Divernon High School "Dragons" & "Lady Dragons"

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Divernon High School Complex
divernonhscomplexdav.jpg
As viewed at http://www.divy.net

Original Divernon High School Building
divernonhsbldg1912dav.jpg
Submitted by Phil Shadid

The History of Divernon High School
 
Divernon (population 1,201) is located in central Illinois about ten miles south of Springfield.  The town sits in the southeast corner of Sangamon County.  Interstate Highway 55 is the main roadway that will lead you to Divernon.  Illinois Route 104 passes by town about 1 1/2 miles to the north.  The Illinois Central Railroad parts the middle of town traveling to the north and south. Brush Creek flows to the west of Divernon.
 
Divernon was likely established in the late 1800s.  We are told the town was named after a character in a book titled "Rob Roy".  The character's name is Diane Vernon.  The town was also once a stop along the historic U.S. Route 66. 
 
Divernon residents likely started a school system for their children in the late 1800s. It was not until the very early 1900s that high school curriculum was established.  We do not have th exact year that a high school was established, but we do know that Divernon lists its first high school graduate as earning her diploma in 1904. 
 
Divernon High School has fourished and served the residents of the community and surrounding farm country for over 100 years.  It was in the early years of the 21st centrury that the future of the school district seemed in doubt.  Financial concerns, dwindling enrollment, and inability to offer students what some considered a well-rounded education took their toll.  In October of 2006 it was announced that the Divernon School District would be deactivated.
 
The Divernon School District has been annexed into the Auburn School District.  The DHS Class of 2007 was the last to earn their diplomas as the school closed in June of 2007. 
 
The Divernon High School building will continue in a useful capacity, serving as the Auburn Junior High School for grades 7 and 8.  Divernon kids in grades PK - 3 will attend school in Divernon as well.   
 
Divernon High School Quick Facts
 
Year opened:                         early 1900s (1st alum graduated in 1904)
Year closed:                          2007
Consolidated to:                     Auburn School District
Divernon HS team nickname:  the "Dragons" and "Lady Dragons"
Divernon HS team colors:       Blue & Gold
Divernon HS fight song:          unavailable
ATHLETICS
 
The Divernon High School Dragons and Lady Dragons had some real nice seasons.  The boys definitely competed in baseball, basketball, football and track.  The girls have IHSA seasonal records listed in softball and volleyball.  We are certain the girls competed in basketball and track as well.  Other sports may have been offered at the school throughout the years.  We are in need of the school's fight song lyrics and coach's names of several different seasons of several of the sports.  
 
BOYS BASEBALL
 
The hardballers of Divernon High have two seasons listed on the IHSA website(www.ihsa.org).   The boys of 1996-97 had a record of 15 - 6 under the leadership of Coach Jeff Marsaglia.  Other team records and coach's names are welcome and will be added if submitted.
 
1996-97   15 - 6                                            Coach Jeff Marsaglia
2005-06     5 - 15
 
BOYS BASKETBALL
 
Judging by the great coverage of this sport on the IHSA website, our guess is that Divernon residents loved their basketball. During many of the seasons the Dragons did not disappoint!  Overall the program won a total of FOUR District titles and THREE Regional Championships!!  There were also FIVE 20+ games-won seasons listed.  The records of the District Championship teams of 1938, 1943, and 1950 might add to that mark as well.
 
1912-13   10 - 2
1913-14     7 - 1
 
1919-20   11 - 3         Sangamon Cnty. Tourney Champs!  Coach George Bradley
 
1933-34                    Sangamon Cnty. Tourney Champs!
 
1937-38                    District Champions
 
1938-39   24 - 3         District Champions
                               Sangamon Cnty. Tourney Champs!
 
1939-40                    Sangamon Cnty. Tourney Champs!
 
1942-43                    District Champions
 
1945-46                    Sangamon Cnty. Tourney Champs!
  
1949-50                    District Champions

 
1960-61   10 - 14
1963-64     2 - 19
1964-65                                                                             Coach Jay Lorton
1967-68     3 - 20
1968-69     2 - 19                                                                Coach Mike Boyer
1969-70   10 - 14                                                                Coach Al Taylor
1970-71   17 - 7                                                                  Coach Al Taylor
1971-72   18 - 5                                                                  Coach Al Taylor
1972-73   16 - 10                                                                Coach Al Taylor
1973-74   15 - 9                                                                  Coach Al Taylor
1974-75   17 - 8                                                                  Coach Al Taylor
 
1975-76   24 - 3         Regional Champions                        Coach Al Taylor
                               Sangamon Cnty. Tourney Champs!   
                                Lost in 1st Rd of Sectional
                                Piasa (Southwestern) 66-63

1976-77     8 - 14                                                                Coach Gene Woodward
1977-78     4 - 18                                                                Coach Gene Woodward
1978-79     2 - 19                                                                Coach Greg Lipe
1979-80   10 - 15                                                                Coach Bob Elkin
1980-81   11 - 14                                                                Coach Jim Edmonds
1981-82   13 - 12                                                                Coach Jim Edmonds
1982-83     9 - 14                                                               Coach Marty Miller
1983-84     6 - 16                                                               Coach Marty Miller
1984-85     5 - 17                                                               Coach Carey McVickers
1985-86     9 - 13                                                               Coach Carey McVickers
1986-87     6 - 16                                                               Coach Carey McVickers
1987-88     4 - 19                                                               Coach Carey McVickers
1988-89     4 - 19                                                               Coach Mark Verticchio
1989-90     2 - 20                                                               Coach Kent Leninger
1990-91                                                                            Coach Kent Leninger
1991-92     9 - 14                                                               Coach Jeff Stevens
1992-93   10 - 15                                                               Coach Jeff Stevens
1993-94     6 - 17                                                               Coach Jeff Stevens
1994-95   17 - 9                                                                 Coach Jeff Stevens
 
1995-96   21 - 7         Regional Champions                       Coach Jeff Stevens
 
1996-97   23 - 6         Regional Champions                       Coach Jeff Stevens

1997-98     7 - 21                                                               Coach Jeff Stevens
1998-99     5 - 21                                                               Coach Jeff Stevens
1999-00   11 - 16                                                               Coach Jeff Marsaglia
2000-01     3 - 24                                                               Coach Jeff Marsaglia
2001-02     6 - 22                                                               Coach Jeff Marsaglia
2002-03     9 - 19                                                               Coach Jeff Marsaglia
2003-04   21 - 9                                                                 Coach Steve Allen
2004-05   16 - 12                                                               Coach Steve Allen
2006-07     8 - 19                                                               Coach Jeff Stevens
 
Sangamon County Tournament
 
Divernon played well in this tournament in the 1930s and 1940s.  The boys won the championship a total of five times, as research was completed by Mark Jurenga:
 
Five championships  -  1920*, 1934, 1939, 1940, 1946, 1976
One 2nd Place finish
Five 3rd Place finishes
Five 4th Place finishes
 
Our good friend Phil Shadid tells us of Divernon's 1920 Sangamon County Basketball Championship:
 
DIVERNON, SANGAMON COUNTY BASKETBALL CHAMPS, 1920:

In a basketball tournament that until now had been lost to history, Divernon won the very FIRST Sangamon County championship in 1920, five years before the official start of the annual tourney. In January 1920 the Illinois State Journal (Springfield) reported that “some of the county schools are going to compete in a basketball tournament which they hope will become an annual endeavor.”

The tournament was scheduled to be played in February at Springfield’s YMCA with Auburn, Chatham, Dawson, Divernon, Illiopolis, Mechanicsburg, New Berlin and Pawnee taking part. Pleasant Plains, Riverton, Rochester and Williamsville decided not to send their teams to the tourney.

But tournament officials had to postpone the original dates because the Flu epidemic that winter had severely effected the Chatham, Illiopolis and Pawnee teams.

Finally, the tournament took place on March 11-12, 1920, a week after the state District tournaments concluded. None of the county teams had advanced in the Districts.

Before a packed house at the YMCA, favored New Berlin, led by legendary coach Homer Bartholomew, opened with a 23-14 win over Illiopolis, even though Junior star forward Roy Breeding and Illiopolis’ Red Delaney were thrown out of the game, with five minutes left, for fighting. (They had briefly exchanged punches earlier in the game, but the referee had not seen the altercation.) Auburn (rated second) and Dawson won their games, and third-ranked Divernon breezed to a 30-10 trouncing of Chatham.

That night (March 11) New Berlin easily beat Dawson (29-12) in a semi-final and the next afternoon Divernon pulled a mild upset with a 14-9 win over Auburn in the other semi-final. The night of March 12, the “Dragons” beat New Berlin by a lopsided score of 21-8 to claim the championship. Robert Brown led the way with 8 points for Divernon while Breeding had 6 for the losers. The Journal reported: “Team work (for New Berlin) which showed in the tournament, was not so obvious in the final game. They seemed cold. Divernon broke up play after play, and stands out supreme as the Sangamon champion.”

Divernon placed three on the All-County 10-man tournament team ( Virgil Case, Llewellyn Dean and Harvey Starkweather).

Divernon’s rich basketball history will now include a SIXTH county championship to their credit: 1920, along with 1934, 1939, 1940, 1946, 1976.

 
BOYS FOOTBALL
 
There were not any great records listed on the Divernon High School football stats listed on the IHSA website.  It is actually quite a statement to the Divernon school that the school maintained a football program into the 1980s. We are certain that they were likely never the larger of the two schools stepping on the field on any given Friday night.  We are also certain there were some real nice seasons in the school's storied history.  If you have this information, please drop us an e-mail.
 
1977-78    1 - 8                                                  Coach Coy Angelo
1978-79    1 - 8                                                  Coach Coy Angelo
1979-80    1 - 8                                                  Coach Coy Angelo
1980-81    0 - 9    
1981-82    0 - 9
 
GIRLS SOFTBALL
 
Two Regional Championships highlighted the Lady Dragons of the softball diamond.  These are currently the only two seasons we have information about.  Season records and coach's names are needed to complete this sport's history at DHS.
 
1990-91   14 - 6       Regional Champions
1997-98                  Regional Champions         Coach Daillen Pomerenke
 
GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
 
The Lady Dragon netters had some excellent seasons during the 1980s and early 1990s under the coaching of Shelli WilmarthThe team of 1998-99 even earned an IHSA Regional title.  
 
1982-83   10 - 11                                                  Coach Shelli Wilmarth
1983-84   11 - 12                                                  Coach Shelli Wilmarth
1984-85     5 - 12                                                  Coach Shelli Wilmarth
1985-86   12 - 12                                                  Coach Shelli Wilmarth
1986-87     8 - 14                                                  Coach Shelli Wilmarth
1987-88   12 - 12                                                  Coach Shelli Wilmarth
1988-89   17 - 8                                                    Coach Shelli Wilmarth
1989-90   14 - 11                                                  Coach Shelli Wilmarth
1990-91   16 - 9                                                    Coach Shelli Wilmarth
1991-92   23 - 6                                                    Coach Shelli Wilmarth
1992-93   23 - 7                                                    Coach Shelli Wilmarth
1993-94   22 - 6                                                    Coach Shelli Wilmarth
 
1998-99   28 - 8         Regional Champions          (Coach's name unavailable)
2006-07   21 - 10       School's Final Year               Coach Linda Regan
 
BOYS TRACK & FIELD
 
1933-34     Individual Medalist          Bukant         Shot Put       4TH Place
 
INDIVIDUAL EVENTS
 
1948    Individual Medalist       Blanche Dickey        Serious Category     5TH Place
 
FOR THE RECORD
 
The following facts about Divernon High School's final school year were provided to us by Phil Shadid:
 
"A total of 14 seniors graduated in May 2007.  A total of 70 students were in the high school when it closed. The girls volleyball record for their final season, 2006-07: 21-10. The boys basketball record for their final season, 2006-07: 8-19. Other sports for boys and girls were played, but only as a co-op arrangement with Auburn or Pawnee.
 
Ironically, the final home game of any sport ever played in the Divernon gym was in February 2007, when the boys lost to Springfield Ursuline, 69-48.  The Ursuline team did not know at that time, that their own school would be closing the same time as Divernon."
 
Need More Information
 
The folks who worked to make Divernon High School a reality and a success should not be forgotten. There are many missing items that should be shared and remembered forever. If you have this information, please e-mail it to us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net or write to us at:
 
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il.  60631