To help document the rich tradition of the IHSA Boys Basketball State Finals (otherwise
known as “March Madness”), a quintet of historians and journalists put together a record of
the first 100 years of the tournament, in conjunction with the 100th edition of the Finals in
The book is called “100 Years of Madness,” authored by Scott Johnson, Curt Herron, Pat
Heston, Jeff Lampe and Bob Leavitt.
Almost a foot tall by a foot wide, the book and its 316 pages weighs a ton. The paperback
book was a surprising lug to carry when I bought the book at the March Madness
Experience in 2007, just before Boylan's Class AA quarterfinal dud with Stevenson.
As part of the promotion, there was a meet-and-greet at the Experience that year, where
some of the 100 Legends of the State Basketball Tournament were available to sign
Now before I go any further, journalists are not really supposed to use their power to attain
such things, but its traditionally more lax at the high school level. Besides, during my time
with these Legends, it came to me that I didn't want to keep this book permanently.
Thus, the “Book Tour” was born.
As mentioned, only about half of the living Legends were available for the signing. In
addition, there were more people mentioned in this book who were certainly legends in
their own right (Steve Goers, Duncan Reid, and Derrick Rose for example). My goal was to
get even more signatures. How many? Originally I though 100. But about a year ago, I
changed that plan.
After learning that there would indeed be a museum dedicated to the history of basketball
in Illinois, run by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, I sought to donate yet another
artifact to the collection.
But it won't be for a very long time.
The Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame Museum plans to open sometime this year in Danville. I
was invited to a historians meeting last year in Normal and donated an old Belleville
Maroons pennant to the artifact collection (that's before the East-West split).
That rejuvenated the purpose of the Book Tour.
The only deadline I gave myself after that was time. No limit to signatures. In 2058, when I
am 72 years old, I plan on donating this book into the collection – that is, if I am still alive,
still in Illinois, or still in journalism by then. That will be the 150th Anniversary of the first
State Final – if they are still being held by then.
I have also considered working for as much as I can on it and turning it over to the Hall of
Fame where they can build upon this project.
I have 45 more years left. I got to get them quick. Rose, who is the youngest person
mentioned in this book, will be 70 years old in 2058.
I would like to add as many signatures as possible to this book, just as long as they are
mentioned in the book or are a part of the history of first 100 years of the Finals.
Below is a list of whose John Hancocks I already have from beginning to end, with
a story or two.
Walter Downing (New Lenox Providence 1978-A) – The only signature to grace the cover
of the book, right where he's hoisting the championship trophy. This came by accident
because I had flipped to the wrong page for his signature; I opened to the Class AA section
trying to find Providence when he simply offered to sign the cover.
Bill “Flash” Flanagan – The only signature I have of someone not mentioned in the book
(for now). However, he did run camps that included many of the most recent Legends.
Flanagan coached at Elgin and Illinois State and is a longtime Illinois scout. Signed on
Scott Johnson – Author, historian, and IHSA Assistant Executive Director. Signed on
Page 3 near the author's names. (“To Cody, long live March Madness”)
Curt Herron – Author and journalist for the Southtown Star. Signed on Page 3 near the
Pat Heston – Author and historian. Signed on Page 3 near the author's names.
Jeff Lampe – Author and journalist for the Peoria Journal Star. Signed on Page 3 near the
Bob Leavitt – Author and journalist for the Peoria Journal Star. Signed on Page 3 near
the author's names. (“To Cody. A fan. Good luck. RP Leavitt”)
(Lampe and Leavitt signed together, a couple of years after the book was released. I
brought the book to them and they were mentioning some of the typos, such as the
misspelling of Derrick Booth's name in the 1991-AA boxscore.)
Richard Litt (Rock Island 1909-11) – A copy of his signature was provided by the family at
Ted Beach (Champaign 1945-47) – The oldest player I have a signature of in the book.
His signature appears twice in this book.
Max Hooper (Mt. Vernon 1949-50)
Bill Schultz (Hebron 1952)
Paul Judson (Hebron 1952)
Phil Judson (Hebron 1952) – I have two signatures of Phil: one on the page documenting
the title win, and another in a special section on the story.
Ted Caiazza (LaGrange Lyons 1953)
“Big” George Wilson (Chicago Marshall 1958, 1960) – His signature appears three times
in the book.
Vergil Fletcher (Collinsville coach 1961, 1967) – The oldest person to sign, it took about
20 seconds for the Kahok legend to write his name. He was in his early 90s at the time and
died two years after the meet-and-greet.
Bogie Redmon (Collinsville 1961) – He put an arrow just above his signature to point out
where he was in the team picture.
--- Pages 108-117 features short biographies of the 100 Legends, where some legends
have second or third signatures.
Kenny Battle (West Aurora 1984)
Brad Bickett (Ohio player 1986 and Bureau Valley coach 2000-03)
Bruce Brothers (Quincy 1951-52) – Signed by his son.
Cliff Cameron (Pleasant Plains coach 2000, 2002) – Served as a television analyst for the
IHSA TV Network when he signed.
Francis Clements (Ottawa 1957)
Teddy Eddleman – Wife of Dike Eddleman of the 1942 state champion Centrailia team,
among many other accomplishments.
Sally Kintner – Granddaughter of Decatur coaching legend Gay Kintner.
Jerry Kuemmerle (Danville Schlarman 1958)
C.J. Kupec (Oak Lawn 1971)
John McDougal (West Aurora coach 1973, 1976 and Lutheran coach 1994)
Dave Robisch (Springfield 1967)
Herb Scheffler (Springfield player, coach and 1961 State Final official) – Signed by his
Bob Van Vooren (Moline 1951)
---Year-by-year information continues from here
Tony Dunlap (Pittsfield assistant coach 1991-A) – Later brought Eastland to the State
Finals as head coach in 2010 and 2013.
Dan Coyne-Logan (Alleman 1995-A) – Later an assistant coach at Rock Island.
Jorge Acosta (Rock Falls 1999-A) – Later and assistant coach at Rock Island.
Thom Sigel (Rock Falls coach 1999-A) – Later brought Rock Island down to the State
Finals, winning it all in 2011. Only the second coach in IHSA history to win state titles as
head coach of two different teams.
Stan Eagleson (Breese Central coach 2003-05) – Later coached Breese Central to the
2012 Class 2A state championship. Signed in the “quotes” section where he mentioned
about being the Buffalo Bills of the State Finals, as his Cougar teams had lost three
straight quarterfinal games.
Gary London (Hales Franciscan coach 2003, 2005) – Won it in 2003. Forced to sit out in
2004. Forfeited in 2005. Won it again in 2011. Signed on the 2003 page right next to his
quote about recruiting Nate Minnoy (odd coincidence that he signed at that spot).
Joe Murphy (Winnebago 2004-05) – Later took teams down in 2009 and 2013.
Larry Leitner – Officiated the 1976 Class AA title game between Chicago Morgan Park
and West Aurora.
Jeff Baker (Maine South 1979)
Bruce Douglas (Quincy 1979, 1981-82)
Dick Van Scyoc (Manual coach 1994) – Signed “Coach Van Scyoc”
Gene Pingatore (Westchester St. Joseph coach 1999) – Would surpass Van Scyoc on
the all-time coaching wins list ... 900 and counting.
Gordon Kerkman (West Aurora coach 2000)
Gary Gustafson – Officiated the 2006 Class AA title game between Chicago Simeon and
Peoria Richwoods, which ended in a 31-29 double-overtime win. Later served as head
official of the State Finals.
Cody Cutter is Publisher of Northern Illinois Sports Beat, and this is his final writing before
his website hiatus. He'll be back on May 31. He can be reached at
Northernillinoissportsbeat (at) yahoo (dot) com. --- Talk about what's written on our
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Final Take – For Now
A little about myself when it comes to high school sports.
I don't just look at this as work and paycheck (if that day
ever comes). As I have stated many times, much time is
spent doing research, writing (or Tweeting) about odd
things, or something else that is difficult to explain which
is high school sports-related.
I'm going to be taking some time off, but before I go I
wanted to share a little high school basketball project
that will be ongoing for a long, long time.