The Melvin High School boys won IHSA hardware (www.ihsa.org) in basketball and baseball. Football was also offered for a time in the 1920’s, as evidenced by a story found in a 1925 edition of the Bloomington Pantagraph. It is probable the school offered track & field as well. We are looking for more information on great teams and individuals in order to complete the Melvin High athletic history. Please e-mail us if you wish to share this information on the site.
The Melvin High School boys won two District titles in their brief existence, along with several East Central Illinois Conference and Ford County Tournament titles.
The coach of the two District Championship teams was Coach Henry C. Dutler. As with many small schools, “coach” was not the only title earned by Mr. Dutler. He was also the principal, math teacher, P.E. instructor, and coach of ALL sports teams at Melvin High!!
Another resource for season records was created by Ryan Tompkins can be viewed at the web address of
IHSA Tournament scores involving Melvin High School are available on the website titled Illinois High School Postseason Basketball Scores. In years in which Melvin HS won the District Tourney these scores are posted below. For other scores of other years click on the following link:
Melvin HS Basketball Player John Ren – 1922
Submitted by Pamela Sutherland
1927-28 Ford County Tourney Champs Coach unknown
1928-29 Ford Co. Tourney Runners-Up Coach Hugo Lindquist
1934-35 18-15 Paxton District Runner-Up Coach Henry C. Dutler
1st Rd Beat Gilman 32-16
2nd Rd Beat Thawville 22-17
Semi-Final Beat Rantoul 23-22
Title game lost to Paxton 31-23
Kankakee Sectional Tournament Qualifier
advanced to Sectional
Lost to Lou Boudreau – led
Thornton in 1st Round 40-30
Thornton beat Chicago Tilden in title game
1935-36 22-10 East Central Illinois Conf. Champs Coach Henry C. Dutler
1936-37 25- 7 ECIC Champs Coach Henry C. Dutler
1937-38 15-12 ECIC co-champs Coach Henry C. Dutler
1938-39 17- 7 Roberts District Champs Coach Henry C. Dutler
1st Rd Beat Strawn 33-25
Semi-Final Beat Anchor 29-13
Title Game Beat Roberts 20-17
Gibson City Regional Tournament
1st Rd lost to Rantoul 20-26 (O/T)
Paxton beat Saybrook in title game.
1939-40 23- 6 ECIC Champs Coach Henry C. Dutler
Ford County Tourney Champs
1940-41 27- 4 Sibley District Champions Coach Henry C. Dutler
ECIC Tourney Champs
Ford County Tourney Champs
1st Rd Beat Roberts 49-32
Semi-Final Beat Strawn 50-36
Title Game Beat Forrest 46-37
Gibson City Regional Runne-Up
1st Rd Beat Paxton 44-30
Semi-Final Beat Leroy 39-34
Title Game lost to Champaign 44-36
1941-42 28- 5 ECIC Champs Coach Henry C. Dutler
Ford County Tourney Champs
ECIC Tourney Champs
1942-43 17- 8 Coach Henry C. Dutler
1943-44 3- 20 Coach J.D. Baker
1944-45 8- 11 Coach Francis Swearingen
1945-46 19- 7 ECIC Tri-Champs Coach Francis Swearingen
1946-47 22- 4 ECIC Champs Coach Henry C. Dutler
1947-48 12-11 Coach Henry C. Dutler
1948-49 19- 8 Coach Henry C. Dutler
The Melvin High kids of 1941 were a talented bunch. The team of 1940-41 brought home a District title in baseball to add to their already-earned District title in basketball.
1938-39 9- 1 ECIC Champs Coach Henry C. Dutler
1941-42 12- 2 District Champions Coach Henry C. Dutler
Lost to Streator in
Sectional 10 – 2 @ Streator
(Streator eventual state runner-up)
Great Coach and Principal
Henry C. Dutler – Coach Dutler’s record speaks for itself. From 1934-35 through the 1942-43 season, Coach Dutler’s “boys” brought a hard-nosed, competitive attitude to whatever sport they competed in. After a stint as a Captain in WW II, Coach Dutler returned to lead the Melvin kids one more time during the 1946-49 basketball seasons. According to Coach’s daughter, Jayne Dutler Conner (MHS Class of 1948), Coach Henry Dutler served as Principal, coach, math and PE teacher from fall of 1934 until June of 1949.
As with most small schools of its day, Melvin lived for its basketball team. Coach Dutler led the school’s athletic program proudly. Check some of these “quick facts” we have for Coach Henry Dutler:
Basketball: 1934-35 through 1942-43, 1946-49
245 wins – 97 losses overall – .716 winning percentage
78 wins – 15 losses from 1939-40 to 1941-42 – an .838 winning precentage
7 – Consecutive East Central Illinois Conference Championships (8 in all)
6 – 20+ games-won seasons
3 – Ford County Tournament Championships
2 – District Championships
2 – ECIC Tournament Championships
Baseball: Won a District Championship in 1941-42
Won the ECIC Championship in 1938-39
Jayne (Dutler) Conner also added the following information regarding her father:
“My father was not only the Principal and athletic coach at Melvin High, he was also a very innovative man and developed programs outside of athletics that benefited all kids of the school. For example, he started the “Senior Tours,” a Melvin High senior class trip held each year. At that time, the Ford County Fair was held on the High School grounds at the beginning of September. The school had a concession stand (pop, candy, popcorn, etc.) set up on the fairgrounds. Each class worked the stand for one day. The money each class made was put into separate accounts. My father planned a tour, lasting around two weeks for the senior class. He calculated the money needed as it coincided with the money that was saved and then divided the amount left by the number of seniors taking the trip. The students had to pay a small amount to make the trip possible. The trip was made by car of which my dad always drove his car. When needed, other cars were provided and driven by a parent, board member, or member of the community. Breakfast was always juice, milk, donuts or rolls from a bakery or a store. Lunch was sandwiches and fruit at a roadside area.
“The evening meal was either cooked over a fire or eaten at a restaurant where my dad encouraged the students to try the food that was native to each area. Nights were spent in tourist cabins or tourist homes (motels were not common back then). Ever the teacher, the places visited were state capitals, Gettysburg, Richmond, VA, and Williamsburg, VA. Washington, DC was always on the list. Congressman Leslie Arends, a Melvin High School alum himself, helped out quite a bit by getting passes for the kids to see the White House, Treasury Department, Capitol, etc. The trip would then continue on to New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, and Niagara Falls. I don’t think there was a student who went who didn’t remember more history on that trip than they did from the classroom. Keep in mind, these trips started during the Depression and the small amount of money given by the parents was a lot to them.”
Congratulations to Coach and Principal Henry C. Dutler on his incredible successes at Melvin High School!!
*Leslie Arends – (MHS Grad of 1912) – From a small school in which he graduated with eight classmates, Mr. Arends continued his education and eventually entered the world of politics, becoming a U.S. Congressman in 1934. He was so well-thought of by his peers that he served as the House Republican Party Whip from 1943-74. Upon his retirement from politics, then-President Gerald Ford made a trip to Melvin in 1974 to honor the retired Congressman.
Need Your In-Put
As you can see, there are a lot of items missing from the Melvin High School page. Please forward the information to us so we can document it to share with others. The many successes attained at MHS should be honored. You can e-mail photos and information to us at email@example.com or write to us via real meal at:
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Illinois 60631
Melvin Grade School