He was in summer school at Eastern Illinois when Bruce Butler happened upon a Little League baseball game in Charleston.
Next thing he knew, Butler was calling balls and strikes.
"It was 1975," Butler said. "I walked up and asked somebody who was playing, and they pretty much hired me on the spot."
MONTICELLO — Tuscola High School may be entering the final inning of its Okaw Valley Conference membership, but the Warriors aren't yet willing to say game over.
Speculation has swirled in recent weeks that Tuscola will be one of seven schools departing the Okaw to form a league of its own. Athletic director Ryan Hornaday said it wouldn't be his first choice.
What a school year! State championship teams, state championship individuals, top-ranked teams. Underclassmen who have already committed to Division I universities. Athletes who are being wooed by Division I coaches. Some memories are still vivid in our minds. Some had almost been forgotten.
DANVILLE — For all of us, there is a beginning; that magical moment where it all started.
It might have been Day 1 as a student teacher or the first day of an unpaid internship where the duties were to fetch coffee and answer an occasional phone call.
MONTICELLO — The Okaw Valley Conference will start its 87th year of competition in August.
It won't be the last year for the venerable league, but it likely will be the next-to-last in its current 12-school setup.
TUSCOLA — Sophomore Broc Smith, from Tuscola, left last week's News-Gazette Honor Roll meet as the winner of the 200-meter dash. A day later, he learned his time was a meet record.
Unity fishermen move up
TOLONO — Unity's Rockets had the best second-day score of any of the schools competing in the fourth annual IHSA bass fishing state tournament last weekend at Lake Carlyle.
The team's second-day catches weighed in at 15 pounds, 12 ounces and enabled Unity to move from 35th place after the first day to ninth overall.
Bismarck-Henning 12, Hoopeston Area 2. LEXI BALLARD had three hits and an RBI and ASHLEE RONTO added two hits and three RBI to lead the visiting Blue Devils. The Cornjerkers got two hits and an RBI from SYDNEY CLARK.
RANTOUL — The eight-school Corn Belt Conference should stay intact for the foreseeable future, with no immediate plans to expand.
Tigers' Mammen ends unbeaten
CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. — Junior CAMERON MAMMEN, from Urbana, won all seven of his matches at 170 pounds and helped undefeated Team Illinois win the NWCA/USA Scholastic High School Wrestling dual-meet national championship last weekend. Eighteen teams were entered.