Waukegan West High School “Raiders”

The History of Waukegan West High School

Waukegan (population 87,901) is located in far northeastern Illinois in east-central Lake County. The Illinois Routes of  21, 41, 43, 131, 132, and 137 all lead you to and from Waukegan. Lake Michigan serves as the eastern border of Waukegan. The Chicago & Northwestern Railroad and the Elgin, Joliet, & Eastern Railroad both travel through the east side of town. Interstate Highway 94 runs by the west side of town. Waukegan sits just 8 miles south of the Wisconsin / Illinois border.

A nice history of Waukegan’s early days can be found at the web addresses of (Wikipedia) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waukegan,_Illinois#History and (Waukegan Historical Society) http://www.waukeganweb.net/waukeganhistory.html. Both sites state the following:

“Waukegan, first visited by Pere Marquette in 1673, is one of the oldest communities in Illinois. The city started as a French trading post and Potawatomi Indian settlement known as “Little Fort”. Records dating back to 1829 tell of a treaty signed by the Potawatomis in which they ceded all of their land in this area to the Federal Government.

Little Fort became the County Seat of Government in 1841 by virture of its population, replacing Libertyville. Between 1844 and 1846, the town’s population grew from 150 to 750 people. In 1849 when the town was incorporated, the population had risen to 2,500.

Proud of the growth of their community and no longer wanting to be characterized as “little”, on March 31, 1849 the residents of Little Fort changed the name of their town to Waukegan, the Potawatomi word for “fort” or “trading post”.”

Waukegan residents began a school system for their children by the mid to late 1800’s. It is likely that high school courses were in place by the late 1800’s. Waukegan High School served the town and its ever-growing population through the early 1970’s. It was in 1974 that the decision was made to create a second high school in Waukegan.

Eileen Lambo explains the process to create two high schools in Waukegan:

“I believe that in 1974 WWHS building was for all Freshman and Sophmores.  1975 it was for all Fresh and Soph, and the Juniors for that district.  In 1976 the two schools split to 4 years each in their respective districts.  This was the first year the4re were 2 high schools.   The homecoming football game for each school was played against one another in 1976 with East winning 20-0.”

Waukegan High School was renamed Waukegan East High School. The second high school was aptly named Waukegan West High School. Waukegan West High School served the families of Waukegan for 15 years. It was further decided in 1990 that Waukegan would revert to the one high school system. This decision effectively closed Waukegan West High School.

Today, the Waukegan West High School building is home to 10th, 11th, and 12th graders of the Waukegan school district, while ninth graders attend classes in the Waukegan East building.

Waukegan West High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                                      1974

Year closed:                                       1990

Consolidated to:                                  Waukegan High School

Waukegan West HS team nickname:    “Raiders”

Waukegan West HS team colors:         Green and Gold

School Fight Song:                              “Cheers, Cheers for Waukegan West”

                                                                             University of Notre Dame Fight Song Tune

                                                                             Lyrics submitted by EILEEN LAMBO

                                                         We are the green and we are the gold

                                                         We are the Raiders, we are the bold!

                                                         We will conquer, we will win

                                                         We know we we’ll never, ever give in


                                                         We have the teamwork

                                                         We have the speed

                                                         We know we’ll always step out and lead!

                                                         We are Raiders tried and true

                                                         Waukegan West we love you!


                                                          “Fight Raiders Fight!”


In spite of the school’s short time being active, Waukegan West High School had some incredible successes on the court and on the field. A State Championship and several other early round titles were won by various teams in WWHS history. We are in need of the school fight song, several coach’s names and some team records of Waukegan West High School’s glorious past.


The Waukegan West High School hardballers had some incredible success. In fact, they join the ranks of very few schools on this site, they won a STATE CHAMPIONSHIP in 1982-83!!  Coach Rick Mowen appears to have guided the program for the bulk, if not for all, of the school’s tenure. A State Championship, THREE Regional Championships, and a Sectional Championship were all a part of the WWHS baseball program resume’.

1975-78                                                                             Coach Rick Mowen

1978-79   16 – 7                                                                  Coach Rick Mowen

1979-80   14 – 9    Regional Champions                             Coach Rick Mowen

1980-81   16 – 11                                                                Coach Rick Mowen

1981-82   17 – 11                                                                Coach Rick Mowen

1982-83   22 – 7    IHSA CLASS AA STATE CHAMPIONS!!  Coach Rick Mowen

                           Regional Champions

                           Sectional Champions

                           Elite 8 Finalist

                           Beat Danville  6 – 4

                           Final 4 Finalist

                           Beat Chicago Simeon  6 – 5

                           State Championship Game

                           Beat Collinsville  2 – 0

1983-84   17 – 6                                                                  Coach Rick Mowen

1984-85   20 – 11                                                                Coach Rick Mowen

1985-86   19 – 11  Regional Champions                             Coach Rick Mowen

1986-87   18 – 9                                                                  Coach Rick Mowen


The ladies of Waukegan West made an impact at the State Tourney level as well. Two trips to the IHSA Elite 8 made the West HS girls program a yearly threat im the late 1970’s and 1980’s. Coach Gene Head led the charge from 1977-78 through the 1986-87 school year. Coach Head’s teams won SEVEN District titles, TWO Sectional titles and TWO Super-Sectional titles.

1975-76   10 – 2                                                              Coach Linda Hoffman

1976-77     8 – 6                                                              Coach Linda Hoffman

1977-78   21 – 4    Regional Champions                         Coach Gene Head

1978-79   26 – 2    IHSA ELITE 8 FINALIST                      Coach Gene Head

                           Regional Champions

                           Sectional Champions

                           Super-Sectional Champions

                           Beat Kaneland  86 – 47

                           Elite 8 Finalist

                           Lost to East St. Louis Lincoln  71 – 55

E.St.L finished 2ND

1979-80   18 – 6    Regional Champions                         Coach Gene Head

1980-81   16 – 12  IHSA ELITE 8 FINALIST                      Coach Gene Head

                           Regional Champions

                           Sectional Champions

                           Super-Sectional Champions

                           Beat Crystal Lake Central  58 – 50

                           Elite 8 Finalist

                           Lost to Niles West     58 – 42

Niles West finished 4th

1981-82   11 – 12                                                            Coach Gene Head

1982-83   11 – 13                                                            Coach Gene Head

1983-84   11 – 16  Regional Champions                         Coach Gene Head
1984-85   17 – 8    Regional Champions                         Coach Gene Head

1985-86   19 – 8    Regional Champions                         Coach Gene Head

1986-87   10 – 7                                                              Coach Gene Head


The boys basketball program added two Regional titles to the Waukegan West HS trophy case. Team records and coach’s names of these and other WWHS boys basketball teams are needed.

1982-83          Regional Champions
1989-90          Regional Champions


The lady linksters used an excellent team effort to bring home a FOURTH place trophy from the IHSA State Finals in 1984. It was a true team effort as no individual medals were won by this team. Coach’s name for this team is needed.


                     Regional Champions


Coach John Neff built a solid football program at Waukegan West High School that was started by Coach Mike Jerikian. The grid iron warriors earned one trip to the IHSA State Playoffs under Coach Neff’s leadership.

1975-78                                                                           Coach Mike Jerikian

1978-79    7 – 2                                                                Coach Mike Jerikian

1979-80    7 – 2                                                                Coach John Neff

1980-81    4 – 5                                                                Coach John Neff

1981-82    5 – 4                                                                Coach John Neff

1982-83    6 – 3                                                                Coach John Neff

1983-84    4 – 5                                                                Coach John Neff

1984-85    3 – 6                                                                Coach John Neff

1985-86    4 – 6                                                                Coach John Neff

1986-87    5 – 4                                                                Coach John Neff

1987-88    6 – 4  IHSA Class 5A Playoffs Qualifier            Coach John Neff

                        Lost to Lake Forest HS  14 – 7

1988-89    6 – 3                                                                Coach John Neff


The girls tennis team made a trip to the IHSA State Finals in 1982-83 after winning the Sectional Championship. The coach’s name of this team is needed.

1982-83         Team Won Sectional Championship


The boys won some IHSA hardware on the links as well. A District title and a Regional title highlighted the boys golf program success. One athlete even placed in the top-ten on the Individual Medalist category!

1978-79AA         Team Won District Championship

Individual Medalist

                          Randy Pilotte          9TH Place

1985-86AA         Team Won Regional Championship


Two Sectional titles and a THIRD Place Finish at the IHSA State Meet helped the tracksters leave their mark on WWHS history as well. The third place finish came in the school’s final season. In addition, several athletes won Individual Medals including FOUR Gold Medals!!

1977-78AA     Individual Medalists

                     Gerald Green           Shot Put                   3RD Place

                     Larnell Farmer         440 Yard Dash          5TH Place

                     Relay Team              1 Mile Relay             5TH Place

1978-79AA     Individual Medalist

                     Gerald Green           Shot Put                   STATE CHAMPION!!

1979-80AA     Individual Medalist

                     Rick Doby                 Long Jump               6TH Place

1980-81AA     Individual Medalist

                     Rick Doby                 Triple Jump              2ND Place

1987-88AA     Individual Medalists

                     Relay Team              4×100 Meter Relay    5TH Place

1988-89AA     Team Won Sectional Championship

                     Individual Medalists

                     Mario McDonald       100 Meter Dash         2ND Place

                     Jahamal Hardy         400 Meter Dash         8TH Place

1989-90         Team Finished THIRD in IHSA Finals!!

                     Sectional Champions

                     Individual Medalists

                     Mario McDonald       100 Meter Dash         STATE CHAMPION!
Relay Teams             4×100 Meter Relay   STATE CHAMPIONS!

                                                       4×200 Meter Relay   STATE CHAMPIONS!

                     Phillip Bryan             400 Meter Dash         2ND Place


Three lady tracksters brought home three individual medals from the IHSA State Finals Meet.

1975-76   Individual Medalist  –  Anette Gardner    100 Yard Dash   7TH Place

1976-77   Individual Medalist  –  Brenda McMillen  Discus               8TH Place

1978-79   Individual Medalist  –  Gail Doby              Long Jump       5TH Place


The girls volleyball program had some nice seasons at Waukegan West High School as well.

1975-76    6 – 6             Coach Anne Clark

1976-77  10 – 8             Coach Anne Clark

1977-78                       Coach Levonne Williams

1978-80                       Coach Faye Warren

1980-83                       Coach Pat Patrick

1983-84                       Coach Jim McCauley

1984-85    6 – 6             Coach Eugene Dalbo

1985-87                       Coach Valerie Hansford

1987-88                       Coach Kathy Mohar


The boys soccer program produced the following above .500 seasons during the school’s history.

1975-78                         Coach George Dervis

1978-79                         Coach Jaime Davila

1979-80                         Coach George Vogel

1980-83                         Coach Gary Slettum

1983-84                         Coach Glen Beausoliel

1984-85    5 – 5 – 3          Coach Tom Long

1985-86                         Coach Glen Beausoliel

1986-87    8 – 8               Coach Glen Beausoliel

1987-88    7 – 6 – 5          Coach Glen Beausoliel


Coach Chris Thomalla developed a solid wrestling program at Waukegan West High School. His teams had several winning seasons and produced one Individual Medalist.

1975-76                                                                              Coach Chris Thomalla

1976-77   14 – 2                                                                   Coach Chris Thomalla

1977-78   12 – 5 – 1                                                              Coach Chris Thomalla

1978-79   14 – 4                                                                   Coach Chris Thomalla

1979-80                                                                              Coach Chris Thomalla

1980-81     9 – 8                                                                   Coach Chris Thomalla

1981-82   12 – 4                                                                   Coach Chris Thomalla

1982-83   13 – 8                                                                   Coach Chris Thomalla

                         Individual Medalist

                         Greg Pipes      155 lbs. Weight Class     5TH Place

1983-84   15 – 7                                                                   Coach Chris Thomalla

1984-87                                                                              Coach Wilbur Borrero


The Illinois Theatre Festival is the largest, non-competetive high school theatre festival in the world. It was organized in 1976 by teachers from the Chicago suburbs. This festival is still going strong as they perform at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) and Illinois State University every other January. Waukegan West High school participated in this festival in 1976, 1978 and 1981.

Need Your Assistance

As with every page, we are seeking some in-put from an Waukegan West High School fan or alumnus as to the history and great successes accomplished at Waukegan West High School. If you can provide us with information, please complete Guest Commentary Form. You may also write us at dr.veeman@gmail.com or via “real” mail at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago,  Il.   60631


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