|Peoria Spalding Basketball Team – 1923-24
|National Catholic High School Champions
Fighting Irish Athletics
Spalding Institute had many seasons of great success in many different sports. The most successful of which was Boys’ Basketball. The Fighting Irish won three State Tournament trophies. They competed in the Mid-State Conference, which ranged from 6-10 teams at different points. They also had an area-wide weightlifting program. Their most successful seasons in these respective sports are listed below:
1923-24 National Catholic HS Champs
1949-50 23 – 5 Elite Eight Coach John J. Goonen
1954-55 22 – 6 Elite Eight Coach Don Sullivan
1955-56 N.R.A. Regional Champs Coach James Smarjesse (in his first year)
1957-1958 2nd Place- Diocesan Tourney
1957-58 28 – 6 3rd Place – State Coach James Smarjesse
and the students chanted “Spalding to State in ’58”
1963-64 Team finished 3rd in Macomb Western
Holiday Tourney. Bob Swirgis named
MVP of the tournament!
1968-69 28 – 4 2nd Place – State Coach Ron Patterson
(lost to Proviso East in the championship game 58 – 51)
1969-70 24 – 10 4th Place – State Coach Ron Patterson
According to the student newspaper “The Institute,” in March 1958, the 23-5 regular season record for the Fighting Irish was the best since team won the National Catholic Championship in 1924. Indeed, since that 1924 team played fewer games, the 1958 record could be called “the best record in the history of Spalding.”
For many years, the Spalding Gymnasium hosted the Diocese of Peoria’s High School Basketball tournament. Closed High Schools which were involved at various times include Odell St. Paul, Rock Island St. Joseph, Galesburg Corpus Christi, Bloomington Holy Trinity and Moline St. Mary. Spalding took 2nd Place in the Diocesan Tourney in 1958, losing to Rock Island Alleman 59-51.
Notable Roundball Athlete
Art Slik – Helped lead the Cyclones on the court during the early 1940s, eventually garnering All-State honorable mention honors in 1941-42.
|Spalding Baseball Team
1944-45 R.N.A. District Champs
1945-46 R.N.A. District Champs
1946-47 19 – 3 2nd Place – State
Coach: Father Sylvester
1953-54 R.N.A. District Champs
1986-87 R.N.A. Regional Champs
1987-88 R.N.A. Regional Champs
1994-95 R.N.A. Regional Champs
One famous alum from the Fighting Irish baseball program…..ever hear of Joe Girardi !
Ed Dwyer (Class of 1944) provided the following information on Spalding High School football:
“On a poll taken recently of old, older and oldest Spalding football players, the top five all-time ball carriers at Spalding were: Artie Silk, Bob Flanagan, Bobby Judd, Bill Kelly and Tim Ardis, with Flanagan named the best. Ennio Arboit came out on top as the top coach with Merv Haycock a close second.”
Some of the season football records at Spalding High are listed below.
1930-31 9 – 0 – 1 Coach Noppenberger
1938-39 7 – 0 – 1 Coach Arboit
1942-43 8 – 0 Coach Arboit
1944-45 9 – 0 Coach Arboit
1952-53 City Football Champions
The following teams participated in the IHSA Football Playoffs
1982-83 R.N.A. IHSA Elite 8 Finalist Coach Thomas Kahn
Beat Peoria Manual 29 – 6
Lost to Geneseo 26 – 3
Geneseo won State Championship
1985-86 9 – 2 IHSA Class 4A Sweet 16 Coach Jerry McMahon
Beat Kewanee 28 – 20
Lost to Geneseo 14 – 7
**The 1956 Football Squad set a record for the most points scored by an Institute team in a single game, beating Canton 62-12. A few weeks later Spalding was trounced by Rock Island Alleman, 41-0. The team finished the season 4-4-1.
**On October 30, 1985 in Spalding’s first round playoff game against Kewanee, Bill Kelly set a school record for most rushes attempted in a game with 45. Spalding would go on to win that game, but would fall in the second round that year. Bill Kelly also led IHSA in rushing yardage for this season!
(Thank you to Ron Dwyer for this information on the team of 1985.)
One athlete that excelled in Track and Field was Jim Haungs. Haungs placed 5th in the Long Jump in 1961 at the State Track Meet.
The Fighting Irish Cross Country Team of 1975-76 enjoyed the school’s best success in this sport. The team won their sectional and qualified for the State meet.
The only season recorded on the IHSA web site (www.ihsa.org) was the 1987-88 season in which the team, coached by Cindy Clark, finished the year at 21 – 6.
There are five seasons recorded on the IHSA web site. The best of which was the 1987-88 season with a record of 18-5. The team was coached by Cindy Clark. In the five seasons (1983-88) available, Coach Clark’s teams won 76 games and lost 42.
More on Athletics
Other Spalding Institute sports, as listed in a 1950’s student newspapers included golf, and intramural Boxing, Swimming and Bowling. More academic involvements were shown in a Current Event’s Quiz, sponsored by the National Journalism Society Quill and Scroll, and a Choral Festival, at East Peoria HS, the first of many forseen in the “newly created ‘Mid-State Eight’ Conference.” Also noted was the performance of the Spalding Band at the Chicago Stadium, playing during halftime of a Kentucky-Loyola Basketball Game. A popular event for many Springs was the C.Y.C. Field Days, sponsored by the Catholic Youth Center
**General Wayne A. Downing
This United States Army General has an incredible resume’, and he is a graduate of Spalding High School. Check out a brief biography of General Downing at the Wikipedia address of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_A._Downing .
Thank you for Tom O’Brien for this excellent information on General Downing.
From our good friend Mark Jurenga:
**Ray H. LaHood
*B.S. Bradley University
*Member of the Illinois State House of Representatives, 1982-1983.
*Seven-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, January 3, 1995-present.
*All information as of 12-31-2007
(NOTE: As of 3/21/2010, Congressman LaHood is now the Secretary of Transportation under President Barack Obama.)
**Joe Girardi – Major League Baseball Player / Manager (Submitted by Kathie Bartolo)
Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Girardi. Joe was a Spaulding High School graduate who played major league baseball for the Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, New York Yankees, and St. Louis Cardinals. Joe became manager of the Florida Marlins in 2006. He currently serves as Manager of the New York Yankees 2008 – present (2010).
**Reverend Richard Grimm CSC:
“My name is Mollee Dagastino. My uncles and brother attended Spalding Institute. My uncle, Rev. Richard Grimm CSC, was graduate of the class of 1926. That was the year that Spalding attended the first Illinois Catholic State Basketball Tournament. My Uncle Richard, was captain of that basketball team. Here is the link to that info http://www.ihsa.org/initiatives/hstoric/basketball_cathtourn.htm.
Further info about Rev. Richard Grimm. He was the eldest of 7, all of whom attended Spalding or Academy of Our Lady. He studied at the Univ. of Notre Dame where he entered the seminary and became: assistant prefect of religion; superior of Holy Cross Seminary; assistant religious superior of Univ. of Notre Dame; and superior of the infirmary. During that period he was responsible for the planning and building of Holy Cross house for the retired priests of the Congregation for the Holy Cross. He became the first Superior of Holy Cross house. In 1967 he obtained his master’s degree from St. Mary’s College. The only male and at the time, the oldest person to ever obtain a degree there.”
**Archbishop Fulton John Sheen:
Richard Bieth tells us “The venerable and Most Reverend Archbishop Fulton John Sheen earned high school valedictorian honors at Spalding Institute in Peoria in 1913.”
|St. Joseph Statue
Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame Inductees
Ennio Arboit – Was a standout college athlete for the University of Notre Dame and coached football at Spalding from 1938 to 1945 and 1947 to 1950 after a stint at St. Ambrose University in Davenoprt, IA. His teams went 69-23-8 in his 11 seasons.
Merv Haycock – Coached Spalding Football for 14 seasons, from 1962 to 1976. His teams had a record of 95-34-6 and five Conference titles. He was also the Athletics Director for Spalding, and was one of the many people behind the creation of the IHSA Football State Playoffs. He also coached at Bergan from 1979 to 1985.
Bob Flanagan (’46) – A three-sport star at Spalding who went on to earn Little All-American recognition in football at Bradley University and at St. Ambrose College. He also played basketball and baseball for Spalding.
Bobby Judd (’50) – A three-sport athlete who stood out in football, playing for Xavier University, the U.S. Army team and the Ottawa Rough Riders in Canada. He was a starting guard for the 1950 Spalding basketball team that went to the state tournament. In 1949, he was voted the All-Illinois MVP in football.
Tony Lawless (’24) – A standout athlete for Spalding who played on their 1924 state championship team and would later coach in that tournament. After playing football and basketball at Loyola, Lawless coached many sports at Oak Park Fenwick High School, back when it was an all-boys school. From 1929 to 1976, Lawless served as coach and Athletics Director for Fenwick, which went 177-43-8 in football under his tenure. He coached five Catholic League football titles and the 1935 Catholic State Basketball Championship. He also guided the Friars to the 1937 National Catholic Basketball Tournament.
Tony Van Dyke – Coached Spalding football in 1935 and coached at Peoria Junior High Schools for 27 years.
Mike LaHood (’64) – Was a Mid-State 10 honorable mention football lineman his junior year and was a first team all-conference choice the following year. He played with the University of Wyoming and played on their 1968 Sugar Bowl team. He later played with the Los Angeles Rams and St. Louis Cardinals of the NFL and the British Columbia Lions of the CFL.
Don Mathews (’50) – A standout football and basketball player for Spalding. For the 1950 basketball team, he led the Mid-State 10 conference in scoring, was a second team all-stater, first team all-conference and a few months before that a first team all-conference end in football. His high school coaching tenure lasted from 1959 to 1976 with Peoria Woodruff, Peoria Bergan, Spring Valley Hall, Brimfield and Peoria Heights.
Ron Maestri – Was an assistant coach at Spalding in the early to mid 1960’s before taking to Bradley University and New Orleans University.
Bill Dempsey (’43) – Was a standout player for the Peoria Caterpillar Disels AAU team and a graduate of Spalding having not played basketball for the Irish. He was also a U.S. Olympic Basketball team alternate for the 1952 games in Helsinki.
Harold Lintz – Played Baseball for Spalding Institute and coached various baseball leagues in the Peoria area for over 50 years.
SPALDING INSTITUTE SPORTS TRIVIA
as noted in the dedication program of the Spalding Gymnasium, February 8, 1953: titled “Do you Remember:”
1. When Spalding had two box-ball bowling alleys up on the third floor of the Institute. This was in the early 1900’s.
2. When Spalding had the Century Club in the lower gym (Cracker Box), 40 laps made a mile, 100 miles and you received your “S” monogram. This was back in 1910-1911.
3. When the Spalding Varsity gridiron team scrimmaged against Bradley Poly (Varsity), not the Academy, and here is a little secret- used to come out on top.
4. When Dan Cleary, first sacker for the Purple 1908, was supposed to have hit a ball in the middle of the Illinois River at the Water Works Diamond.
5. When Spalding used to play members of the Little 19 Conference including teams such as Lincoln College, Eureka, and others, also more than holding their own.
6. When the Irish surprised St. Viator College on their home floor taking the verdict by the high score of 16 to 12. This was back in 1911-1912.
7. When hand ball was quite a sport in the lower gym and a full schedule was played by an eight-team league.
8. When Spalding basketball team defeated the New York Nationals in the much disputed final score, 42 to 41. The Nationals were on par of today’s Minneapolis Lakers
9. When Coach “Sport” McGrath’s Irish won the National Catholic Championship in the ’20’s.
10. When Spalding played several ball games in the old YMCA in the 100 block of North Jefferson Street.
11. Who is the only Spalding athlete to be elected captain by his teammates for football, basketball, and baseball in the same year? Bob Manning (1948-49)
From Martin T.Takeuchi (almost Class or ’62):
“I attended to Spalding High from 1959 through 1961…coming to Spalding after graduating from St. Mary’s Cathedral School. I was supposed to graduate with the Class of 1962, but unfortunately my family moved to California at the end of the 1961 school year. Lots of good memories while I was there..the football and basketball games on Fridays … going to Sandy’s (was supposed to be a McDonalds but I guess the deal fell through). Going to the “Center” after the football games..I was in the Choir and was supposed to be on the Summa Staff (yearbook) in my senior year.
A couple of teachers I remember were Fr. Gillgallon (hope that’s the right spelling) in Choir…and the terror of biology…Br. Schoffman (also hope that’s the right spelling}. I dreaded his daily quizzes, but managed to scrape out a “B” in his class.
The choir put on a production of the musical “Showboat”with some of the girls from the Academy of Our Lady across the street. It was in their theater if I remember right. I found out during my search for Spalding on the internet, that there’s a Spalding High School in England..but it’s an all girls school! Anyway..those are some memories I have of good old Spalding……”
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