Jim Hallihan is looking forward with great anticipation, enthusiasm and excitement to the Sept. 27-28 weekend when members and Coach Jack Kenny of the 1962 Stephen Decatur state championship basketball team come together for their first-ever team reunion. This is for players and coaches only as they get together for a round of golf and dinner on Saturday, Sept. 28.
This date is a change from the one previously announced. Coach Kenny and Jerry Hill are helping Hallihan and James “Bulldog” Johnson in organizing and arranging the various Saturday events. Golf will probably tee off somewhere around 1 p.m., Hallihan offered, with dinner following at a site to be announced. The dinner will be for 1962 players, coach and guests.
As this is written, Hallihan said these former players have indicated they will attend either all or some of the scheduled events–Kent Ayers, Gary Stewart, Prentis Jones, TJ Jackson, Hill, Bruce Gray, Jack Sunderlik and Coach Kenny. Hallihan left little doubt the purpose of this weekend is to enjoy and celebrate what they achieved in winning that title since this is their first-ever reunion. While Hill, Hallihan, Dr. Lee Endsley and Johnson have had some conversations about how to get city and county coaches involved so they can learn about how the Character Counts group provides leaders for coaches to hold sessions to motivate their athletes. Hallihan has been on the board there for more than 20 years with great success. And that’s where some confusion originated from my recent Irish Stew column about the other schools being involved. Hallihan clarified they are wanting to hold a second session for coaches to come and talk about motivating their student-athletes.
What Hallihan and other organizers are considering, including Johnson, hosting an event either Friday afternoon or Saturday morning for city and county coaches to attend where Hallihan could talk about how character counts. He’s been on the Character Counts board in Iowa for more than 20 years where they host events to engage coaches on how they can motivate their young athletes. Coaches are the ones who are with these kids, who know how to reach out to them in ways they understand, said Hallihan. He also indicated if former Eisenhower and District 61 Hall of Famer Roe Skidmore wants to attend the Character Counts event, he’s welcome.
During our recent conversation, Hallihan spoke of the six pillars of character: Trustworthiness Respect Responsibility Fairness Caring Citizenship Hallihan said if there is sufficient interest in holding such an event at a site and time to be determined he can provide materials to distribute to the coaches, who are interested in learning about the Character Counts organization and what they do to assist coaches with their motivating their student-athletes. “We’re trying to make a difference,” said Hallihan in our recent chat about what he hopes can be achieved with those coaches, who want to participate. He’s trying to figure out a day and time that coaches can come since Friday nights are football events. That’s why he’s considering either Friday afternoon or Saturday morning for such a Character Counts session with them.