Kankakee Eastridge High School “Raiders”

Kankakee Eastridge High School
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Now Kankakee Junior High School (courtesy: http://www.k111.k12.il.us/kjhs)

The History of Kankakee Eastridge High School

Kankakee (population 27,491) is located in northeastern Illinois in central Kankakee County. It is the county seat of Kankakee County as well. The town was established in the mid-1800’s and prospered when the Illinois Central Railroad laid tracks through the area. By the year 1900, Kankakee had a population of 13,500, quite large for that time period. Kankakee is approximately 15 miles west of the Indiana state border. The following roadways now lead to and from this busy metropolis: Interstate Highway 57, U.S. Route 45, Illinois Routes 17, 50, 102, 113, and 115. The Kankakee River flows through the middle of town and is joined at some point by the following creeks that also flow through Kankakee: Gar Creek, Soldier Creek, and Baker Creek. Three railroads also lay tracks which pass through town: The Illinois Central Gulf, the KBSR, and the CR.

Kankakee students were served by just one high school, Kankakee High School, for over six decades. An ever-increasing population and constantly growing community boundries eventually forced the residents to form a new strategy for educating their children. The strategy was to build two newer high school buildings in town. The buildings would divide the high school students into two venues. Thus, in 1966, Kankakee Eastridge and Kankakee Westview were born.

Kankakee Eastridge served high school students in town for 17 years. The late 1970’s and early 1980’s brought with them decreasing enrollment and finanacial concerns. In 1983, it was determined that there was no longer a need for two high schools in Kankakee. Therefore, the decision was made to revert back to one high school. Kankakee Eastridge and Kankakee Westview were closed and Kankakee High School was re-established.

The Kankakee Eastridge High School high school building is still in use as a school in the Kankakee School District. It is the home of the Kankakee Junior High School.

Kankakee Eastridge High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                                  1966

Year closed:                                   1983

Reverted to:                                    Kankakee Senior High School

Eastridge HS team nickname:          the “Raiders”

Eastridge HS team colors:               Orange, Navy Blue, & White

Eastridge HS Fight Song:                “Hail to the Orange, White, and Blue”

                                                     Written by Lloyd Higgerson, KEHS band director

Hail to the orange, white, and blue of Eastridge High

                      We love our school, fair play’s the rule

                      But with us it is due or die

                      We never falter or fail in our duty

                      Raise your banners high

                      And we will fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight

                      Because it’s all for old Eastridge High


 Go Raiders, Fight, Fight, Fight

                      Go Raiders, Fight, Fight, Fight

Repeat the verse

(When the song ended the student body shouted);


                      Raiders, Raiders are the Best!

Thank you to John Saylor for providing the fight song of Kanakee Eastridge!!


The Kankakee Eastridge High School Raiders and Lady Raiders were successful on many fronts in IHSA competition. Several sports saw the athletic teams bring home hardware from IHSA tournament competition. Those sports mentioned on the IHSA website (www.ihsa.org) are listed below. If you have any further information on these or other sports offered at KEHS, please contact us at eganann@sbcglobal.net.

Eastridge and Westview were pretty competitive rivals in any sport. This bit of information was shared with us by an area fan:

“Kankakee Westview had a large “W” on top of the school which lit up when Westview won that night in sports. One autumn night, they beat Eastridge and when they got to school the following Monday, the “W” was laying in pieces on the ground. About 2 weeks later, Eastridge won a game. Eastridge had a big “E” on top of their school that lit up when they won in sports. When they got back to school that Monday, the “E” was turned to where it looked like the letter “W”.”

Another great tradition at KEHS was enjoyed during home football games.  According to our friend “Aaron:” “The Eastridge Raiders were unique as like Florida State University…the Raiders of Eastridge had an Indian on horseback ride into the end zone after each Eastridge touchdown.” Aaron even remembers the Indian throwing a flaming arrow into the ground during this celebration!!

Boys Baseball

The boys baseball team at Kankakee Eastridge HS made two trips to the State Finals and won a total of four Regional titles and two Sectional titles. Team records are currently only available for the “State Qualifying” teams.

1968-69            Regional Champions

1970-71   19- 7  Regional Champions               Coach Bill Enochs 

                         Sectional Champions

                          Elite 8 Qualifier

                          Lost to Rockford West 1-0 (11 innings)

1971-72   23- 7  Regional Champions               Coach Bill Enochs

                         Sectional Champions

                          Elite 8 Qualifier

                          Beat Chicago Lane Tech  1-0

                            Final Four Qualifier

                             Lost to Alton Sr.  5-4 (Alton finished 2nd)

1975-76             Regional Champions

Boys Basketball

The Eastridge Raiders made two appearances in the IHSA Sweet 16 during the one-class system in Illinois. Three Regional titles, two Sectional titles, and one District title hi-lighted the Raider hardwood court success.

1966-67                                                        Coach Mick Pahl

1967-68                                                        Coach Art Pahl

1968-69  17-  8                                             Coach Joe Gubbins

1969-70                                                        Coach Joe Gubbins
1970-71  17-10   District Champions         Coach Joe Gubbins

1971-72  24-  5   IHSA Tourney Sweet 16  Coach Joe Gubbins

                          Regional Champions

                           Sectional Champions

                            Super-Sectional Finalist

                            Lost to Quincy Sr. 76-70 (Quincy finished second)

1972-76                                                         Coach Joe Gubbins

1976-77  24-  6   IHSA Tourney Sweet 16   Coach Larry Hauser

                         Regional Champions

                          Sectional Champions

                           Super-Sectional Finalist

                           Lost to Springfield Lanphier  64-47 (Lanphier finished second)

1977-78  15-11                                              Coach Larry Hauser

1978-79  19 – 7                                              Coach Larry Hauser

1979-80  26 – 3   Regional Champions       Coach Larry Hauser

1980-81  12-12                                              Coach Larry Hauser

1981-82                                                         Coach Ron Jones

1982-83  13-11    School’s Last Season        Coach Ron Jones

Girls Basketball

The Lady Raiders had some success of their own. A Regional title was earned in the 1982-83 season. We are seeking the team record of this and other great Eastridge Lady Raider basketball teams…as well as the coach’s names.

1978-79                                                         Coach Barbara Wray

1982-83                  Regional Champions

Boys Football

The Raiders of the grid iron had some nice season records and made an appearance in the IHSA State Football Playoffs. Unfortunately the IHSA website (www.ihsa.org) only covers nine seasons and only three have winning records. The only coach listed is Craig Beverlin, who coached the playoff team of 1980-81. More records were recently researched and provided by Tom Sikorski of “Great Conferences” fame.

1966  4-5   First team                             Coach J.R. Black

                    First win in school history was 35-7 over Herscher

1968  4-3-2                                            Coach Bill Glazier

1969  7-2                                               Coach Bill Glazier

1970  6-2-1                                            Coach Bill Glazier

1971  6-3                                               Coach Bill Glazier

1972  6-3                                               Coach Bill Glazier

1974  2-7                                               Coach Bill Glazier

1976  5-4  2nd place (tie) SICA South   Coach Brad Pancoast

1979  6-3  3rd place SICA South           Coach Craig Beverlin

1980  7-3  IHSA Class 4A Playoff Qualifier    Coach Craig Beverlin

               Sweet 16 Finalist

               Lost to Lisle Benet Academy 27-8

1982  4-5  Last team                                          Coach Craig Beverlin

Last win in school history was 8-0 over Crete-Monee.

Boys Golf

One male linkster placed in the top three in the individual standings in IHSA match play. His great accomplishment is listed below.

1970       Dan Decker      3RD Place in AA State Playoffs!

Boys Swimming

The Raiders were comfortable off of land in the water as well. Three individuals brought home a total of 8 medals from the IHSA State Swim Meet while as a team the Raiders earned three District titles and a top-ten finish!!

1975-76   Individual Medalist

                  Rusty Walker      200 Free       2ND Place

                                               500 Free       5TH Place  

1976-77   Team Earned a SEVENTH Place Finish at IHSA Class AA Finals

                  Team Won the District Championship

                   Individual Medalists

Rusty Walker     200 Free      2ND Place 

                                                100 Free      3RD Place                               

                    John Henry         100 Fly       5TH Place

                    Rick Walker        500 Free     5TH Place

1977-78    Individual Medalist

Rick Walker       200 IM          3RD Place

                                               500 Free       4TH Place

Girls Swimming

The girls swim team saw one athlete win two medals. This is the only information we currently have regarding the Lady Raider swim team.

1979      Laurie Pederson     100 Free       3RD Place
50 Free       3RD Place 

Boys Tennis

The boys tennis team of Kankakee Eastridge won a total of three District titles.  All were won in the 1970’s.

1973         District Champions
1974         District Champions
1979         District Champions

Girls Tennis

In spite of having no individual medalist in the school’s history, Kankakee Eastridge’s girls tennis team still was able to garner three District titles and TWO TOP-TEN Finishes in State Meet Competition!!

1972         Team Finished SEVENTH in STATE MEET Competition
1973          District Champions
1974          Team Finished SEVENTH in STATE MEET Competition

                         District Champions
1975          District Champions

Boys Track & Field

One relay team and one individual athlete earned medals at the IHSA State Class AA Track Meet.

1973         Estus Hood        120 Yard High Hurdles     6TH Place

                                             180 Yard Hurdles              6TH Place

1980         Relay Team       4 X 400 Meter Relay           2ND Place

                                            4 X 200 Meter Relay           4TH Place

Girls Track & Field

We know there was a Lady Raider thinclad team, however, we currently have no information available on their successes attained.

Boys Wrestling

The grapplers of Eastricge High won a District title and had two individuals earn medals in State Meet Competition!!  Curtis Hines was the coach of the Eastridge Wrestling Program from 1969-1974 and coached the team to its first wrestling team victory in school history.  He also coached the team to the District championship in 1973.

1969-72                                                                          Coach Curtis Hines

1972-73            Team Crowned District Champions       Coach Curtis Hines

1973-74                                                                          Coach Curtis Hines

1975-76            Jeff Gindy     185 Lbs.      3RD Place

1982-83            Jim Cooper   126 Lbs.      6TH Place


And here’s something else….the Raiders even had a hockey team! EHS grad Tim Wegner told Illinois High School Glory Days in February 2012: “we had a great hockey team in 1974 & 75. 1ST YEAR TEAM which I was GOALTENDER our record was 26-1 & 1. Not bad for a brand new team.” If anyone has any more information about this sport, please contact us.

The English Department

The academic department joined the State Competition Trophy parade too. The Drama Team of 1975-76 won a District title!!

1975-76      Drama Team     District Champions

Notable Alumni

*Mike Glazier (Class of 1971) – great basketball player and football quarterback who continued his football career at Indiana University as a quarterback. Mr. Glazier went on to make his mark as an accomplished sports attorney. To read more about Mr. Glazier check out a newspaper article located at the following web address:  http://www.daily-journal.com/news/local/eastridge-grad-making-a-mark-in-ncaa/article_6bd1e19d-4ed0-51e4-874d-7cb2d01eda95.html

*Gregory Kunde (Class of 1972) – Accomplished and well known tenor with world-wide acclaim. From his biography:

“Regarded as one of the most accomplished singers on the international opera stage today, the American tenor Gregory Kunde appears regularly at the most prestigious opera houses around the world, working with conductors and orchestras of the highest caliber. Kenge’s achievements have been recognized with a number of awards, most recently ‘Male Singer of the Year’ at the 2016 International Opera Awards.”

*Jeff Scott (Class of 1972) –  another great athlete who played baseball and basketball in the early 70s. Jeff played baseball in the minor leagues for many years. From his biography:

“Jeff Scott has been a minor league player, coach and manager as well as a scouting director. Scott was taken by the Texas Rangers in the third round of the 1972 amateur draft, 52nd overall, two picks after Dennis Eckersley and one before Gary Carter. He started strong with the Geneva Senators that summer, going 6-7 with a 2.25 ERA and hitting .300. He struck out 89 and walked 19 in 96 innings. He was 9th in the New York-Pennsylvania League in whiffs, fifth in ERA and tied for third in losses.”

*Gary Moore (Class of 1972) –  noted author of the book “Playing With The Enemy” (http://playingwiththeenemy.com/AI.htm)

Estus Hood
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courtesy of Illinois State University

*Estus Hood (Class of 1973) – probably the most notable athlete from Eastridge. He played football in the early seventies. Estus went on to star at Illinois State University and played several years for the Green Bay Packers. Hood is only one of three ISU football players that has had his jersey number (#8) retired.



*C. Michael Gibson (Class of 1978) – Dr. C. Michael Gibson, M.D serves as Chief of Clinical Research for Division of Cardiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Gibson has been Scientific and Clinical Advisors Board at Verseon Corporation since 2019. He is an interventional cardiologist and chief of clinical research in the division of cardiology at Harvard s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He serves as a Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. Mr. Gibson is also an accomplished and noted artist.



From Leola  (Class of 1979):

“I attended Eastridge High School 1975-1979. My senior year I was on the girls basketball team. Our first team. The coach was Barbara Wray. My position was Forward. I have been trying to locate a yearbook for 1979. Is anyone able to assist me with that. Please email me with suggestions or if you need more information. Thanks.”

Need Your Help

We are hopeful an area “buff” will fill in the open areas regarding the history and accomplishments of Kankakee Eastridge High School. If you have any information you can offer please complete a Guest Commentary Form. We would really like to share a photo of the old school building and tell more about the students of the Eastridge High School’s historic past. You can e-mail your photos to us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net or write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago,  Il.   60631

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