NORMAL — Larry Smith, Mike Harmon and Conrad “Babe” Champion of high school basketball distinction have something in common.
All three are among the 2016 induction class for the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. The 44th annual ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, April 30, at the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University. The IBCA has been enshrining high school players, coaches, officials, friends of basketball and news media since 1973.
Smith of Alton was recently inducted into the AHS Athletics Hall of Fame. He starred for the Redbirds and later excelled at the University of Illinois. Harmon of Roxana/Kendall Hill was a successful head coach at Civic Memorial and Roxana, plus a Granite City assistant. Champion of Granite City was regarded as one of the top referees in Southwestern Illinois.
So Smith will be inducted as a player, Harmon as a career coach and Champion as an official.
Other Southwestern/Southern Illinois inductees this year are:
Coach: Lori Blade of Edwardsville and Jim Miller of Carbondale;
Career Coach: David Franke of Brussels, Ken McBride of Cahokia and Roger Mueller of Belleville;
Players: Erwin Claggett of Venice, Terry Tessary Jr. of Collinsville and Brian Bettis of West Central;
Friends of Basketball: Roger Gerlach of Sparta, Jeff Hacker of Mount Vernon, Paul Herzog of Troy and Jerry Soehlke of Collinsville;
Officials: Jim Johnson of Hardin;
News Media: Art Voellinger of Belleville.
The banquet on April 30 will start at 6 p.m. Prior to that, the IBCA will play host to a social event during hospitality hour at the Chateau Hotel in Bloomington-Normal. Rooms are available there.
Bruce Firchau, head of the IBCA Hall of Fame, said ticket information is available by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling him at (312) 501-5174. Tickets are $40 per person.
"We only accept the money with the ticket application," Firchau said.
He is also chairman of the IBCA Hall of Fame Museum and said that project is developing nicely.
“The museum progress is moving forward and we are meeting with the architects next week,” Firchau said. The museum will be built in Pontiac.