Gillespie Community School District recently held its firstt inaugural class of its “Athletic Wall of Fame” on October 1, 2023. The inductees were invited to participate in the Homecoming Parade and then a “meet and greet” at the high school football game.
Here is a list of the inductees and a brief biography of their accomplishments.
Sam Anderson graduated from Benld in 1952. He participated in football, baseball, basketball, and track for 4 years earning all-conference in three sports and All-State in football and basketball. He was a St. Louis Browns professional baseball tryout and played basketball at St Louis University for one year and Eastern Illinois University football for two years. He scored over 1300 career points in high school basketball.
Keith Parker graduated from Gillespie in 1940. He participated in football, basketball, and track and earned nine varsity letters. He played football at University of Missouri and National Champion Purdue University for one year each. He was drafted by the Baltimore Colts. He was a football and basketball official for 41 years and inducted into Granite City Hall of Fame, Missouri Football Hall of Fame, NFHS Hall of Fame, and Greater St Louis Hall of Fame.
Lisa (Ribes) Roberts was a graduate of Gillespie HS in 1996. She participated in multiple sports including four yrs in track. She holds the school record in 1600 and 3200 meters. She ran track at SIUE for 4 years and is a professional Tri-Athlete and 6x Iron Man Champion. She has participated in over 100 triathlons around the world and holds multiple Iron Man course records.
Jim Hlafka graduated from Gillespie in 1952. He earned all-conference in basketball. He played basketball at St Louis University and Eastern Illinois University for one year each. He coached Bunker Hill High School basketball for 43 years and ranks 13th in IHSA career wins with a record of 754-347. Hlafka was also inducted into the IBCA Hall of Fame.
Gordon Hartweger graduated from Gillespie in 1957. He participated in basketball, baseball, and track for four years earning all-conference honors in basketball. He played basketball at St Louis University for 4 years earning MVP and Captain. He was the assistant basketball coach at St Louis University for 5 years and played in the NIT National Finals.
Jerry Grandone graduated from Gillespie in 1960. He participated in basketball, track, and football earning all-conference in basketball and track. After Gillespie, he played basketball and track at Eastern Illinois University for 4 years. He held hurdle records, MVP, and track captain at Eastern Illinois, basketball captain at Eastern Illinois, and earned seven varsity letters at Eastern Illinois. Grandone coached basketball in Coal City and Gillespie, was the track coach at Coal City five years, and in Gillespie for 38 years.
Rick Bertagnolli graduated from Gillespie in 1978. He participated in football, basketball, baseball, and track earning all-conference in football and baseball. He played baseball at Lewis and Clark and SIUE for two years each and was the MVP and Captain at Lewis and Clark. Bertagnolli was a men’s Olympic Festival softball and Major fastpitch softball for five years and earned the IHSA Softball Coach of the Year. Bertagnolli coached softball at Wabash Valley Jr College, University of South Carolina-Spartanburg and California University of Pennsylvania for 20 years winning the Div. II National Champion twice and also receiving the Conference, Regional and National Softball Coach of the Year.
Bob Boston graduated from Gillespie in 1966. He participated in football and basketball for four years each. He is the all-time school basketball scoring leader with approximately 2000 points and also threw for over 2000 career passing yards. He earned all-conference football and basketball, and honorable mention little All-State football and basketball. He played basketball and football at University of Missouri for 2 years each and received over seven university scholarship offers from St Louis University, Air Force, Memphis State, LSU, Northwestern, Holy Cross, Princeton and Dartmouth.
The 1964 Gillespie football team was the last inductee with an 8-0-2 record. They were the last unbeaten football team with wins over Feitshans (Springfield SE), Hillsboro, Mt Olive, Pittsfield, Jerseyville, Carlinville, Nokomis and Dupo, and ties to Southwestern and Staunton. The team was coached by Bill Parmentier and Andy Easton.
Another class will be inducted in the fall of 2024. Wall of Fame nomination forms can be found on the Gillespie Community School District website.