Corliss Norton

Corliss Norton (Class of 1938)

Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Inductee 2012

Memorial Brick on MHS School Memorial 2013

Corliss Norton played for the Mineral High School Leopards basketball team, graduating in 1938 from MHS. He went on to serve in World War II where he received the Purple Heart for injuries he incurred in combat (see below). This YouTube video link shows the induction of Corliss Norton into the IBCA Hall of Fame in 2012 for his success as a Coach at Buckley High School and Clifton Central High School in the late 1940s through the 1960s. He would also serve as Principal and Superintendent of the Clifton Central School District.
Welcome to the Hall: Norton still cherishes time at Buckley High

Paxton Record Newspaper – Wed, 05/02/2012

Corliss Norton waves upon receiving a plaque during his induction into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Saturday in Bloomington. Norton, who was inducted into the “Friends of Basketball” division, coached at Buckley High School from 1947-’51, where he amassed a record of 110-17. He still resides in Clifton.

With a mind sharp as a tack even at age 90, Corliss Norton remembers his four seasons coaching boys’ basketball at Buckley High School from 1947-’51 like it was yesterday.

“I never did have a whole lot of height down there,” Norton said. ‘The tallest player I ever had at Buckley was — maybe — 6-1.”

Despite a lack of size, Norton found a way to leave his mark in Buckley. He led the small school to a record of 110-17 in his four seasons at the helm, including winning two regional championships, two conference championships and two Iroquois County tournament championships. After that, he moved on to coach at Clifton Central for 11 more seasons, amassing 191 more victories.

On Saturday, Norton was recognized for his achievements. He was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame at a ceremony at Illinois State University in Bloomington — not as a coach but in a category he called “Friends of Basketball,” which recognizes those who were influential to the game in more ways than just wins and losses.

“It’s an honor … I haven’t coached basketball for 50 years. Therefore anyone who was aware of my coaching are now gray-haired people,” Norton said with a laugh. “Therefore it’s a surprise.”

A deserved surprise, according to one of Norton’s former players.

“It was so fun. He was a good coach,” said Gene Stinebring, who played under Norton for three years at Buckley. “He had kids who played together since grade school, and he just knew how to handle us.

“We just jelled.”

Showing he still has a little coach left in him even in his older days, Norton deflected credit for Buckley’s success to his players. Upon beginning his coaching career there, he took over a group of underclassmen and helped them develop from there.

“I was very fortunate in Buckley,” said Norton, who still resides in Clifton. “I encountered a bunch of boys who were not only good athletes but intelligent kids. I started with an underclass group, and they did well. They were just a talented group of boys.”

“He’d have to shut the light out to get us out of the gym,” Stinebring added.

Some the standout players Norton recalls coaching at Buckley were Stinebring, Herb Kaufman, William Schuldt, Bob and Bill Weisenbarn, Marvin Dettmering and Ray Wells. It was always an enjoyment because Buckley was a “very loyal” town that “followed us wherever we went.”

Among Norton’s favorite memories of his time at Buckley were winning a tournament by stalling on offense, being successful against the bigger Paxton High School and having teams that would have been good enough to challenge for a state title if there had been a classification system back then. As it was, every team in the state competed in the same class when the postseason started, and one of his best teams fell to a Champaign school in sectionals.

“I had teams in Buckley that would’ve easily won the small-school state championship if we’d had a classification system,” Norton said.

Kankakee Daily Journal

May 18, 2012

Coaches Hall of Fame

It’s been 50 years since Corliss Norton last coached basketball at Central High School in Clifton.

The district where he began his coaching career, Buckley: gone, now a part of the hyphenated Paxton-Buckley-Loda.

Still, the soft-spoken 90-year-old retiree was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Norton’s 191 victories rank first among Central coaches. He won another 110 at little Buckley High School. But an overall record of 301-123 is not impressive enough for this hall. He will be inducted not as a coach, but as a “friend of the game.”

United States Army

Purple Heart Award Recipient – Received the Purple Heart as a result of a ditching on July 15, 1944 after returning from a mission to Polesti Oil Fields.

Corliss Norton WWII Army Photo

Back Row L to R: Sgt John Madia (cigarette in mouth)- Engineer-Top Turret Gunner; Sgt William T Shivers- Nose Gunner; 1st Lt Harold B Levine- Navigator; On his right – Unidentified Officer; 2nd Lt Libero Ricciardelli; Sgt Alfred H. Wilbur- Radio Operator

Front Row L to R : S/Sgt Albert A Haja – Mechanic-Gunner; Sgt Ulys R Moski – Waist Gunner’ and S/Sgt Corliss L Norton – Gunner

Sgt Corliss L Norton was assigned to the 459th BG 756th Squadron. Military Occupational Specialty (MOS): Waist Gunner.

The information on Corliss Norton is gathered and extracted from military records. We have many documents and copies of documents, including military award documents. It is from these documents that we have found this information on Sgt Norton. These serviceman’s records are nowhere near complete and we are always looking for more material. If you can help add to Corliss Norton’s military record please contact us.