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Friday, December 8, 2017

Jimmie Carr- I Was So Excited I Couldn't Sleep

Jimmie Carr as a senior
 The 1959 Streaks basketball team was ranked #1 for much of the year, and went onto take Third in State. When veteran Streaks fans talk about the ’59 team, it always turns to the story about the transfer of Bumpy Nixon from Quincy to Galesburg.

Very few Streaks fans realize the story about the “other transfer” that made the ’59 team. Something big happened at Mary Allen West School on one day in December of 1950. Early in the day, a young African-American boy from Texas walked into enroll in fourth grade. Shortly after, another African-American boy from Arkansas walked into enroll in fourth grade. Jimmie Carr was coming from Texas, and Otis Cowan was coming from Arkansas. That day, their fourth grade teacher, Miss Witherspoon recognized the unusual event. She instructed the boys that since they were both new and both lived in the same neighborhood, they should plan to become friends. As wise as Miss Witherspoon was, she didn’t realize that she was greeting one of the greatest guard tandems who would ever play for Galesburg High School.  

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Rainee Sibley- Energy Giver

 Rainee Sibly graduated from Galesburg HS in 2013, and from Illinois State University in 2017. Today she is working in Galesburg in the social service field.
Rainee played varsity basketball for three years at Galesburg. During her career, we were running “the System.” It was perfect for her, it involved going all out for about 30-40 seconds. And Rainee could get after it. During her three year varsity career, she averaged about 2.5 points per game. But she was extremely valuable.

I was asked once, if I was going to pick a team from the players who I have coached, who would be fifteen players I would put on that team. I didn’t answer the question. When I think about that question, my answer would change from day to day. I don’t know the answer. But I know that if I was putting together a team, it would be very, very hard not to include Rainee Sibley on that team. She only scored 2.5 points per game- why Rainee?

Friday, December 1, 2017

Hungate- Girls Basketball Dynasty

Mary Kay Hungate
 There have been many good girls basketball teams in western Illinois over the last 40 years. And there have been some “dynasties” during that time- schools/teams which had extended championship teams.

Whenever a great team or a new “dynasty” comes along, some seem to react like it is the first time there has been a great team in the area. When I think of some of the great runs by teams, there were Moline’s teams in the late ‘80’s and again around 2008. UT had some great teams in the ‘80’s. Quincy was a power house for years in the mid-‘90’s. Limestone was great in the ‘80’s and again in the ‘90’s. And of course, we would like to think our Galesburg teams of the ‘90’s and early 2000’s would qualify as great teams. As I list these teams off the of my head- I am sure I have failed to mention some, there is no insult intended. So, there is indeed a rich history of girls basketball in western Illinois.

While all of these teams had great success, when you think about “dynasties” in the area, the teams you have to start with are Mary Kay Hungate’s teams in the 1970’s and ‘80’s at Richwoods. They were a power house every year she coached- no exceptions.

Her teams were intimidated. Yes, they had talent but other teams had talent too. They were very well coached. I have never seen teams who had a better understanding of what was a good shot and what was a bad shot than her teams did. The big thing was that Richwoods under Hungate was intimidating. She created a program that was ahead of everyone the area. She demanded a greater commitment and got it. Everything was first-class. Even their uniforms were better than other teams.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Whitney (Snyder) Martino- Leadership

Whitney (Snyder) Martino has been an assistant principal at Aurora West High School since 2011. It is not a surprise for Whitney to be in a leadership position. As a student and athlete at GHS, she was willing to step up and take charge of situations.

Whitney had an outstanding career at GHS. As a sophomore, she was first post off the bench for a team that made it to the Elite 8. As a junior and senior, she started and scored 8.5ppg per game and got 6.5 rebounds per game. Her junior year, the Streaks took second in State, and her senior year, fourth. Not bad.

After graduating, Whitney went to the University of Iowa. (Everyone is entitled to one mistake!) At Iowa, Whitney got involved as manager for the women’s basketball team.

Whitney has always brought an energy and enthusiasm to what she does. It is not surprising to see her rise to a position of leadership in education.

Massey- You went off to Iowa to school, and spent 4 years wishing you would have been a Badger. But you made the best of it. You became a manager for the women's basketball team. Why did you decide to do this? Was it competitive getting to be a manager, or were they looking for people? 

Whitney- Within the first weeks at Iowa it was clear that I missed playing basketball and being a part of a competitive team.  I was a little lost without the structure of practice, games, weight training and travel. I knew I didn’t have the skill or size to play for a program as large as Iowa, however I thought maybe I could walk-on or work my way up as a practice player.  I reached out to Coach Lisa Bluder who was in her first year as the head women’s basketball coach.  It ended up being the perfect storm of opportunity.  She was just beginning to build her staff and encouraged me to think about a role as the basketball manager.  I immediately accepted and as a result, I spent 5 years with a full athletic scholarship as the Iowa Women’s basketball manager.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Start of Season

In Western Big Six action for the first week:

At Rock Island- Rock Island 58 Galesburg 24
At Alleman- UTHS 49  Alleman 40
At Moline- Moline 54 Quincy 48

Rock Island is now 6-0 with a win on Wednesday over Lake Zurich at the Lake Zurich Tourney. Rocky ventured up to the suburbs to play for Thanksgiving. Rocky will host Rock Falls on Saturday.

Moline is now 3-2 with the win over Quincy. Moline played in the Pontiac Thanksgiving Tourney where they lost to Eureka and Washington before winning over Pontiac and Prairie Central.

UTHS is now 2-2 with the win over Alleman. They beat East Peoria and lost to both Sacred Heart Griffin and Rockford East in the Galesburg Toureny. This Friday they will play Springfield and Metamora. UT was without Brandi LaFountaine, their 6'0" post, the first weekend as she was at State for swimming.

Quincy sits at 1-1. They defeated Jacksonville before losing to Moline.

Alleman left the Galesburg Tourney for the Geneseo Tourney. The Geneseo is primarily a small school tourney. Alleman is now 2-4 with the loss to UT. At Geneseo, Alleman lost to LaSalle-Peru, Annawan, and Geneseo but beat St. Bede and Sherrard.

Dunlap was the other team that left the Galesburg Tourney. They played at the Limestone Tourney. They went 4-0 to win the Limestone Tourney. They had wins over Peoria ND, Manual, and a 67-8 win over IVC. They defeated Lincoln in the championship game.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Jaque (Howard) Gohlinghorst- Going in GHS Hall of Fame

Jaque as starting point guard on Elite 8 team.
Jaque (Howard) Gohlinghorst is going into the GHS Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend. Jaque dressed varsity all four years at GHS, and was the starting point guard for the 1998, 1999, and 2000 teams.

During Jaque’s three seasons as the starting point guard, the Streaks enjoyed our best stretch ever. The three teams went 27-6, 33-2, and 34-4 for an overall record of 94-12. The team took second in the WB6 her soph year and then won the conference her last two years.

The lowest ranked any of these teams- 7th in the State her soph year. As juniors, Galesburg was ranked #1 in Illinois, and as a senior, ranked #2 in Illinois. And it is important to realize that this was when Illinois had only two classes- so this ranking included all of the Chicago suburban schools.

Jaque’s last game each season was played at Redbird Arena. She was on teams that finished 4th, Elite 8, 2nd, and 4th in State. Think about it- the “worst team” she played on finished in the Elite 8!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Female Coaches

An interesting article in the Peoria Journal Star on female coaches....

Mike Hellenthal- Looking Back at WB6

Mike Hellenthal started coaching at Quincy in the early 1970’s, and was there for the Leggett years. He then moved to Galesburg as Athletic Director in the late 1980’s. Today he is retired living in Quincy. He has seen a lot of WB6 boys’ basketball. It is fascinating to hear about his experiences.

Massey-  You had a rare opportunity to work for two legends in Sherrill Hanks and Jerry Leggett. I know in talking to you, you have tremendous respect for both of them. From your perspective, what made Hanks so successful?

Mike- Coach Hanks outworked and his preparation was second too none.  I was his main scout for several years and would see a team at least 3 times before we played them.  He left nothing to chance.

Massey- You caught the tailend of the Thiel, Hanks, Hawkins eras. From your conversations, what kind of relationship did those three have? What did they seem to have in common that made them successful and what made each unique?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

First Season

 1977-8 the Streaks girls’ basketball team had a pretty good season. There was not a two class system, so the Streaks won their Regional with wins over Alexis, Yorkwood, and Southern. They went onto lose the first round of the Sectional to Moline 48-36. But it didn’t end well, the Streaks had been using an ineligible player the entire second semester so they had to forfeit all those games plus give up the Regional title. So what had been a pretty good season, became a 1-19 season.

In the middle of July, I got a call from George Lundeen (Athletic Director), asking me to come in and talk with him. When I arrived at the high school, I was met by Mr. Lundeen and David Bradley (GHS Principal). I was told that they had decided a change need to be made in the coaching position for the girls’ basketball team. They explained that they had offered to someone else but they had turned the job done but they had recommended me for the job. They explained why they thought it would be a good job for me. And pointed out there would be good players. I believed them but I had only seen one girls game the year before.

Vicki (Fields) Stewart- Athlete, Mom, Coach

Vicki #10.
Vicki Fields (now Vicki Stewart) graduated in 1989 from Galesburg High School. She started as a guard on the 1988 team which won Galesburg’s first Regional title. She was a very good player, and she was an even better teammate. When we took our first team to University of Michigan to for team camp in the summer of 1989, Vicki went as the coach for the team.

When I first started coaching girls basketball, very few of the moms had been athletes. It was the dads who had athletic experience and “expertise” to share with their daughters. I always wondered how the first generation of athletic moms would handle their athletic experience and parenting a female athlete.

Vicki Stewart certainly gives us some insight into the positive role an “athletic mom” can have on her daughter. Vicki has certainly been a great role model and leader, not only for her daughter but for many female athletes.  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Isaiah Peachey- Teaching in the City

Steve & Isaiah Peachey riding to girls basketball game.
Isaiah Peachey was around the girl’s basketball program as he grew up with his dad as an assistant coach. The Peachey’s- Isaiah, Tai, and Seth were Allen’s playmates in the gym. They ran all over while we were practicing. They played made up games in the balconies. Often it took some time for them to remember where they took there shoes off in the school.

Isaiah went onto to play varsity basketball for the Streaks, then got his college degree from Olivet Nazarene. And he chose to go into the “family business”, teaching.

Recently the Register-Mail did a series on Galesburg grads moving away. We expect to hear about grads moving to the “suburbs” or huge businesses in the large cities. Usually we think the motivation is to chase big bucks.

Isaiah is one of “those kids moving to the city”, but then he isn’t “one of those kids moving to the city.” His teaching career has not taken him to New Trier or Barrington to make huge money, it has taken him to work in a city school on the south side of Chicago. Despite the challenges, Isaiah seems to be enjoying his experience. It is fascinating to hear about his experience as a teacher and as a coach in Chicago.

Friday, October 27, 2017

My Rules Changes

Every year they come up with new rules changes. Some are good, some are not. Usually coaches are initially not happy with change- it requires new strategy and adjustments.

I am not very good at figuring out how the new rules will impact the game. When they added the three point arc, I said in the newspaper that it would not effect the high school girls game- "the only time it will be used will be when a player throws up a prayer at the end of a quarter."

This year they have expanded the coaching box to go to the baseline. This is probably good but it won't really impact the game. This year they added a rule that refs can issue a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct to a coach. While I am not coming out in support of unsportsmanlike conduct, I don't like this rule. Anything that promotes refs and coaches communicating is good. I think this rule will reduce communication between refs and coaches. It will be too easy for a ref to just issue a warning, in effect "embarrass" the coach, and not ever stop to talk with the coach. If it makes us as coaches more civil and gets us to talk to refs differently- and refs differently, then that would be good. But I see it as a rule that will make coaches and refs even more adversaries.

If I were in charge, here are some rules changes I would make. Some would make a difference and some would not matter.