Capturing memories of high school sports
From students to coaches to refs, Lincoln
Presidential Library records history of Illinois sports
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[October 11, 2017]
SPRINGFIELD - The
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library’s Oral History Program is proud
to release a new collection of interviews telling the story of high
school sports in Illinois through the words of students, coaches,
referees, broadcasters and administrators.
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
Bruce Firchau, a basketball coach for 40 years, describing a
breakthrough game for a team with a long history of losing
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
Klett, an athlete who went on to coach and serve as IHSA
president, discussing concerns about student safety.
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.
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.
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Dr. 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,” 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 at
www.oralhistory.illinois.gov. The IHSA interviews are listed under “Sports
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, at 212 N. Sixth St. in
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.
For more information, visit