San Jose High School "Red Devils"

Closed High Schools Alumni Apparel
IN THE BEGINNING - Where Closed High Schools Consolidated To
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San Jose High School
December 2005 - Photo by Jon Wheat

San Jose HS Complex 2014
Submitted by Gerry Halpin

San Jose High School

The History of San Jose High School
San Jose (population 696) is located in central Illinois approximately 25 miles due south of Peoria. U.S. Route 136 is the main roadway leading to and from San Jose (pronounced San Joes). Interstate Highway 155 is situated 7 miles to the east of San Jose and Illinois Route 29 passes by one mile to the west of San Jose.  The actual north/south road that passes through town is known as Townline Road. San Jose straddles the northern portion of the east/west border line between Mason and Logan Counties. The Illinois Central Gulf Railroad also passes through San Jose.
                                History of the San Jose School System
                             (provided by Jon, Jim, & Judy (Page) Wheat) 
Matthew Bolland arrived in San Jose in 1887, and as teacher and principal introduced work at the 9th and 10th grade levels. In the fall of 1889, he started the first class, graduating three students in 1892. A new brick building was constructed in 1892 which eventually became the elementary school.
Until 1916 there had been only one high school teacher--Will Hullinger served as teacher and superintendent. By 1917 the building had become so overcrowded that an addition was built to the north. It was in 1930-31 when the first separate high school building was constructed. In 1935, the high school gym was built at the cost of $27,000. The school complex was set majestically on a hill on the west side of San Jose.
In 1949, Unit District #122 was formed, containing 69 sections in three counties: Mason, Logan, and Tazewell, and the rural schools were closed. The District survived until the formation of the Illini Central School District in 1989. San Jose High School graduated a total of 1,458 students during its existence with the largest class being the Class of 1974 and its 36 graduates.

San Jose High School Rear Photo
Taken By Jon Wheat - December 2005

It was in the mid-1980s when San Jose along with nearby Easton and Mason City began talks of consolidating their school districts. The talks became a reality after the 1988-89 school year. In the spring of 1989 it was decided to create a new school district to be named the Illini Central School District.
The high school for Illini Central was located in Mason City. Sadly neither school building in San Jose was used for the newly formed Illini Central School District. The San Jose High School building was sold to a private citizen and is seen as it looks today in the photos to the above right and below the school fight song. The photos were taken and provided by Jon Wheat in December of 2005..The San Jose Grade School building pictured at the bottom of this page is currently used as an apartment building.  
San Jose High School Quick Facts
Year opened:                       late 1800s
Year closed:                        1989
Consolidated to:                   Illini Central School District (Mason City)
San Jose school nickname:  the "Red Devils"
School colors:                     Red & White
School Fight Song:              "Come On, San Jose"
                                            (SUNG TO "ON WISCONSIN" - Click Play Button Below and Sing Along)
                                          Come on, San Jose
                                          Dear old, San Jose
                                          Break right through that line
                                          Pass the ball around the others
                                          Basket sure this time.
                                          Rah Rah Rah!
                                          Come on, San Jose
                                          Dear old, San Jose
                                          Fight on for your fame
                                          Fight, Devils! Fight! Fight! Fight!
                                          We'll win this game! 

San Jose HS Jacket Embroidery
Courtesy of Anthony Friend

San Jose had MANY successful seasons competing in athletics. Like most small schools, basketball is the most recorded and probably the most followed sport in town. San Jose competed in basketball, baseball, track, and later in girls' softball and volleyball. It is possible that San Jose co-oped some sports but this information is not verified as of this writing. 
San Jose was a member of the Mackinaw Valley Conference, along with Deer Creek-Mackinaw High School, Minier, Armington, Hopedale, Green Valley, and Delavan. 
Boys Basketball
The San Jose High School boys basketball teams ruled their small school area in the 1940s and 1950s. Between 1939-40 and 1954-55, the teams won a total of NINE District titles and one Regional title. The boys added two more Districts and a Regional in the 1960s!  Long-time coach Doug Coriell had several solid seasons at the helm. 
Coriell's 1968-69 team appears to be the school's best of all time. After finishing the regular season undefeated the San Jose boys cruised to the District title and proceeded to beat the "big boys" in the Regional before falling in the Sectional. Their final record was an astonishing 28-1!  The boys of 1945-46 also won their District and subsequent Regional before falling in the Sectional. Information is needed as to the facts of this and other great San Jose teams. Coaches names and records of some squads are not currently available.
1930-31               Mason Co. Tourney Runnersup     coach unknown
1939-40   27 - 4    District Champions                    Coach Maurice T. Root
1940-41   22 - 3    District Champions                    Coach Maurice T. Root 
1941-42   19 - 6    District Champions                    Coach Maurice T. Root
1942-43   21 - 3    District Champions                    Coach Maurice T. Root
1943-44   15 - 10                                                    Coach Maurice T. Root 
1945-46   34 - 3    District Champions                    Coach Harold Goben 
                           Regional Champions
                           *Win over Pekin during the season-
                            -quite an accomplishment!
1946-47  24 - 5     District Champions                     Coach James E. Murphy
1950-51               District Champions
1952-53  10 - 15   District Champions                     Coach Bob Hildebrand
1954-55  21 - 8     District Champions                     Coach George Stimeling
1955-56  17 - 12                                                      Coach Geroge Stimeling
1964-65  18 - 7                                                        Coach William Bostwick
1965-66  19 - 8     District Champions                     Coach Doug Coriell
1966-67  19 - 7                                                        Coach Doug Coriell
1967-68  21 - 4                                                        Coach Doug Coriell
1968-69  28 - 1     Undefeated Regualar Season     Coach Doug Coriell
                           District Champions
                           Regional Champions
1969-70  13 - 11                                                       Coach Doug Coriell
1970-71  13 - 11                                                       Coach Doug Coriell
1973-74  16 - 9                                                         Coach Doug Coriell
1974-75  16 - 9                                                         Coach Doug Coriell
1976-77  15 - 9                                                         Coach Doug Coriell
1977-78  12 - 12                                                       Coach Doug Coriell
1981-82  12 - 12                                                       Coach Wally Utich
1982-83  15 - 11                                                       Coach Doug Coriell
1986-87  12 - 13                                                       Coach Dan Dhobalt
1988-89    7 - 14          School's Last Season              Coach Mark Tovey
**San Jose won the Mason County tourney titles in 1940, 1941, 1943, 1947, 1950, 1967, 1968, and 1969. The Red Devils finished second in 9 other Mason County tournaments!! (thank you to Phil Shadid for this research)
*Coach Maurice T. Root's overall record from 1936 through 1944 was an excellent 130 - 64!! This included four District Championships. 
*Coach Doug Coriell coached for 18 seasons at San Jose High School.  He led the troops from 1965-66 to 1980-81 before taking a year off and coming back for two more seasons, 1982-83 and 1983-84. His overall record at San Jose was 229 - 211.
Boys Baseball
The San Jose High baseball team won back-to-back District titles in the early 1940s. Unfortunately there are no team records available on these and other great San Jose teams.
1942-43            District Champions                                       Coach Maurice Root
1943-44            District Champions                                       Coach Maurice Root
1967-68            Mackinaw Valley Conference Co-Champs
Boys Cross Country
The San Jose harriers had one athlete medal in cross country at the IHSA State Meet. John Waller accomplished this feat in 1985.
1985-86       John Waller      21st Place at IHSA Class "A" State Meet
Boys Track & Field
Two San Jose tracksters won medals at the IHSA Track & Field Meet as well. Eddie Meyers won the Class "B" State Championship in the 440 Yard Dash in 1925! Jim Yontz followed that with a 2nd place finish in the mile in 1933 in the one-class system.
1924-25B    Charles Meyers   440 Yard Run         STATE CHAMPION!!
1932-33      Jim Yontz            1 Mile Run             2ND Place
**Track facts from Jim Wheat:
*Jim Yontz’s (1933)  2nd place finish in the State had a recorded time of 4:32.5.
*Dale Engelhorn (1933) and Dale Moehring (1964) hold the school record for the 100 yard dash at 10.0. sec (That was on cinders)!
*Engelhorn also holds the school record in the 220 yard dash in 22.0 sec. also on cinders, ( 1933).
*Engelhorn and Moehring also share the long jump record of 21 ft 7 1/2 in.
These records were established some 56 and 25 years by these 3 athletes, and stood long before the school closed in 1989.
Extra-Curricular Activities
San Jose High School had a great deal of opportunities to offer for its students. The school offered band, chorus, student government, and FHA. There was also a very strong Future Farmers of America (FFA) program at SJHS.
Annual recognitions such as valedictorian were made as well. Anthony Friend was the final recipient of this award in 1989. 

San Jose High School FFA Jacket
Courtesy of Anthony Friend

Red Devil Spirit as Strong as Ever!
The San Jose Alumni Association is still alive and well. There is a gathering of alumni at the San Jose United Methodist Church every year, the first Saturday in April, unless it falls on Easter Weekend, then San Jose grads meet the Saturday a week prior to Easter. The 2005 honorees were members of the 1969 Basketball team and there were 250 in attendance. Normally each year an average of around 175 still attend.
Special Thank You 
Thank you to Jon, Jim, and Judy (Page) Wheat for their many contributions to the San Jose Red Devils page!
If You Have ANY Further Information Regarding San Jose High School...
...please write to us via e-mail at You can also write to us via real mail at:
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il.  60631

San Jose HS Building 2014
Photo by Gerry Halpin

San Jose Gym Entrance 2014
Submitted by Gerry Halpin

San Jose HS Side View 2014
Photo by Gerry Halpin

San Jose Grade School
San Jose, Illinois