Collinsville, Illinois – December 28, 2022 – The Collinsville Community Unit School District #10 Kahok Hall of Fame announced the 2023 inaugural class of inductees during a halftime ceremony at the Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament in Fletcher Gymnasium at Collinsville High School.
The Hall of Fame was established in May 2022 “to recognize athletic and personal accomplishments, exemplary citizenship, contributions to society and actions that brought distinction and honor to all associated with Collinsville Community Unit School District #10.”
Beginning in June 2022, nominations for the 2023 class of inductees were solicited from the public. In September, the eleven members of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee – four from the school district and seven representing the community at large – began the formidable task of selecting the inaugural class of Hall of Fame inductees from a lengthy list of worthy individuals and teams.
To be eligible, a candidate must have graduated from Collinsville High School, worked for Collinsville CUSD #10 or be affiliated with the Collinsville CUSD #10 communities. Individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame must be at least (thirty) 30 years of age prior to being inducted.
The Collinsville CUSD 10 Kahok Hall of Fame has two divisions:
- Distinguished: Individuals are recognized for community service, academic achievement, professional accomplishment and/or school district employment.
- Athletic: Individuals, teams and coaches are recognized for their success and accomplishments.
“Our district has a long and storied list of alumni, residents, students and employees who are worthy of recognition for their community service, academic achievement, professional accomplishments and service to the district; and a long history of student athletes, alumni and coaches that have experienced a great deal of athletic success and accomplishments,” said Superintendent Dr. Mark B. Skertich.
“It was a challenge and an honor for the committee to review and discuss so many deserving Kahoks to create the first class of Hall of Fame inductees,” added Skertich, “We look forward to the community reminiscing and celebrating these individuals and teams with us.”
2023 Collinsville CUSD 10 Kahok Hall of Fame Inductees:
Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Athletic Achievement): A 2008 graduate of Collinsville High School, Bartsch-Hackley is a professional volleyball player. In addition to many high school, college and professional accolades, Bartsch-Hackley earned a gold medal at the 2022 Tokyo Olympics with the US Women’s National Team.
Terry Bethel (Athletic Achievement): Bethel, a 1957 Collinsville graduate, was a first team All-American basketball player in 1957, as well as All-State in 1956 and 1957. He was an initial inductee into the Illinois High School Basketball Hall of Fame.
Donald Bitzer (Distinguished Achievement): A 1951 graduate of Collinsville Township High School, Bitzer is widely known as the “Father of PLATO” having co-invented the PLATO Computer System (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations). PLATO was the first system to combine graphics and a touch sensitive screen.
Irving Dilliard (Distinguished Achievement): Dilliard was a 1923 graduate of Collinsville Township High School. He became an accomplished writer, editor and well-known authority on the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court.
Walter “Hoot” Evers (Athletic Achievement): Evers graduated from Collinsville Township High School in 1938. He excelled in multiple high school and college sports. Evers served his country in WW2, and returned to play, coach and hold executive positions in major league baseball.
Arthur Fletcher (Athletic Achievement): Born in 1885, raised and educated in Collinsville, Arthur Fletcher was a professional baseball player from 1909 to 1922. He later coached in the major leagues, including with the New York Yankees from 1927-1945 when they won ten American League pennants and nine World Series championships.
Vergil Fletcher (Athletic Achievement): Vergil Fletcher’s legendary career at Collinsville High School ran from 1946-47 through 1977-78 He was head basketball coach for 32 years, including two state championships, and head football coach for 20 years. Renowned for coaching basketball, Fletcher earned a winning percentage of .814 at the helm of Kahok Basketball. Among his many accolades, Fletcher was named to the charter class of the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame in 1973 and the 100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament in 2006. Fletcher was inducted into the National Federation of High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1983.
Moses Harrison II (Distinguished Achievement): A member of the Collinsville Township High School Class of 1950, Judge Harrison is the only Collinsville graduate to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court. He was Chief Justice from 2000 until 2002.
Tom Jager (Athletic Achievement): Record setting swimmer Tom Jager is a 1982 graduate of Collinsville High School. He earned NCAA individual championships, was named 1984 Pacific-Ten Conference Swimmer of Year, and was an eleven-time United States National Open Champion. A multiple-year Olympian, Jager won seven Olympic medals for the United States.
Richard Mark (Distinguished Achievement): A 1973 CHS graduate, Richard Mark has had an exemplary civic and business career. His professional positions included CEO of St. Mary’s Hospital in East St. Louis and President/Chairman of Ameren Illinois. Mark has earned numerous civic awards and recognition for philanthropic efforts.
George Musso (Athletic Achievement): Musso was a football player and 1929 grad of Collinsville Township High School. He was a standout at Milliken College and All-Pro player during his 12-season career with the Chicago Bears. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982.
Bogie Redmon (Athletic Achievement): A 1961 grad, Redmon was an All-State athlete in football and basketball, and All-America in basketball. His role with the 1961 undefeated state and national champion Kahoks Basketball team earned many tributes, including a spot on the IHSA Top 100 All-Time List. His storied basketball career continued at University of Illinois, where Redmon is listed on the Fighting Illini Basketball All-Century team.
Joe Reiniger (Athletic Achievement): Reiniger is a 1989 Collinsville High School graduate, where he was a two-time soccer All-American and member of the 1986 state championship team. His notable career continued at SIUE, then for 13-years as a professional soccer player and coach. He is in the SIUE and St. Louis Sports Halls of Fame. Reiniger influences future generations of soccer players through the Gateway Rush Soccer Club.
Fred Riddle (Athletic Achievement): Riddle graduated in 1961 from CHS where he was named All-State in football and basketball. He was one of the rare individuals who continued to play both football and basketball in college at the University of Iowa. In 1963, Riddle set a then-Big Ten record by throwing five touchdowns in a single game.
John Shimkus (Distinguished Achievement): Upon graduation from Collinsville High School in 1976, Shimkus accepted an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Following military service, he worked in several local government roles before being elected to the US House of Representative in 1997. He retired from Congress in 2021, after serving all or part of the CUSD 10 community during his 24 years in office.
Lucille Stehman (Distinguished Achievement): Lucille (McLanahan) Stehman, a 1936 Collinsville Township High School graduate, is recognized for her outstanding career of service and work as a Collinsville area historian who helped preserve Collinsville’s rich history for future generations. She produced “Collinsville: A Pictorial History” in 1992.
Mathew Welch (Distinguished Achievement): A 1910 graduate of Collinsville Township High School, Welch was a member of the school’s first boys basketball team, as well as the baseball and track teams. He played on the Illinois Wesleyan University conference champion baseball team and served in WWI. Welch practiced law in Collinsville and served as the Assistant State’s Attorney for Madison County, in addition to holding leadership roles in local civic endeavors and fraternal organizations of his era.
1941 Baseball Team (Athletic Achievement): The 1940-41 Kahok baseball team won the first state championship in school history. After graduation, many members served in World War II.
1961 Basketball Team (Athletic Achievement): The 1960-61 Kahok boys basketball team was an undefeated state champion at 32-0 and was crowned the #1 high school team in the nation that year. The 1960-61 Kahoks are remembered as one of the finest teams in Illinois high school basketball history. Under the direction of fabled coach Vergil Fletcher, the team included two All-Americans: Bogie Redmon and Fred Riddle.
1981 Soccer Team (Athletic Achievement): The 1981-82 Kahok boys soccer team was the first Kahok soccer team to win a state championship in soccer. They finished the season with a record of 24-2-2 and won their three state tournament games by a total combined score of 8-1.
2010 Girls Bowling Team (Athletic Achievement): To date, the 2009-2010 Collinsville High School Girls Bowling Team is the only IHSA state championship girls team in Collinsville’s history. In addition to the championship that year, the Lady Kahok Bowlers set the record for the highest pinfall in state finals history.
Collinsville High School Athletic Director Clayton Smith said, “The Kahok Athletic Department is excited to share the pride, history, and tradition with our inaugural class and community. Collinsville Community Unit 10 has so much to be proud of! Sharing the history and past accomplishments with our current students will teach them the importance of what it means to be a Kahok, and give them a sense of pride to carry on past traditions started before them.”
“Our district has so much rich history. We look forward to commemorating the inaugural class of 2023 and honoring more outstanding Kahoks in the years to come,” said Skertich.
Hall of Fame Dinner
The 2023 class of inductees will be honored at the First Annual Collinsville CUSD 10 Kahok Hall of Fame Dinner on February 16, 2023 at Gateway Center in Collinsville. Seating for the event is limited. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased on GoFan: https://gofan.co/app/events/745197?schoolId=IL24016
Collinsville Area Community Foundation
The Collinsville CUSD 10 Kahok Hall of Fame is supported through the Collinsville Area Community Foundation (CAF) works to enhance the quality of life for the communities of Collinsville, Maryville, Caseyville, Fairmont City and surrounding areas by promoting impartial, unbiased and ethical philanthropy, with a commitment to inclusiveness and diversity, by bringing together people and resources that identify and address present and emerging school and community needs. For information, visit: https://www.collinsvillefoundation.com/