Inductees Between 1967 and 1971 Peoria Central High School’s tennis team set a national record by winning 116 straight dual meet matches.
The streak started May 4, 1967 against Woodruff and ended with a 5-4 loss to Pekin April 29, 1971.
The old record had been 107 consecutive wins by Coral Gables, Fla. High School. The record set by Central has since been eclipsed.
Neil Wicker, who became head coach for the 1967 season, tutored the team throughout the streak although Steve Yang was head coach in 1971 when Wicker assumed an administrative post with the school district.
Seventeen lettermen took the major part in establishing the long winning streak with John Casey, Jim Kahn and Chris Peerless playing in four of the five seasons the streak covered.
Mike and Eric Holden and Chris Martersteck played in three of the seasons, John Fritts, Fred Graf, Tony Mead, Dwight Morris and Tim Tiarks two each and Jeff Ballowe, Jim Cummings, Jeff Goll, Bob Thornburg, Steve Woodworth and Gary Zumwalt one.
Others who played were Gary Aterburn, Rob Bordeaux, Bill Defenbaugh, Chip Dempsey, John Dempsey, Ben Dwyer, Dick Ellis, Mike Finn, Doug Holmes, Mike Keele, Mike Keller, Steve Kraft, Blaire Gorsuch, Richard Lewis, Gary Nunes, Dan Osterman, Scott Reed, Lance Rodewald, Rich Sathoff, Bob Schroeder, Jeff Shaw, Hank Sincere, Marcus Sharpe, Alan Smith, Bob Steimle, Jeff Spietz, Jerry Storm, Jim Thomas, Bruce Ulrich, Dick Whitney and Brian Woodworth.
Between 1967 and 1971 Peoria Central High School’s tennis team set a national record by winning 116 straight dual meet matches.
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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