Illini Legends, Lists and Lore: May 12, 2019

Illini Legends, Lists and Lore: May 12, 2019

Born on this date in 1911 were twin brothers Albert "Chinn" and Alfred "Jake" Kamm.

The 6-foot-1 farm boys attended Atwood High School and led the Rajahs to a pair of Okaw Valley Conferences in both basketball and track. Atwood also advanced to the quarterfinals of the 1930 Illinois high school basketball state tournament, but lost by just two points to Peoria Manual High, the eventual champion that season. In that game, Chinn and Jake scored 12 of their team's 16 points. Chinn also held the Atwood High record in the shot put for more than 70 years.

Though their parents — Adam and Jennie — didn't attend college, Chinn and Jake followed their older brother and sister to the University of Illinois despite the Great Depression that enveloped America at that time. Both received a $400 scholarship to study agriculture.

At UI, they went out for coach Craig Ruby's Illini basketball team. Chinn earned a spot in the starting lineup for the 1932-33 team and both he and his brother were starters in 1933-34. Their biggest victory in '34 came when the Illini scored a 27-26 upset over Big Ten champion Purdue at Huff Gym in the season finale.

Chinn also lettered twice in track and field, first in 1933 for coach Harry Gill, then again in 1934 as the team co-captain for Don Seaton. He won the Big Ten shot put competition outdoors in '33 and finished second indoors in '34. Chinn also placed in the discus.

Chinn went on to a highly successful career in agriculture, serving as a high school teacher before joining the UI extension service at Saline and Piatt Counties. He was chairman of the Piatt County Zoning Board and served on the committee that formed Parkland College. Following his retirement in 1973, Chinn returned to his family homestead where he trained several field trial grand champion English pointers.

After graduating from Illinois, Jake became a cattle farmer and was sales manager for the South Central Illinois Short Horn Breeder Association. He also worked for the U.S. Soil Conservation Service and once served as the president of the Atwood School Board. In 1993, Jake and Chinn were co-grand marshals at Atwood's At-the-Woods Parade.

Chinn died in 1994 at the age of 83, while Jake died 10 years later at 93. They are buried at the Mackville Cemetery in Atwood.

Illini Birthdays:

Today: Josh Jones, track & field (26)

Monday: Randy Cordova, baseball (68)

Tuesday: Mark Kelly, football (53)

Wednesday: Gene Kenney, wrestling (91)

Thursday: Blandon Ferguson, basketball (38)

Friday: Steve Green, football (65)

Saturday: Christen & Natasha Karniski, soccer

By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore (Third Edition now available in stores). Get more Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter@B1GLLL. His website is www.SportsLLL.com.

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