Peoria Park District. In addition, he also developed a system of recognition for all youths so that each young person could feel good about his or her efforts.
This kind of interest in all youths regardless of ability came from a most competitive and outstanding athlete. Neve was a four-sport player at Manual High School and a three-sport letter winner at Bradley University. He was a member of the 1929 Manual High School State Championship Basketball team.
Awards prior to 1981 were offered through the Peoria Advertising Club, rather than the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame. We don't have biographies for these individuals. If anyone would be able to provide the bios that were written by the club at the time of the awards, we would very much appreciate receiving them for posting. We are also missing the Bruce Saurs' bio that was written in the 1991 Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame Banquet book, and we would like to receive it also. We are specifically interested in the bios written at the time of the awards, not more or less current. Please contact Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The first official Board of Directors meeting was held on October 14, 1979. Officers were elected. Early decisions determined that the Hall of Famers would be from the Greater Peoria Area; the name would be The Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame; its purpose would be to promote and encourage the many varied sports programs in our area, to share with the area the pride we have in the accomplishments of area athletes, and to honor those men, women and teams contributing to our enjoyment and rich sports history.
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