By Mark Jurgena
September 11th will be a celebration of Illinois high school basketball!
While we will never forget the more ominous event associated with that date, fans in Collinsville and the Metro East will have the opportunity to create new memories listening to the star-studded lineup of Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame speakers at Old Herald Brewery & Distillery on Sunday, September 11th.
The Collinsville IBCA Historical Event on that evening will be headlined by past CHS superstar basketball and football player Fred Riddle. Many purple and white backers will remember him as Bogie Redmon’s former Kahok running mate during the 1960-61 state and national championship season.
“Coming back to Collinsville is always like coming back home,” began Riddle who now lives in Iowa City, Iowa. “There are a lot of fond memories for me and my family of being there.”
Riddle, as well as the three other speakers, will have the opportunity to speak and take questions for 30 minutes that evening.
Other IBCA Hall of Famers on the docket include former Carrollton and Edwardsville girls coach Lori Blade who racked up over 700 wins in both basketball and softball along with historians Pat Heston and Matt Wynn. Heston was part of a team of authors for the book 100 Years of March Madness while Wynn recently published a book about legendary coach Rich Herrin.
Former Sports Editor for the Alton Telegraph and IBCA Hall of Fame Media honoree Steve Porter will emcee the proceedings.
“It’s great to have this event to kick off the fall season,” said Porter, a Triad High graduate. “Derik and Whitney (Reiser) are friends of mine at the Old Herald. I’m happy to throw some business their way and talk basketball for people from Madison County.”
The speakers will hold court from 5-7 p.m. that evening. There will be free admission to the event however donations to the Basketball Museum of Illinois will be accepted.
Additionally, Old Herald will have a special food bar for $18 per person from 4-5 p.m. for those wishing to eat prior to the IBCA festivities.
Fans interested in attending the event may need to act fast as attendance for the festivities will be limited to the first 75 people to reserve a spot.
According to Porter, the event at Old Herald will be the third of its type put together this year. The other two were held in Aurora and Rockford. They are the brainchild of Bruce Firchau, the President of the IBCA Hall of Fame. Firchau also serves as the Chairman of the Committee for the Hall of Fame and Museum.
The IBCA’s purpose for these events was two-fold. First, to draw attention to the IBCA Hall of Fame which is now in its 50th year. Second, to give an update to the public on the progress of the physical IBCA Hall of Fame. The site for the Hall is around Bedford Park up in Chicagoland near Interstate 80.
“This will probably be the only one in Southwestern Illinois this year,” Porter said. “I don’t know if there will be one in Centralia or Carbondale, my guess would be it’s doubtful. If you want to see these people or even talk to Bruce a little bit about the IBCA and its mission, about a Hall of Fame museum and things like that. It’ll be a good place to meet and it’s handy.”
And for Kahok fans they will have the chance to hear from one of their own legends.
Riddle, who played both basketball and football for the University of Iowa prior to becoming a dentist, is thrilled to make a return to Collinsville.
“Number one, I think it’s great what’s starting to happen with the basketball hall of fame there in Illinois,” began Riddle. “Number two, our time at Collinsville, coach Fletcher was special. Coach Fletcher and my Dad had a fantastic working relationship. They had coached against each other while my Dad had coached at Madison before becoming principal (at Collinsville). They always had great respect for each other. When my Dad came there as principal, he and Fletch got along really, really well.
“My Dad was able to take some of the pressures of the state tournament and handling of things off of Fletch’s table so he could concentrate on coaching. Needless to say, he was probably the greatest coach ever in Illinois history.”
Fans wishing to reserve a spot to listen to Riddle, Blade, and the other presenters, should RSVP to Porter directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The big thing is that it’s a night to get together, talk basketball, get an update on the IBCA Museum and some of the things the IBCA is doing,” said Porter. “I’m happy to be a part of it and just donate my time and hope to see a lot of people there.”