Rockford Public Schools will celebrate the sixth annual Champions Ball and Athletic Hall of Fame on Feb. 24, 2018, at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center. Five individuals and one team will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The event is a fundraiser for the Rockford Sports Coalition. The 2018 Hall of Fame inductees:
Jerry Stalcup graduated from East High School in 1956. The standout player went on to captain the Wisconsin Rose Bowl team and play three years in the NFL. He also worked as an assistant coach at East High School and was head coach at Harlem High School. Stalcup has been nominated for the Hall of Fame each year since its inception.
Dan Wikse, a 1965 graduate of West High School, was the state singles champion in IHSA boys tennis in 1964-65. Wikse remains the only state champion in NIC-10 history for boys tennis.
The 1991 Jefferson Girls Basketball Team won the conference championship and was the last RPS 205 high school girls team to make it to the state tournament. The team is the first from Jefferson to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The team included standout Carrie Coffman, who played professionally.
Guilford cross country and track standout Jenny Spangler went to Iowa University after she graduated in 1981 and won the Big Ten cross country title in 1982 as a sophomore. She competed in the 1996 Olympics in the marathon when she was 33.
Longtime Auburn High School coach Jerry Lowe started working in Rockford Public Schools in 2001. He coached football and track – mostly at Auburn – but he also contributed to seasons at Wilson and Eisenhower. He recently retired after the spring track and field season.
Jefferson High School Football Coach and teacher Joe Blume led the J-Hawks from 1975 to 1993. Known for his old-school style and tough love, Blume led the J-Hawks to a 116-74 record before retiring from his teaching career in 1994. Eight of the last nine Jefferson teams under Blume made it to the playoffs. Blume’s 1993 season was the last time the J-Hawks reached the postseason. He continued coaching in Stillman Valley until his death.
In addition to recognizing the inductees, RPS 205 is inviting all district athletes from the 1976-1977 school year to be celebrated at the Champions Ball. Student athletes were unable to compete that year because of districtwide budget cuts. Tickets for these guests will be available at a discounted rate of $28 per ticket. Tickets for the event are $50 each or $400 for a table of eight.
Contact Emily Tropp at 815-966-8960 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to rockfordsportscoalition.org. Visit the Rockford Sports Coalition for the complete Hall of Fame list.