Bloomington Trinity High School “Fighting Irish” or “Saints”

Trinity High School
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Courtesy of Don Raycraft “Local Legends: A Photographic History of McLean County Sports”

                           The History of Bloomington Trinity High School

Bloomington (population 74,975) is located in the central part of the state of Illinois in McLean County, being a hub to much of the state. Interstates 39, 55, & 74 go around Bloomington and its’ adjoining neighbor, Normal, along with US Routes 51 and 150 and Illinois 9. The Chicago & Alton Railroad also has a line that runs thru Bloomington, and served as a significant employer during its heyday. Route 66 was also a part of the community while it was in operation, but it is not forgotten as you can still travel parts of the “Main Street of America” today.

The community was established in 1830, as early pioneers such as James Allin and Jesse Fell helped get it up and running. The county is named for John McLean, a pioneer lawyer, territorial judge, the first Representative in Congress from Illinois (1818), and United States Senator (1824–25), while Bloomington was given its name originally as Blooming Grove when settled around 1822, slightly changing the name to its current moniker when the county was formed in 1830.

Outside of Abraham Lincoln’s presence in the community, others such as David Davis (a former Supreme Court Justice), baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Charles “Hoss” Radbourn, naturalist John Wesley Powell, politican Adlai Stevenson I and his son Adlai II, and actor McLean Stevenson (a cousin to Adlai II) are well-known figures who lived in Bloomington at one time. Nineteenth Century opera singer Marie Litta (aka Jenny Lind) also hailed from Bloomington as well.

Bloomington is home to Illinois Wesleyan University, which opened in 1850, and the nation’s number one auto and property/causualty insurance companies, State Farm Insurance. The state’s oldest public university, Illinois State University (founded in 1857) is also nearby in Normal, along with Mitsubishi Motors North America.

Education began to be offered in Bloomington in the 1840’s and private/parochial schools followed suit with an all-boys’ school in 1858 along with St. Joseph’s Academy for girls in 1863. St. Mary’s School was opened as a grade school in 1884, adding high school classes at a later date. The first graduates of St. Mary’s came in 1898, which became a tradition every year thru 1928 when a new building was opened across the street from St. Mary’s and changed its name to Trinity in honor of the name of the Catholic Church located near the former St. Mary’s.

The name was changed to Central Catholic in 1967 when the Catholic Diocese of Peoria requested that Epiphany Parish of Normal and St. Patrick’s Parish of Merna join Trinity, St. Mary’s, and Historical St. Patrick’s parishes in Bloomington in governing and subsidizing Catholic high school education in Bloomington-Normal.

The Trinity High School Building was torn down in 2005 after Central Catholic moved into a spacious location along Bloomington’s east side in the fall of 2003.


Year opened as St. Mary’s:  1884

Name changed to Trinity:     1928

Year that Trinity closed:       1967

Today it exists as:                Central Catholic HS

School colors:                       Blue & White

School nicknames:               Fighting Irish (thru 1940’s), Saints (after 1940’s)

Name of yearbook:               the “Trinitas”

School songs:                      Trinity Cheer Song, Loyalty Song

1) Trinity Cheer Song (sung to the tune of the Notre Dame Victory March)

         Cheer for dear old Trinity’s fame

         Ring out the echoes cheering her name

         Send a volley cheer on high

         Shake down the thunder from the sky

         What though the odds be great or small

         Trinity High shall win over all

         While her loyal sons are marching

         Onward to victory…rah! rah! rah!   

2)  Loyalty Song (sung to the tune of Maple Leaf Forever)

O, Trinity, dear Trinity

       We praise thy mystic name

       We bless Thy beauty, truth, and good

       We land they glorius fame


      O, Trinity, dear Trinity

      Rejoice! Our Loyalty Song

      From heart to heart in harmony

      Glad echoes will prolong

      A crown of loyalty we bring

      Thee, Alma Mater fair

      Our hearts the gold, our thoughts the gems;

      We pledge them, everywhere

      O, Alma Mater, light for us

      The torch of truth today

      For God and Country send us forth

      To labor and to pray   

St. Mary’s High School 1884-1928
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Courtesy of Don Raycraft from “Local Legends: A Photographic Memory of McLean County Sports”
John R. Snyder Gymnasium – aka “The Pit”
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courtesy of Don Raycraft


Trinity offered baseball, basketball, football, golf, and wrestling, plus we are aware it offered cross-country and track. We are hopeful that an alum or area historian may have more information about those latter two sports so that we can mention them in greater detail.

1953-54 Saints basketball
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Courtesy of Don Raycraft


The school offered a very competitive hoops program in Central Illinois. It won three state Catholic tournaments and went on to play in the National Catholic Invitational Basketball Tournament in Chicago before World War II interceded and the IHSA started accepting private and parochial schools as members in 1941.

1929-30 16-  7  2nd in State Catholic Tourney       Coach Charley Bennett

                        Beat Carlyle St. Mary 38-9

                        Downed Bourbonnais St. Viator 14-7

                        Beat Peru St. Bede 26-9 in semifinals

                        Lost to Peoria Spalding 21-12 in title game

1930-31 18-  4  2nd in State Catholic Tourney      Coach Charley Bennett

                        Beat Champaign St. Mary 33-10

                        Defeated Kankakee St. Patrick 28-3

                        Won over Moline St. Mary 23-8 in semifinals

                        Edged by Peoria Spalding in title game, 21-17

1931-32 20-  4-1 2nd in State Catholic Tourney    Coach Charley Bennett

                         Defeated Kewanee Visitation 21-12

                         Beat Moline St. Mary 23-12

                         Got by Rock Island St. Joseph 15-11 in semifinals

                         Tied Peoria Spalding 20-20 in title game

                         Edged by Spalding in replay of title game, 17-16

National Catholic Tournament Qualifier 

                           Beat Binghamton, NY St. Patrick 31-6

Lost to Charleston, SC Bishop England 24-16

1932-33             State Catholic Tourney Champs  Coach John Callans

1939-40  21-10   State Catholic Tourney Champs  Coach Essau Dotlich

Bloomington Trinity Basketball Team – 1939-40
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Submitted by Lou Ann Jacobs
Illinois Cath. HS Tourney Championship Plaque
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For Team Member Louis Littlefield – Submitted by Lou Ann Jacobs

1940-41  24-  5    State Catholic Tourney Champs      Coach Essau Dotlich

                          Undefeated Home Record

                          Won First Eleven Games of Season

Illiniois Catholic HS Basketball Champs – 1940-41
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Submitted by Lou Ann Jacobs

1941-42 13-10                                                        Coach Tony Komlanc

1942-43 17-  7                                                        Coach Rev. Richard Raney

1943-44 19-  6                                                        Coach Rev. Richard Raney

1946-47 15-13                                                        Coach Tony Komlanc

1953-54 26-  4    Regional Champions                Coach Lou Marketti

                          Corn Belt Conference Champions

1957-58              Regional Champions                Coach John Keegan

1958-59 17-12                                                        Coach John Keegan

1960-61 14-10                                                        Coach John Snyder

1961-62 15-10                                                        Coach John Snyder

1962-63 15-13    Regional Champions                Coach John Snyder

1963-64 17-  9                                                        Coach John Snyder

1964-65 14-14    Regional Champions                Coach John Snyder

1966-67             Last Season as Trinity                  Coach John Snyder

As a result, here’s a rundown of overall coaching records at Trinity (courtesy of the Bloomington Pantagraph on February 18th, 2003):

1928-32            Charlie Bennett           64- 26

1932-37            John Callans               50- 65

1937-38            James (Pim) Goff          6- 22

1938-41            Essau Dotlich              55- 26

1941-42, 46-47  Tony Komlanc            28- 23

1942-46            Rev. Richard Raney    54- 41

1947-51            John Scacutto             52- 48

1952-56            Lou Marketti                 58- 71

1956-58            John Keegan               27- 25

1958-67            John Snyder             106-121

Jim Wochner set a school record with a 52-point performance against Metamora on March 2, 1962, which was part of his career total of 1,622, best among Trinity alumni

1957 Trinity baseball team–Elite 8 qualifiers
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Courtesy of Don Raycraft’s “Local Legends: A Photographic History of McLean County Sports”


The Saints were just as tough on the baseball diamond as they were on the hardwood, winning four regionals and one district in the old one-class system, while taking a sectional and appearing at the 1957 IHSA State Finals in Peoria before bowing out. Trinity was very competitive by winning 50 of its first 53 games over a five-year period (two of them as St. Mary’s), including a stretch of at least 38 consecutive victories!

1929 12-  0                                                                  Coach Rev. J.P. Farrell

1930 13-  0                                                                  Coach Rev. J.P. Farrell

1931 13-  0                                                                  Coach Rev. J.P. Farrell

1951 16-  4                                                                  Coach John Scacutto

1956            District Champions                               Coach Lou Marketti

1957 11-  3   Bloomington Regional Champions    Coach John Keegan

                    Peoria Sectional Champions

                     State Quarterfinalist

Lost to Chicago Lane Tech 3-1

1958             Bloomington Regional Champions    Coach John Keegan

1962             Regional Champions                           Coach John Snyder

1964             Normal Regional Champions              Coach John Snyder


The Trinity linksters made their mark statewide in the early to mid-1960’s, coming home with two top-10 finishes at the state finals in Savoy at the University of Illinois’ home course. Two individuals finished in the top 10, very close to winning the individual medalist honors in the spring 1966 meet. The Saints also won seven Corn Belt Conference titles in eight seasons!

1959               Corn Belt Conference Champions     Coach unknown

1960               Corn Belt Conference Champions     Coach Rev. Robert Hughes

1961               Corn Belt Conference Champions     Coach unknown

1962               9th In State                                        Coach Tom Guetschow

                       Corn Belt Conference Champions

                       Decatur District Champions         

Qualified for State Finals

Team Standings

1  Peoria Richwoods               630

2  Hinsdale Twp.                     640

3  Champaign                         643

Freeport HS                        643

Streator Twp.                      643

6  Palatine HS                        645

7  Waukegan HS                    646

8  Galesburg HS                     661

9  Bloomington Trinity          672  

10  Blue Island                          674

1963              Corn Belt Conference Champions      Coach Joe Grimes

1965              Corn Belt Conference Champions      Coach Joe Grimes

1966               4th In State                                        Coach Joe Grimes

                      Corn Belt Conference Champions

                       District Champions

                        Qualified for State Finals

1  Winnetka New Trier East    660

2  Lockport Central                 672

3  Galesburg HS                     673

4  Bloomington Trinity          680  

5  Danville HS                         687

Peoria Richwoods               687

7  LaGrange Lyons                 689

8  Rantoul                               691

Waukegan HS                    691

10  Carterville                           693

Individual Medalists

William Cvengros       tied for 2nd–159, one stroke back

                             James Clothier           tied for 8th—163, five strokes back


The Saints were also involved on the mats, bringing home one IHSA plaque while offering the sport. We are hoping to that an alumnus or historian can provide more details than what is listed below.

1962-63           Lincoln District Champions            Coach Adolph Jerdee

Trinity HS District Wrestling Champs 1962-63
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1963-64           Corn Belt Conference Champions

Trinity Wrestling Team of 1964-65
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Submitted by Keith Rodgers
Trinity Wrestling Team of 1963-64
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Courtesy of Keith Rodgers
Trinity Football Team – 1940-41

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Submitted by Lou Ann Jacobs


Trinity offered football and started a tradition that continues thru today at Central Catholic. In checking yearbooks as far back as 1928, the Irish and Saints had success on the gridiron along with winning some conference and Intercity titles between Normal, Bloomington, and Normal University. Some of the better seasons are listed below.

1929  6-2     Intercity Champions                      Coach Don Karnes

1930  4-3-1                                                           Coach Don Karnes

1931  7-1-1  Intercity Champions                      Coach Don Karnes

1932  8-1-1  Intercity Champions                      Coach Don Karnes

1935  6-2-1                                                           Coach John Callans

1939  4-4                                                              Coach Esau Dotlich

1941  4-3     Intercity Champions                      Coach Tony Komlanc

1943  6-2     Cornbelt Conference Champs      Coach Rev. R.R. Raney

1950  6-3                                                              Coach John Scaccuto

1952  8-0-1  Cornbelt Conference Champs      Coach Ed Murphy

                   Intercity Champions

1953  7-0-2  Cornbelt Conference Champs      Coach Ed Murphy

   Intercity Champions

1954  5-3-1                                                          Coach John Trebbe

1955  5-3     Cornbelt Conference Champs      Coach John Trebbe

1956  5-3     Intercity Champs                            Coach George Egofske

1958  4-3-1                                                           Coach Adolph Jerdee

1962  6-2     Cornbelt Conference Champs      Coach Adolph Jerdee

1963  5-4                                                              Coach Adolph Jerdee

1965  5-4                                                              Coach John Snyder

1966  6-3     Last season as Trinity                      Coach Don LaFond


The gym was built in 1928 when Trinity High School was constructed across the street on US Route 51 from its predecessor, St. Mary. While the figures say it cost $285,000 to build Trinity, $50,000 was used for the gym. Features about the gym were cramped with four rows of bleachers on each side of the floor and balconies of three rows each above them for a total seating capacity of 450, even though 1,200 were there when the Irish beat Bourbonnais St. Viator 18-14 in the inaugural home contest on December 10th, 1928.

The sidelines were only 22 inches away from the front row of the bleachers. There were always stories of how hot it could be in the gym on a cold, winter night during a game, yet the locker rooms were cold as the outdoors. As this writer can attest, it could also be a noisy place once the Saints’ student body made some noise to inspire its’ team and, in turn, intimidate the opposing team.


Around 1991, Central Catholic decided to honor athletes and coaches alike throughout the history of St. Mary’s and Trinity as well as Central Catholic with a Saints’ Hall of Fame. Twenty-two persons have been inducted from Trinity, which are listed below.

Fred Frost (class of 1930), football & basketball standout.

Bill Conroy (class of 1932), three-sport athlete with 12 letters in football, baseball, and basketball; went on to play professional baseball with the Philadelphia A’s and Boston Red Sox. Was MVP of the 1932 Downstate Catholic Basketball Tournament.

Luke Gleason, three-sport athlete and later starred at defunct St. Viator College and Illinois State Normal University (now ISU), was teacher and coach at WeldonFairbury, and Springfield Cathedral.

–Chuck Sweeney (class of 1933), football player that wound up an All-American end at Notre Dame and officiated in the NFL.

Fred Trenkle (class of 1933), basketball player named All-State in the Downstate Catholic League.

(Tiger) Bob Burke (class of 1940), eight varsity letters won in football and basketball.

Jerry (Moon) Mullen (class of 1941), football and basketball player, was named to the all-tournament team of the National Catholic Tournament in 1940 & 1941.

Rev. Richard R. Raney (coach & athletic director), 1941-45.

Dick Lenahan (class of 1944), named All-State basketball player in 1944 by Chicago TribuneChicago Daily News, and Champaign News-Gazette. Also played football.

David Costigan (class of 1949), led baseball team to Intercity Championship in just its second year after the sport was reinstated following a 14-year hiatus. Went on to letter three years at Notre Dame and served as captain. Was head coach at Quincy College and is also a member of that schools’ Hall of Fame.

John (Pat) Bonny (class of 1950), football and basketball standout

J. Foster Rapier (class of 1950), won 16 letters in four sports, standing out as a catcher on the baseball diamond, shotputter in track, all-Intercity selection as a tackle in football, and all-Intercity guard in basketball.

Bob Scott (class of 1951), All-State football selection 1950 (Chicago Daily News), and all-Corn Belt Conference basketball pick in 1950-51; averaged 22 points per game that season.

John Gremer (class of 1953), All-State football pick in 1952, went on to play at University of Illinois and with the Boston Patriots of the American Football League.

Ron DeNardo (class of 1954), All-State footballer in 1953, won 15 varsity letters in football, basketball, track, and baseball; later played at Notre Dame.

Jack Burke (class of 1954), three-sport athlete in football, basketball, and baseball.

Saints’ Hall of Famer Steve Frost
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Three-time all-conference choice & 1958 All-Stater (courtesy of Don Raycraft)

–Steve Frost (class of 1958), won 10 varsity letters in basketball, football, and baseball, was all-Corn Belt in basketball three consecutive seasons, and was an All-Stater in basketball in 1957-58. Along with his father Fred (class of 1930), they are the only father-son combination to be inducted.

John (The Dean) Snyder (coach & athletic director), 1958-67. Guided basketball, baseball, and football teams throughout his time at the school, and was head coach of all three sports during the 1965-66 school year; is a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches’ Association’s Hall of Fame.

Denny Matthews (class of 1960), played basketball and baseball at Trinity as well as at Illinois Wesleyan (where he would also play football), wound up as the play-by-play voice of the Kansas City Royals from 1969 to the current day; is a member of the teams’ Hall of Fame and was inducted into Cooperstown in 2007 as the winner of the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters.

–Jim Wochner (class of 1963), basketball and baseball standout, set Trinity’s school records for single-game scoring (52) and career (1,622) in basketball; was an All-State selection of Chicago Daily News and Chicago American.

Gary Johnson (class of 1967), football and wrestling, was an all-Corn Belt Conference pick in both sports.

Bill Hundman (class of 1968), football, basketball, and baseball; was named MVP of all three sports in Trinity’s final year of existence (his junior year), and rushed for over 2,000 yards in football career along with winning the Golden Helmet Award from radio station WJBC his senior year. The football field at Central Catholic has been named in his honor.


In compiling some of the information you see on this page, our thanks go to Trinity graduate JoAnn McGraw (class of 1962, currently in the Office of Development, Public Relations, and Alumni at Bloomington Central Catholic HS) along with Central Catholic yearbook advisor Jim Reckard for giving us some of their time to peruse and compile information from yearbooks of St. Mary’s and Trinity from 1927 to 1967.


to show the history of St. Mary and Trinity High Schools prior to being renamed Central Catholic. We are welcoming your facts and photos by sending them to us at or by sending them to us via USPS:

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL  60631

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