Sheldon High School “Rams”

Sheldon High School
A large building with many windows

Description automatically generated with low confidence
Sheldon, IL
Sheldon High School Bldg – 2012
A picture containing sky, outdoor, building, house

Description automatically generated

The History of Sheldon High School

Sheldon (population 1,232) is located in far eastern Illinois in Iroquois County one mile west of the Indiana state line.  U.S. Routes 52 and 24 part ways in the middle of Sheldon.  The Toledo Peoria & Western Railroad runs east and west through town and intersects with the K. B. S. R. Railroad which runs north and south through town.  A larger town for reference sake might be Kankakee located about 30 miles northwest of Sheldon. Sheldon was established in 1859 and named after the director of the railroad line at that time that was established in the area.

Sheldon High School was established in 1876. The first graduating class was recognized in 1878. A four-year high school was established in 1885. In 1900 a brick building was erected to accommodate the growing student population. In 1923 a new brick high school building was erected. For 127 years the school system in Sheldon was proudly supported by the people of Sheldon.  It was not until the early 2000s that the fate of the Sheldon High School District was being finalized.  After the 2002-03 school year Sheldon High School was deactivated.  The high school aged students of Sheldon now attend nearby Milford High School.

Sheldon HS Bldg Cornerstone

Description automatically generated
Sheldon High School Building Inscription
A picture containing text, indoor

Description automatically generated

Sheldon still hosts a grade school for the Milford school system.  The Sheldon Grade School offers grades K – 5 and is pictured above. The high school building is still in use by the Grade School students in some capacity.

Sheldon High School Alumni Web Page

There is a website that provides a lot more history and integral information regarding Sheldon High School.  To read more about Sheldon High School check out their alumni web page, created by Wayne Burgess, at the following link:

Sheldon High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                    1876

Year closed:                     2003

School nickname:             the “Rams”

School colors:                  Orange & Blue

Schoo Fight Song:            Two school songs were used over the years at Sheldon High

                                       Illinois Loyalty was originally used

Sheldon Loyalty was written by band director Mike Ferrari

                Sheldon Loyalty

Oh, we are the Rams from Sheldon,
We are here to win this game.

We do have the pep it takes to win,
And to lead this fine team to fame.

We do have the boys to whip them,
They’ll jump up and get that ball.

With the fight and the cheer
From the Sheldon fans here,
We’ll beat them down one and all!!!

The music to Illinois Loyalty is available below


When you talk of Sheldon High School athletics you must start, as the sport defined the town and really the region — boys basketball !  Many excellent seasons were enjoyed by the fans of Sheldon High.  It is also believed Sheldon offered baseball and track for the boys as well as softball, basketball, and track for the girls.

The Sheldon boys also had a chance to play football.  After several year of co-oping football with Watseka, in 1993 Sheldon High began a coop with Milford which netted 2 undefeated regular seasons in their first two tries.  Several Sheldon boys played key roles during these and subsequent seasons.

Sheldon HS Gymnasium – 2012
A building with a flag on top

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Boys Basketball

The extensive records kept on the IHSA web site ( regarding Sheldon High School Rams boys basketball tell the whole story.  Beginning with the 1925-26 school year when the Sheldon lads were led by Coach Arther “Red” Daugherty, every season is covered through the 2000-01 season.

And what incredible stories and great successes there are to tell !!  How about this for a small town’s excellence in one sport:

17 –  20+ win seasons

  1 –  35   win season

12 –  District Titles

  4 –  Regional Titles

  1 –  Coach with 200 + wins

  1 –  Coach with 300 + wins

The best of the Sheldon Rams’ seasons are listed below.  There have to be some great personal stories of the many great teams of Sheldon’s past.  One article I have read regarding the Sheldon basketball team of of 1941-42 called it one of the most talked about small school teams in the state as they entered the state playoffs with 30 wins.  This team went on to win the District and Regional titles enroute to a 35 – 2 overall record!  Even yet, there were 39 total students at Sheldon High at that time! One of the basketball players, forward Elmore Clawson, was named to the All-State 3rd team.

When you look at the records of the great Sheldon teams below, notice how there was not just one major “spurt” of success. Success at Sheldon High School was achieved in many different decades, a sign that the town truly backed and supported their teams.

IHSA Tourney scores invoolving Sheldon High School were located on a website titled “Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores.”

1925-26                  Record & Tourney scores needed    Arthur “Red” Daugherty

1926-27                  Record & Tourney scores needed    Arthur “Red” Daugherty

1927-28                  Record & Tourney scores needed    Arthur “Red” Daugherty

1928-29 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed

1929-30 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed

1930-31                  Record & Tourney scores needed    Brown

1931-32                  Record & Tourney scores needed    L.E. Galitz

1932-33                  Record & Tourney scores needed    L.E. Galitz

1933-34                  Milford District Tourney                   L.E. Galitz & Kenneth Stephens

                              Season record needed

                             1st Rd Beat Buckley 25-17

                              2nd Rd Lost to Milford 24-19

1934-35                  St. Anne District Runner-up!        Kenneth Stephens

                              Season record needed

                              1st Rd Beat Martinton 36-15

                              2nd Rd Beat Momence 31-22

                             Semi-final Beat Manteno 30-22

Title Game lost to St. Anne 33-20

1935-36     18 – 10   Hoopeston Regional Tourney           Kenneth Stephens

(Sheldon did not compete in District)

Hoopeston Regional Score

1st Rd lost to Hoopeston 30-10

Hoopeston lost in title game

1936-37     20 – 8    Watseka Regional Tourney              Kenneth Stephens

(Sheldon did not compete in District)

Watseka Regional Score

1st Rd lost to Donovan 30-26

Donovan lost in semi-final round

1937-38     25 – 5    (Potseason scores unavailable)        Kenneth Stephens

1938-39     18 – 6    Watseka Regional Tourney              Kenneth Stephens

(Sheldon did not compete in District)

Watseka Regional Score

 1st Rd Beat Chatsworth 42-26

                             Semi-final lost to Watseka 24-19

Watseka won Regional tourney


1939-40     16 – 6    District Champions                       Kenneth Stephens

(Postseason scores unavailable)

Regional scores unavailable


1940-41     27 – 9    IHSA Top 32 Finalists!                  Kenneth Stephens

                             District Champions

District scores unavailable

Regional Champions

Regional scores unavailable

                             Joliet Sectional Runner-up!

                             1st Rd Beat Cullom 39-36 (2 O/Ts)

                             Semi-final Beat Proviso 30-28

                             Title game lost to Waterman 30-26

Waterman lost in Elite 8 round

1941-42     35 – 2    IHSA Top 32 Finalists!                  Kenneth Stephens

                             District Champions

District scores unavailable

                             Regional Champions

                             1st Rd Beat Momence 44-19

                             Semi-final Beat Bradley 36-30

                             Title game Beat Kankakee 47-25

                             Joliet Sectional Runner-up!

                             1st Rd Beat Morris 37-27

                             Semi-final Beat Aurora West 40-19

                             Title game lost to Streator 48-33

Streator lost in Elite 8 round.

**The 35 wins by the Rams this season places them among the top 16 seasons in IHSA history!

1942-43     13 – 8    Postseason scores unavailable       Kenneth Stephens      


1943-44     19 – 9    District Champions                      Kenneth Stephens

Postseason scores unavailable

1944-45     20 – 5    Crescent City District Champs     Kenneth Stephens

                             Title Game Beat Chebanse 33-32

                             Watseka Regional Tourney

                             1st Rd Beat Herscher 39-27

                             Semi-final lost to Kankakee 41-30

Kankakee won Regional title


1945-46     24 – 6    Clifton District Champions           Kenneth Stephens

                             Title game Beat Donovan 54-28

                             Kankakee Regional Tourney

                             1st Rd Beat St. Anne 49-32

                             Semi-final lost to Bradley 37-35

Bradley won Regional title


1946-47     18 – 9     District Champions                      Kenneth Stephens

District scores unavailable

Hoopeston Regional Tourney

1st Rd Lost to Milford 34-31

Milford lost in semi-final round

1947-48     13 – 13    Postseason scores unavailable      Kenneth Stephens

1948-49     25 – 3      Wellington District Runner-up    Kenneth Stephens

                               Semi-final Beat Stockland 40-30

                               Title Game lost to Potomac 34-31


1949-50     21 – 8      Sheldon District Champions       Kenneth Stephens

 Title Game Beat Ashkum-Clifton 49-31

                               Bradley Regional Tourney

                               1st Rd Beat Momence 46-36

                               Semi-final lost to Kankakee 53-43

Kankakee lost in title game

1950-51     25 – 3      Wellington District Runner-up    Kenneth Stephens

 1st Rd Beat Wellington 48-36

                               Semi-final Beat Crescent City 51-31

                               Title game lost to Rankin 41-39

1951-52     19 – 7      Wellington District Tournament      Charles Pfeffer

                               1st Rd Beat Henning 68-58

Semi-final lost to Rankin 64-40

Rankin lost in title game


1952-53     17 – 9      Postseason scores needed           Charles Pfeffer

1953-54     16 – 8      Postseason scores needed           Larry Sieg

1954-55       4 – 16    Postseason scores needed           Larry Sieg

1955-56     11 – 13    Postseason scores needed           Larry Sieg

1956-57     16 – 7      Postseason scores needed           Larry Sieg


1957-58     18 – 8      Rankin District Rnner-up            Larry Sieg

                               Title game lost to Wellington 52-41


1958-59     16 – 11    Sheldon District Tournament         Larry Sieg

                                1st Rd Beat Crescent City 38-20

                                Semi-final lost to Stockland 65-50

Stockland lost in title game

1959-60     28 – 2       Potomac District Champions     Larry Sieg

                                1st Rd Beat East Lynn 88-42

                                Semi-final Beat Crescent City 88-64

                                Title Game Beat Potomac 62-48

                                Hoopeston Regional Tourney

                                1st Rd Beat Bismarck 80-59

                                Semi-final lost to Watseka 74-72 (2 O/Ts)

Watseka lost in title game


1960-61     29 – 3       IHSA Top 64 Finalist!                Larry Sieg

                                District Tourney Champs

                                District scores unavailable

                                Watseka Regional Champs

                                1st Rd Beat Milford 60-30

                                Semi-final Beat Cisna Park 51-49

                                Title Game Beat Hoopeston 50-44 (O/T)

                                Urbana Sectional Tourney

                                Semi-final lost to Champaign 54-46

Champaign lost in title game


1961-62     24 – 4       IHSA Top 64 Finalist!                Larry Sieg

Sheldon did not compete in District

Hoopeston Regional Champs

                                1st Rd Beat Milford 93-44

                                Semi-final Beat Cisna Park 86-54

                                Title Game Beat Watseka

                                Paris Sectional Tourney

                                Semi-final lost to Paris 60-58 (O/T)

Paris lost in title game


1962-63     13 – 12     Potomac District Runner-up      Larry Sieg

                                1st Rd Beat Rankin 75-50

                                Semi-final Beat East Lynn 60-56

Title Game lost to Potomac 34-32


1963-64     22 – 7       District Champions                    Larry Sieg

                                District scores unavailable

Hoopeston Regional Tourney

 1st Rd Beat Bismarck-Henning 66-55

Semi-final lost to Hoopeston 62-47

Hoopeston won Regional title


1964-65     22 – 5       District Champions                    Larry Sieg

Postseason scores unavailable

1965-66     15 – 11     Postseason scores needed          Harold Finn

1966-67       7 – 16     Postseason scores needed          Harold Finn

1967-68     18 – 9       Armstrong District Runner-up     Dan Lawson

                                1st Rd Beat Rankin 55-48

                                Semi-final Beat Crescent City 61-53

                                Title game lost to Armstrong 80-48


1968-69     16 – 9       Armstrong District Tournament      Howard “Jack” Roemer

1st Rd Beat Eat Lynn

                                Lost to Potomac 54-51

Potomac won District title


1969-70     16 – 11     Sheldon District Champions       Howard “Jack” Roemer

1st Rd Beat Wellington 76-46

                                Semi-final Beat Potomac 67-63

                                Title Game Beat Cisna Park 71-68

                                Hoopeston Regional Tourney

1st Rd lost to Watseka 61-49

Watseka lost in semi-final round

1970-71     20 – 8       Armstrong District Runner-up    John Bullock

 1st Rd Beat Crescent City 38-36

                                Semi-final Beat Potomac 63-62 (O/T)

                                Title Game lost to Cisna Park 66-61


1971-72     11 – 11     Watseka Class ‘A’ Regional          John Bullock

1st Rd lost to Milford 63-57

Milford lost in semi-final round

1972-73       3 – 19     Postseason scores needed           John Bullock

1973-74     11 – 14     Postseason scores needed           John Bullock

1974-75     10 – 15     Postseason scores needed           John Bullock

1975-76       2 – 20     Postseason scores needed           John Bullock

1976-77       9 – 16     Postseason scores needed           Tom Weirgacz

1977-78     18 – 8       Postseason scores needed           Tom Weirgacz

1978-79     26 – 2       Postseason scores needed           Tom Weirgacz

1979-80     21 – 4       Postseason scores needed           Tom Weirgacz

1980-81     14 – 9       Postseason scores needed           John Spezia

1981-82     11 – 12     Postseason scores needed           John Spezia

1982-83     13 – 9       Postseason scores needed           Tom Crews

1983-84       6 – 18     Postseason scores needed           Tom Crews

1984-85       1 – 21     Postseason scores needed           Joe Cowan

1985-86       9 – 16     Postseason scores needed           Joe Cowan

1986-87     12 – 11     Postseason scores needed           Joe Cowan

1987-88       6 – 17     Postseason scores needed           Ferdinand LeMarr

1988-89       9 – 14     Postseason scores needed           Ferdinand LeMarr

1989-90       6 – 19     Postseason scores needed           Ferdinand LeMarr

1990-91     11 – 15     Postseason scores needed           Tom Mulligan

1991-92     17 – 9       Postseason scores needed           Guy Skrobul

1992-93     16 – 12     Postseason scores needed           Guy Skrobul

1993-94       9 – 17     Postseason scores needed           Guy Skrobul

1994-95       7 – 15     Postseason scores needed           Guy Skrobul

1995-96       3 – 24     Postseason scores needed           Guy Skrobul

1996-97       3 – 23     Postseason scores needed           Kevin Werner

1997-98       1 – 19     Postseason scores needed           Donald Emerson

1998-99       8 – 16     Postseason scores needed           Donald Emerson

1999-00     13 – 13     Postseason scores needed           Donald Emerson

2000-01       5 – 21     Postseason scores needed           Donald Emerson


2001-02       7 – 19     Clifton Class ‘A’ Regional              Coach’s name needed.

                                  1st Rd Beat Milton 62-60

Semi-Final lost to Gilman Iroquois West 72-53

Iroquois West beat St. Anne in title game

2002-03                     Onarga Class ‘A’ Regional             Coach’s name needed.

*1st Rd lost to Clifton Central 87-74

*Final boys varsity basketball game for Sheldon High School.


981 wins, 744 losses     .570 Winning %     67 Seasons Recorded

If we had some of the season records from the 1920s and early 1930s it is a fact that Sheldon High School would top the 1,000 win plateau in number of victories.

Incredibly Great History!!!

Sheldon Player Ken Laffoon:

Brenda Stewart tells us the folloiwing about former Sheldon All-Star Ken Laffoon (Class of 1979):

Ken Laffoon, a graduate of Sheldon High School “79” has led Danville Iowa Bears to two State Class 2A Basketball Championships (2000-01and 2001-02) and a State Class 1A Runnerup in 2010-11.”

An update to the great coaching career of Ken Laffoon is as follows:

Ken Laffoon has retired from coaching at Danville HS in Iowa with his induction into the 2019 Iowa State High School Boys Coaches Hall of Fame. Laffoon finished with a career record of 508-181.. He led the Bears to the State championship in 2000-01 and 2001-02, and runner up finishes in 2010-11 and 2011-12. He also lead the Bears to a third place finish in 2012-13, a 4th place finish in 2014-15 and a appearance in the 2015-16 state tournament.”

Girls Basketball

Though not as long, the girls also recorded a measure of success in basketball.  Team records and coach’s names are not available.  The Lady Rams basketball team of 1980-81 brought home an IHSA Regional title! The girls were also the first Iroquois County tournament champs ion their sport.  We are seeking in-put on other great seasons as well.

1975-76       Iroquois County Tournament Champions

1980-81       Regional Champions

Boys Track & Field

One male athlete won a medal at the State Track Meet. His accomplishment is listed below.

1953-54     Charles Darrough       100 Yard Dash         5th Place


It is known that Sheldon had a baseball program during it’s existance. Towards the later years of the school, Sheldon was involved in a co-op with nearby Watseka High School. One of the great pitchers from Sheldon was Josh Harris. In 2000, Harris threw two no-hitters for the co-op. We are sure there were many other great baseball players, and other athletes, to walk the halls of Sheldon High.

Great Coaches

As you can see by viewing the basketball success above, two coaches in Sheldon High School history really stick out.  Their accomplishments are listed below.

Coach Kenneth Stephens:

                                         337 – 110   Overall in 17 seasons (one season record not listed)

7 – District Championships

                                             2 – Regional Championships

                                             1 – 35 win season (1941-42  –  35 – 2)

                                             9 – 20 win seasons   

                                           16 – Winning Seasons – never more than 9 losses

                                            GREAT JOB COACH STEPHENS!

Coach Larry Seig:

                                           219 – 96  Overall – 12 seasons

                                               4 – District Championships

                                               2 – Regional Championships

                                               5 – 20+ win seasons

                                1960,61,62  – 81 – 9 in these three consecutive seasons!!


From Dr. Rodney Merkle:

“Some of the top Basketball Players on the 1977-78 and 1978-1979 squads included John Gooding, Rich Gross, and Ken Laffoon.  The 1978-79 team that was 26-2 lost both games to Watseka. Once during the Iroquois County Tournament  championship game and also in the Regional championship game.  Ironically the same player, Kenton Carley hit the winning shot in both games.  The 1979-1980 team was lead by Rich Gross. The team captured three straight Iroquois Conference Championships 1977-78, 1978-79, and 1979-80.  They were an excellent team that played the game the right way.  Today, Ken Laffoon has done an outstanding job coaching the Danville (Iowa) Bears to two state basketball titles in class 2A earlier in this decade.

Sheldon High School Student Body 1906
A group of people posing for a photo

Description automatically generated
Submitted by Connie Voss

Asking For Your Help

If you have ANY more information regarding the great successes attained at Sheldon High School we are hopeful you will share them with us. If the above photo is not the former Sheldon HS building or if you have a better photo to offer we would welcome and add it to the site. Team photos and personal stories are also welcome.  You can e-mail photos and information to us a  You can also write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago,  Il.  60631

Sheldon HS Bldg 2012 – Southside View
A picture containing grass, sky, outdoor, building

Description automatically generated
Sheldon Grade School
A picture containing outdoor, tree

Description automatically generated
Sheldon, Illinois

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: