The Saunemin Lady Eagles also won IHSA hardware and were among the State's elite. The team
of 1982-83 won the Regional title to advance to the Sectional. The coach's name and team record are not available. The
coach of the Lady Eagle teams of 1981 and 1982 is listed as Cheryl Ballinger.
1982-83 Regional Champions
The Saunemin Eagles of 1982-83 followed their excellent basketball season (21-5) with the school's
only Regional Championship in baseball. The Eagles' coach also showed his versatility. After leading
the baskeball team the previous winter, Coach Rick Patarozzi led the troops to the Regional Championship
in the Spring. The team's record is not currently available.
1982-83 Regional Champions
Coach Rick Patarozzi
Girls' Track & Field
One Lady Eagle for Saunemin High brought home a medal from the IHSA State Track Meet. She took full
advantage of her opportunity. Carole Bassett won the State Discus Title in 1978, becoming Saunemin's only State
1977-78 Carole Bassett Discus
STATE CHAMPION !!
Boys' Track & Field
Saunemin High School's track & field success has a long, storied history. Boys were bringing back
State Meet medals since the early 1920s. The list of medalists is extensive for the Eagles and is listed below.
1921B ?? Mitchell
440 Yard Dash
1922B ?? Coss
1923B ?? Coss
120 Yard High Hurdles 4th Place
1924B ?? Byrnes 1
Mile Run 3rd
1929 Paul Carson Long
1976A Mike Billington Long Jump
1978A Mike Billington Long Jump
120 Yard High Hurdles 5th Place
330 Yard Low Hurdles 7th Place
1984A Jeff Schade 330 Yard Low
Hurdles 5th Place
1985A Jeff Schade 300 Yard Low
Hurdles 2nd Place
The following football records for the Saunemin HS grid iron warriors were submitted by our own Tom
1951 7-1 Vermillion Valley Co-Champs
Coach Denny Bassett
Coach Bill Chance
1960 5-3 2nd place Vermillion Valley Coach
1961 6-2 2nd place Vermillion Valley Coach
1965 5-2 3rd place Vermillion Valley Coach
1967 5-3 Coach
Saunemin fielded their last football team in 1969.
Noteable Alumni / People
*Al Rich (Class of 1953) - Bloomington Pantagraph area's second leading scorer
in basketball his senior year.
*Denny Rich (Class of 1976) - Became one of Illinois' premier fast-pitch softball pitchers
playing for the Bloomington Hearts and Decatur Pride.
*Carole Bassett (Pollard) (Class of 1978) - Followed her state championship effort
in the girls shotput in 1978 with a four-year varsity track career at Eastern Illinios University.
*Mike Billington (Class of 1978) - Followed up his incredible five-medal performance
in high school track with a great track and baseball career at Illinois Wesleyan.
*Ron Bull (Class of 1979) - Went on to become an ace fastball
pitcher in the Bloomington area. He led Arby's of Bloomington to a State Title in both 1992 and 1993. He also led
Bloomington Builders in 1995 and The Sibley Merchants in 1997 to State titles. All four years they participated in the National
*Jeff Schade (Class of 1985) - Followed his excellent high school career
as a walk-on member of the University of Illinois Baseball Team, Jeff is currently the owner and
operator of Champion Fitness with centers located throughout central Illinois.
*Vic Johns IV (Pontiac HS Class of 1988) - After completing his first
three years of high school at Saunemin, Vic was one of the first seniors from Saunemin to attend
and graduate from Pontiac High School. Vic also became one of the premier men's fastpitch softball pitchers
in the state, perhaps in the world. He played many years for the Decatur Pride and spent one winter playing in New
Zealand. Vic and his father, Vic Johns III, own and operate a sporting goods store
in Pontiac called Pontiac Sports.
*Paul Ellinger (Saunemin Class of 1976) - Professor
at the University of Illinois,
*Denny Bassett - After leaving SHS as a teacher and coach (1960s), became the Mayor
of Saunemin for many years.
From Tom Demopoulos (Class of 1966):
"We had a great basketball team (my senior year). I only started two games but after high school I went
on to play at Winston Churchill College in Pontiac. I continued my basketball career as a starter for the 7th Infantry
Division in Korea. We were considered a semi-pro team. Others who played on that team included a guy who played at
the University of South Carolina and a guy who played for the Harlem Globetrotters. After finishing my tour
with the Army, I played basketball with several local teams, once scoring 77 points in one game at Pontiac. I also had
the honor of scrimmaging against Doug Collins, the All-American from Illinois State University from where
I graduated. I owe a lot of my success in basketball to Coach Russell Sullivan who pushed me to do
From Pam Haag Geyer (Class of 1970):
"We had lots of good times in that old school, and just knowing my parents walked those same
halls as high school sweethearts was something special. My family has been in this area since the early 1860's.
The gym was referred to as "the pit" by the other teams, because the bleachers were about 6 feet above
the gym floor. When you were in the bleachers you were looking way down at the players. The basketball floor's
out of bounds line was almost all the way to the bleachers, hardly room there for the bench! The players on
the bench had the ends of their shoes sticking out on the basketball floor. That's how tight it was. The bleachers were
hard to navigate, and hard to get in and out of, but we were all used to it them. The radiators at the very top
would burn your fanny as you tried to squeeze through to your seat. So all the windows were wide open even on the coldest
Man, that was the life, and I miss it. I never had a clue back then that memories were being made.
I know now. I guess I thought it would be there forever."