Wednesday, April 8, 2020
US flag

Lincoln Library has oral history of IL h.s. sports

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library’s Oral History Program has published an extensive collection of interviews with transcripts to tell the story of high school sports in Illinois through the words of students, coaches, referees, broadcasters, and administrators, the library announced in a press release.

The project, “Sports Stories: IHSA,” features 54 interviews about activities sanctioned by the Illinois High School Association. Listeners will meet people like:

  • Dorothy Gaters, winner of more than 1,000 basketball games as a coach, explaining the values instilled by participating in sports
  • Bruce Firchau, a basketball coach for 40 years, describing a breakthrough game for a team with a long history of losing
  • Peg Kopec, who coached her volleyball teams to 12 state championships, reflecting on the growth of volleyball after the 1972 passage of Title IX legislation
  • Spalding “Lanny” Slevin sharing stories from a 40-year broadcast career, including an amazing moment between a never-give-up player and an opposing coach
  • Dan Klett, an athlete who went on to coach and serve as IHSA president, discussing concerns about student safety.
  • Bruce Howard, director of publications and communications of the National Federation of State High School Associations

The Illinois High School Association was founded in 1900 and today administers nearly 30 sports, plus student activities such as chess, debate and journalism.

“High school sports play a huge role in the lives of individual students and entire communities. The people involved in sports have fascinating, important stories to share, and our Oral History Program has captured them for generations to come,” said Alan Lowe, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Mark DePue, head of the presidential library’s Oral History Program, praised volunteer Philip Pogue for conducting the interviews. “Phil has done an amazing job organizing the project and finding the right people to interview. His hard work preserves voices and details that would otherwise be lost to time,” Mr DePue said.

“For more than a hundred years high school sports and activities have played an important part in American culture,” said IHSA Assistant Executive Director and historian Scott Johnson. “The IHSA is grateful that the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library has chosen to preserve the stories, and histories, of so many people who have dedicated their careers to interscholastic competition.”

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library’s Oral History Program can be found by pointing your browser at a special illinois.gov subdomain created for the oral histories​. The IHSA interviews are listed under “Sports Stories.”

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, at 212 N Sixth Street, Springfield, is dedicated to telling the story of America’s 16th president through old-fashioned scholarship and modern technology. It also serves as the state historical library.

The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln material, as well as some 12 million items pertaining to other aspects of Illinois history. Meanwhile, the museum uses traditional exhibits, eye-catching special effects and innovative story-telling techniques to educate visitors.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Vertical addition (m3.nbt.2) math practice

3rd grade, numbers and operations in base 10, 2, 3-digit vertical addition practice problem

Rubber ducks (m3.oa.1) math practice

3rd grade, operational and algebraic thinking, 1, rubber ducky modeling practice problem

Distance learning begins as Covid-19 thrives

What we learn during & from coronavirus, a challenging & imminent crisis, will provide insights into so many aspects of our lives.

Calif. h.s. choir sings with social distancing

Performances with the assistance of technology can spread inspiration across the globe even as the coronavirus spreads illness and disease.

Families plan to stay healthy during closures

Although schools are doing what they can to keep students learning and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak, that duty now shifts to parents.

Illinois temporarily closes all schools

IL schools will be closed on Tuesday, March 17, through at least March 30. Schools in 18 states are now closed due to coronavirus.

Coronavirus closures & cancellations

Many schools are closed and sports tournaments cancelled across America during what the president called a national emergency: coronavirus.

Coronavirus closes schools in Seattle

The coronavirus pandemic has caused colleges to cancel classes, and now Seattle Public Schools became the nation's first large district to cancel classes due to the virus.

Most detailed images ever of the sun

A new telescope at the National Solar Observatory snapped the most detailed pictures of the sun's surface we have ever seen.

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.

Md. & IL bands perform on New Year’s in...

Bands from IL and Md. once again entertained thousands of people who lined the streets of London and Rome on New Year's Day.