NeveHarms Mike started his volunteering back in 1977 when he coached the Little League program in Peoria Heights. Don Matthews was the director. Mike later became the director of this program. The youths involved were 7 to 12 years old.
He also coached in the Little League program at the ALF's program at the Herke Field at Central High School.
He volunteered for many years at Woodrow Wilson and Hines grade school programs.
He eventually took over the program at Woodrow Wilson and was the director.
While at Peoria Central Little League he turned that program around, including a summer's end cookout for the parents and the young players, where everyone got involved with games and activities.
The many area coaches all said if you ever asked Mike Persich to help in any basketball or baseball programs where the youth of central Illinois were involved, Mike never hesitated to pitch in and help.
Mike received a certificate from Mayor Bud Grieves a few years ago which was a commendation for all the volunteering he does for our young people.
He has worked full time for the last 23 years at United Parcel Service.
Mike has worked with the basketball program at Woodruff on recent years and now is Assistant Varsity Coach there.
Mike credits his parents and four older brothers who helped him in growing up and being the citizen he is. Mike is married to his wife, Misty, and has a young son, Noah. Misty is expecting another child in September.
Mike started his volunteering back in 1977 when he coached the Little League program in Peoria Heights. Don Matthews was the director. Mike later became the director of this program. The youths involved were 7 to 12 years old.
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 email@example.com.
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The first official Board of Directors meeting was held 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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