FROM THE SOUTHERN ILLINOISIAN NEWSPAPER (November 22, 2011)
HERRIN - It's been Colp's best-kept secret
all these years until now.
The 1941 Herrin Township High School in
Colp was the state basketball champions of the Illinois High School Athletic Association, defeating East St. Louis Lincoln
in the title game, 41-31.
During halftime of Monday's game between
Herrin and Salem in the 2011 Pyramid Pyramid Plus Boys Basketball Tournament at Herrin High School gymnasium, relatives and
friends of players on that championship team were honored.
A 20-by-24-inch picture was displayed, and
fans were asked to stand and join in as the Herrin High School cheerleaders performed the Herrin Loyalty.
There are plans to get the picture blown
up to 4-by-5-feet and mounted on the east Herrin High School gymnasium wall.
"I've been a Colp resident for 46 years
and like most people in Colp now, we didn't even know this happened," said William Perkins.
The fact came to light recently when Alonzo
Willis of Colp produced a picture for local writers who were researching Colp history.
Willis is the son of one
of the team members who has since deceased - Carl Copening.
"He (Copening) said they
went all the way and won it. It was hard fought. They had to battle all the way," Willis said about what
his father told him about that special year.
When asked what it felt it like now to get
the recognition that's been a long time coming, Willis said, "It feels good. I was getting all this information
about what our ancestors accomplished and what they went through. It feels good to get the recognition."
Robert Webb Jr. whose father
Robert Webb Sr. and second cousin Sam Webb played on the team drove from Chicago to attend
"I don't remember him (Robert Sr.)
talking about the championship," Robert Webb Jr. said.
Sam Webb eventually returned
to the area and coached Willie Williams who was a main cog on Herrin's 1957 state championship team.
Williams' sister, Jackie
Williams Ferguson of Marion was also in attendance. Her first cousins William Riggins and James
Miller were members of that championship team.
Dr. Lawrence Hatchett of
Marion who received a basketball scholarship to play at Marquette University shortly after the school claimed a national championship
in 1977, said he was unaware of his father, William Hatchett, playing on that state championship team.
"They always said he was a great baseball
pitcher. That's what everyone talked about. I didn't know much about this," Dr. Hatchett said.
Other members of the championship team coached
by Fred Wood were: Carl Sivels, Norman Underwood, Zenda Harvey, William Riggins, James Miller and