The towns of Melvin (population 465) and Sibley (population 329) are located in the north and northwestern portion of Ford County. Both towns are located approximately 35 – 40 miles east and a little north of Bloomington. You can read more about the history of each town and its individual high school on this site as both have their own pages.
The townspeople of Melvin and Sibley decided to consolidate their educational efforts in the late 1940’s. In 1949, the Melvin-Sibley School district was established. Melvin-Sibley High School was located in Melvin. The school served the two communties and the surrounding farmland for 44 years. It was in the early 1990’s that Melvin-Sibley High School began consolidation talks with nearby Gibson City High School. In 1993, the consolidation talks were finalized and Gibson City Melvin-Sibley High School was established.
The Melvin-Sibley High School building served as a middle school for the GCMS school district from 1993 until 2002. A new middle school was built on the north end of Gibson City making the Melvin-Sibley building obsolete. The Melvin-Sibley High School building was demolished in 2003 and the land given to the town of Melvin. Melvin made a park out of the land and constructed a community center making good use of the property. .
Melvin-Sibley High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1949
Year closed: 1993
Size of Class of ’93: 11 students
School building razed: 2003
School nickname: the “Rams”
School colors: Orange & Black
School Fight Song: “Cheer Mel-Sib High”
Submitted by JEAN STOUT HOOPER
Music and lyrics by PAUL E. STOUT & PATRICIA GASTOFF
Cheer Mel-Sib High,
Mel-Sib High we’re all for you.
Black and Orange are our colors
Charge on to win,
Victory and on to fame
Rams we will back you to
Win this game! YEA!
The Melvin-Sibley High School Rams had many successful seasons during their existence. Boys’ basketball and track saw some IHSA (www.ihsa.org) hardware won. The baseball and girl’s athletic program (volleyball, basketball, and track) had some real nice seasons though no IHSA hardware was earned.
The Rams were members of the Vermillion Valley Conference (VVC) and won numerous conference titles in different athletic endeavors. The River Valley Conference replaced the V.V.C. sometime in the 1980s’. The best seasons as far as we could research are listed below.
The Melvin-Sibley Rams won SIX DIstrict titles and one Regional title. They also had some great seasons where conference championships were won. For a season by seasson account of the Melvin-Sibley High School program check out the following web addresses provided by Coach Ryan Tompkins:
1952-53 17- 8 District Champions Coach Bob Albrecht
1953-54 9- 18 Coach Bob Albrecht
**Ryan Tompkins tells us the head coach from 1952-54, Bob Albrecht, is the father of Ted Albrecht who was a 1976 All-American Tackle for the University of California and went on to play 5 seasons from 1977-81 with the Chicago Bears where he started 75 games at tackle. He currently is an announcer for Northwestern football.”
1954-55 10-12 Coach Dale Winter
1955-56 6- 15 Coach Dale Winter
1956-57 7- 16 Coach Roger Ballance
1957-58 8- 16 Coach Roger Ballance
1958-59 13- 8 Coach Leslie Shadel
1959-60 15- 9 Coach Leslie Shadel
1960-61 12- 13 Coach Charles Thacker
1961-62 26- 4 District Champions Coach Charles Thacker
V.V. Conf. Champs
1962-63 19- 8 District Champions Coach Charles Thacker
1963-64 18- 8 Coach Glen Porter
1964-65 14- 10 Coach Glen Porter
1965-66 20- 7 District Champions Coach Charles Stone
V.V. Conf. Champs
M-SHS B-ball 1966-67
Submitted by Dale Winter
1966-67 12- 12 Coach Charles Stone
1967-68 24- 3 District Champions Coach Charles Stone
V.V. Conf. Co-Champs
1968-69 23- 3V.V. Conf. ChampsCoach Charles Stone
1969-70 21 – 7 District Champions Coach Charles Stone
V.V. Conf. Co-Champs
1970-71 7- 17 Coach Norm Schall
1971-72 11- 15 Coach Norm Schall
1972-73 15- 11 Coach Norm Schall
1973-74 4- 19 Coach Norm Schall
1974-75 5- 19 Coach Norm Schall
1975-76 16- 8 Coach John Moake
1976-77 8- 16 Coach John Moake
1977-78 7- 17 Coach John Moake
1978-79 5- 19 Coach Claxton Cantrell
1979-80 5- 18 Coach Claxton Cantrell
1980-81 12- 11 Coach John Overley
1981-82 11- 12 Coach John Overley
1982-83 18-10 Regional Champions Coach John Overley
V.V. Conf. Champs
1983-84 10- 13 Coach John Overley
1984-85 6- 18 Coach John Overley
1985-86 11- 13 Coach John Overley
1986-87 7- 16 Coach John Overley\
1987-88 1- 20 Coach John Overley
1988-89 3- 20 Coach John Overley
1989-90 8- 13 Coach John Overley
1990-91 10- 12 Coach John Overley
1991-92 6- 17 Coach John Overley
1992-93 4- 22 (last season) Coach John Overley
The following history of boys basketball was provided by Coach Ryan Tompkins:
HISTORY OF MELVIN-SIBLEY BASKETBALL:
“In the fall of 1949 newly hired basketball coach Bill Coddington tossed out the ball for the first practice in Mel-Sib basketball history. Coddington takes over at the start of the consolidation after a decision was made by the school board to start with a new coach and not retaining either coach from Sibley or Melvin, including the legendary Henry Dutlerwho collected 208 wins, 8 conference titles, and 2 district championships over his 10 seasons at the helm for the Melvin Tigers.Coddington would lead the first team to a respectable record of 15-10 and begin a history for the Rams that included over 500 wins, 6 district titles, 4 conference championships, and 5 seasons of 20 wins or more.
Notable figures over the course of this history are coaches Charles Stone and John Overley, as well as players Kent Arends, Steve Mueller, and Jim Freehill.Stone coached for 5 seasons from 1965-1970 racking up a record of 100-32 for a winning percentage of 74.8% which sits atop that category in Mel-Sib coaching history. He had 4 seasons of 20+ wins including a 68-13 record over his last 3 seasons. His three conference titles (66’ 68’ 70’) leads all coaches as does his three district championships (66’ 68’ 70’). Finally, the 29 consecutive home victories over his last four seasons demonstrates the dominance his teams had at Sibley Gymnasium. John Overley holds the longest tenure as head coach with 13 seasons from 1980 to 1993 and was the last coach for the Rams. His 107 wins tops the all-time list and he also led the 1982-83 Rams to arguably the greatest moment in Rams sports history when his cagers defeated the Gibson City Greyhounds at Paxton in the Regional Championship by a score of 61-54 for the only Regional title in school history. The following week the Rams would lose to the Hoopeston Cornjerkers in Sectional play at Watseka. Big Ten basketball coach Thad Matta was on that Hoopeston team.
Kent Arends scored over 1,200 points in his three varsity seasons from 1967-1970. His teams never lost a game on their home court, winning 2 regular season conference championships, 2 conference tourney championships, 2 district titles, and 2 holiday tourneys while compiling a record of 68-13 and winning over 20 games each season. His 24.0 scoring average his senior year is number one all-time and he is the only player to go on and play hoops at Illinois State University from Melvin-Sibley. Kent scored double figures his final 38 games as a Ram, had 20 games of over 20+ including 28 to go with his 16 boards in the district championship victory his senior year vs. Mel-Sib rival Roberts-Thawville. His career high of 35 came against Lexington during the Fairbury-Cropsey Holiday Tourney in 1969.
Steve Mueller’s (Class of 83’) and Jim Freehill’s (Class of 84’) careers overlapped during the final run of sustained success for Melvin-Sibley. Steve’s 1,382 career points is tops all-time while Jim’s 1,123 ranks 3rd. Both were 3 year starters and key members of the 1983 Regional Championship team with Steve leading the team in scoring by averaging 16.8 ppg and Jim ranking 2nd with a 14.9 clip. Steve’s 21.6 scoring average his junior year is the 3rd highest for a season, while Jim’s 19.7 average his senior year ranks in the top ten all-time.
The most dominant time period for the Rams came during the 1960s where they posted a record of 184-77 (70.5% winning percentage) averaging 18.4 wins from the 1959-60 season thru the 1968-69 season and in the process winning four conference titles and three district championships while not losing the final 23 contests at home during the decade. Charles Stone won 80 of those games as head coach over his 4 seasons during the Sixties collecting three of the four 20+ win seasons in the decade while winning two conference titles during the seasons of 1965-66 and 1967-68, and district titles in 66’ and 69’. Stone’s most memorable seasons were from 1967-1969 were his teams posted a combined record of 47-6. Charles Thacker also had a memorable tenure as head coach for the Rams from 1960-1963 were his teams won a combined 57 games. Thacker’s teams won District Championships in 1962 and 1963 and a conference title during the 1961-62 season. During that very season of 1961-62, Thacker’s team had a record of 26-4 which ranks as the highest win total for a season in school history. Notable individual efforts over the decade include Charles Kemmer’s 21.8 scoring average (2nd highest in school history) during the 61-62 season garnering him All-Area and All-State recognition and Dean Brucker’s senior season (1967-68) where he averaged 21.3 points and 10.3 rebounds. Both individuals hold the single game scoring record of 40 points, Kemmer’s coming against the Cullom Ramblers in 1967 and Brucker’s in the 1968 Vermillion Valley Conference Tourney Championship game, an overtime victory for the Rams.
SEASON BY SEASON BREAKDOWN OF THE 1960s:
YEAR RECORD: COACH:
1959-1960 16-9 Shadel
1960-1961 12-13 Thacker
1961-1962 26-4 Thacker
1962-1963 19-8 Thacker
1963-1964 18-8 Porter
1964-1965 14-10 Porter
1965-1966 20-7 Stone
1966-1967 12-12 Stone
1967-1968 24-3 Stone
1968-1969 23-3 Stone
The Rams basketball program competed in various tournaments and conferences over its history. Melvin-Sibley competed in the Vermillion Conference starting in 1955(?) and concluding in 1989 when the conference folded. Starting in 1989 the Rams joined the Iroquois Conference and remained in the league until the school closed. Various tournaments included the Christmas time tournaments in Monticello, Fairbury, and the Iroquois Holiday Tourney and later the Rams would compete in the Iroquois County Tourney. However, the most prized tourney during Melvin-Sibley’s b-ball history was that of the Vermillion Conference held during the 2nd half of the season annually.
The beginning of a tradition in central Illinois basketball can be traced back to Melvin-Sibley when head Coach Norm Schall approached his superintendent in 1972 with the proposition of hosting a Thanksgiving tournament. The annual Melvin-Sibley Turkey Tourney was born in November of 72’ and is one of the original of its kind in the area. The Donovan Wildcats won the first tourney and in 1973 the Rams collected their first of 2 tourney titles, the other coming in 1990. The tourney lives on approaching its 37th year. The tournament merged with that of Gibson City’s in 1993 with the consolidation of the schools. GCHS began their tourney in 1976.
The communities of Melvin-Sibley and Gibson City voted on the consolidation of the two districts in the spring on 1992 with the 1992-1993 school year marking the final of both schools. In that final season, Coach John Overley started the “Final Chapter” campaign selling t-shirts, mugs, and other memorabilia to the Ram faithful. Forty-four years of Melvin-Sibley schools came to a close, but not before hitting a milestone for their athletic programs when in December of 1992 at Sibley gymnasium the host Rams defeated the Wapella Wildcats marking the 500th win for boys basketball at Melvin-Sibley. What was started by Bill Coddington and finished by John Overley was an era of excellence.”
The Ram boy’s track team had two individuals win IHSA medals at the State Class ‘A’ Track Meet.
1978-79 Dave Arnold 330 Yard Hurdles 2ND Place
Long Jump 6TH Place
1979-80 Mark Brucker 200 Meter Dash 7TH Place
The Melvin-Sibley Rams could run the bases as well. Here are some of the better seasons that we were able to research.
1953-54 Coach Bob Albecht
1954-55 Coach Dale Winter
1955-56 Coach Dale Winter
1967(Fall) 9 – 1 Coach Charles Stone
1968(Fall) 9 – 3 – 1 Coach Charles Stone
1969(Spring)7 – 4 Coach Charles Stone
1973(Fall) 8 – 1
1974 VVC Champs
1976 VVC Champs
The Lady Ram netters had some real successful seasons as well.
1983-84 VVC Champs Coach Judy Weber
1987-88 VVC Champs Coach Judy Weber
(undefeated in conf. play)
The girls competed in basketball, too. The team of 1985-86 was their most successful.
1985-86 14 – 7 Coach Judy Weber
From Ryan Tompkins:
MELVIN-SIBLEY CLASS OF 1983
HIGH SCHOOL ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
13 Varsity Letters (Basketball, Baseball, Golf, Track and Field) SCHOOL RECORD
BASEBALL ACCOMPLISHMENTS (3 Letters):
Team MVP and Batting Award Champion – 1982
Career High 14 strikeouts pitching
GOLF ACCOMPLISHMENTS (3 Letters):
2 Time Team MVP – 1982, 1983
7th Place in State – 1981
TRACK ACCOMPLISHMENTS (4 Letters):
Vermillion Valley Conference Champion Shot Put, 3200 Relay – 1983
BASKETBALL ACCOMPLISHMENTS (3 Letters):
1,382 Career Points – 1st All-Time for Mel-Sib
3-year starter – averaged 17.2 as soph, 21.6 as junior, 16.8 as senior
21.6 ppg in 1981-82 – 3rd Highest for Mel-Sib
Unanimous 1st Team All-VVC (1981-82, 1982-83)
Member of 1983 Regional Championship Team – only one for Mel-Sib
Team MVP as Junior and Senior Years
Played Basketball at Eureka College – 2 years
Played Football at Eureka College – Letterwinner
INDUCTED INTO GCMS HS HALL OF FAME IN 2008!!
Special Thank You
Thank you to Rona (Bielfeldt) Eyer (Class of 1980) who provided us with a copy of the booklet whcih included much of the information we used for the Melvin, Sibley, and Melvin-Sibley pages.
Also to Gibson City – Melvin-Sibley High School Coach Ryan Tompkins for his excellent research into the basketball and sports program at Melvin Sibley High School.
Seeking Your Assistance
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