|Buckley High School|
The History of Buckley High School
Buckley (population 593) is located in eastern Illinois about 35 miles north-northeast of Champaign. This places Buckley in the southwestern area of Iroquois County. U.S. Route 45 is the main roadway to and from Buckley. Interstate Highway 57 runs just to the west of town and has exit ramps to Buckley. There is a small lake on the southwest side of town and the Spring Creek flows by the east side of town. The Illinois Central Gulf Railroad also travels through Buckley.
The history of Buckley and its school system is needed. It is probable that Buckley began its high school in the late 1800’s. Buckley High School served the children of Buckley for over four decades on a solo basis, and moved into an modern building in 1936. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, consolidation talks with nearby Loda were begun. In 1952, the two towns agreed to pool there resources and created the Buckley-Loda School District. The high school was located in Buckley.
The Buckley-Loda School District continued to serve the two towns well until its closure in 1990 with Paxton. The high school aged students of Buckley now attend school in Paxton as part of the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District. The former Buckley-Loda High School building is now utilized as the Buckley Christ Lutheran High School building.
Buckley High School Quick Facts
Year opened: late 1800’s
Modern building opened: 1936
Year consolidated with Loda: 1952
School building today: Christ Lutheran High School
Buckley HS nickname: the “Dutch Masters”
School colors: Orange & Blue
School Fight Song: “We’re Loyal to You Buckley High”
We’re loyal to you Buckley High.
We’re orange and blue, Buckley High.
We’ll back you to stand
‘Gainst the best in the land
For we know you have sand, Buckley High.
So crack out the ball, Buckley High.
We’re backing you all, Buckley High.
Our team is our fame protector:
On! Boys for we expect a
Victory from you Buckley High!
The Budkley High School kids had some incredible seasons in boys’ basketball. The baseball program also excelled. Both of these sports are listed on the IHSA website (www.ihsa.org). As a member of the East Central Illinois Conference, it is probable that Buckley also competed in track and possibly football. If anyone knows more about these two sports and others that were offered at Buckley High, we would certainly appreciate hearing from them.
The boys of Buckley could play some basketball!! A total of four District Championships and three Regional Championships were won during the school’s solo existence. Think about that, three Regional Championships which placed Buckley in the top 64 teams in the old one-class system!
Coaches Lloyd Ault and Corliss Norton had the most success as far as has been researched. The mid and late-1940’s as well as 1950-51 were obviously the great days of Buckley High School basketball. During one four-year stretch (1947-48 to 1950-51), the teams accumulated an overall won-loss record of 109-17!! As you can see, most of the team records are not currently available.
1919-20 8- 1 Coach Carley
1927-28 Coach L.C. Faust
1928-29 Coach George Hutchins
1929-30 Coach George Hutchins
1930-31 Coach George Hutchins
1931-32 Coach George Hutchins
1932-33 Coach George Hutchins
1933-34 Coach Earl Gehle
1934-35 Coach Earl Gehle
1935-36 Coach Earl Gehle
1936-37 Coach Earl Gehle
1937-38 Coach Earl Gehle
1938-39 Coach Earl Gehle
1939-40 Coach Earl Gehle
1941-42 Coach Russell Heller
1943-44 District Champions Coach Lloyd Ault
Iroquois County Tourney Champs
1946-47 17-15 Coach Leo Berns
1947-48 23- 6 Nice record! Coach Corliss Norton
ECIC Conference Champions
ECIC Tourney Champions
Iroquois County Tourney Runner-Ups
1949-50 26- 4 District Champions Coach Corliss Norton
Iroquois County Tourney Champs
In 2006, Buckley celebrated its sesquicentennial and published a book that looked back on the community’s 150 years. The following passage was submitted to us by Carol Krumwiede, who served on the committee along with Louis Krumwiede and Ruth Janssen Jones.
“Not a lot is written about sports in the early years of Buckley, but reference was made to the early 1900’s as part of the era of great Buckley baseball teams and the BCHS team was seldom beaten. Basketball was held in the Town Hall or away from home, as the school did not have a gymnasium. Many of the visiting teams found themselves on top of a hot furnace that was located in one corner of the playing floor in the Town Hall.
The following was written about the 1919-20-basketball team in the school’s 1920 yearbook called Prototype. The basketball team had a successful year, winning eight out of a possible nine. Considering the fact that the team had no place to practice, it made a wonderful display of ability against schools that had gymnasiums in which they might practice several hours each day. The honor of making a winning team with only about one hour’s workout per week goes to Prof. Carley. The result of his work with the co-operation of our bunch of willing boys would have known no defeat had they possessed half the facilities for developing a team that other schools have.
In 1936, everything changed when a new school complete with a gymnasium was built. Records are sketchy during those early years, but Buckley did participate in the Iroquois County Basketball Tournament that was first held in 1926 and continued to compete until 1990 when Buckley-Loda became a part of Paxton-Buckley-Loda. Highlights from those years are numerous. It is interesting to note that in 1949, the Daily Times of Watseka established the sportsmanship award and Buckley won it.
Buckley, who called themselves the Dutch Masters, won their first county championship in 1945. A team that compiled a 28-6 overall record went on the win a Regional Championship, but eventually lost to Danville in the Sectional. This same group of young men had an outstanding baseball team and did very well behind the outstanding pitching of Virgil Scheiwe.
Although Buckley did not win the 1949 county tournament, they finished in second place; the basketball team had another outstanding year finishing with a 31-3 record. They won the East Central IL Conference (ECIC) conference title, ECIC tournament title, Paxton Holiday tournament, and were regional champions. Their run ended with a loss in the Sectional tournament. They were often referred to as “Little Buckley” perhaps because it’s population was only 457 and perhaps because the starting lineup averaged only 5 foot 8 inches and had one regular player who stood only 5 foot 1 inch tall.
During four seasons (1947-1951) Buckley High School compiled an amazing record of 109-17 under the leadership of their soft-spoken coach Corliss Norton.
The following comments were made about the Buckley team, which were the 1951 county champs.
When your tallest varsity player stretches all of 5-foot-eleven, your team better stand out. Antagonized by coach Corliss Norton and controlled by the Charles Ehresman/Bill Weisenbarn dribbling duo, the third-seeded Buckley Dutch Masters dashed the title hopes of No. 1-seeded Sheldon, No.2 Watseka, and the new kid on the block, Central. The “Mighty Mites” stood tall.
The 1951 team went on to capture a regional championship and played in the sectional once again losing to a Danville team. They finished the year with a record of 29-4 after having a record of 26-4 the previous year.
Another example of Buckley basketball is shown in the following excerpts from a newspaper article in 1952.
Buckley Routs Cissna Park By 12-9
The Buckley Dutch Masters stalled their way to the semifinals of the Iroquois country tournament by beating Cissna Park here Thursday night 12-9. Buckley and Gilman will play at 6:30 on Friday. Coach Art Blecke did not comment on the possibility of his Buckley team again using slow down tactics.
There were only 4 baskets scored in the Buckley-Cissna Park game. Buckley took only four shots, Bill Weisenbarn missed a shot in the first quarter but hit his second attempt near the end of the first half. He also hit another basket on his third shot. The only other Buckley field goal try was by John Johnston.
In comparison Cissna Park fired away at the basket at a terrific rate. The losers scored only two baskets both by Kregel.
Cissna Park led at the quarter 3-0. It was 4-4 at the half and 6-6 at the end of three quarters of play.
Baseball records were sketchy but it is known they had their share of baseball victories during that era also.”
The Buckley High School boys werea talented lot. Check out the baseball teams of the early 1940’s. Five straight District Championships from 1940-41 through 1944-45!! Unfortunately, the team records and coaches names of these and other Buckley High baseball teams are not available.
1940-41 District Champions
1943-44 District Champions
Seeking Further Information
We are seeking more information on the successes and achievements attained by Buckley High School students, faculty, and residents. You can e-mail information to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to us at:
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, IL 60631