Two of the most recruited football players to ever come out of Decatur will be inducted in the next Decatur Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame class.
MacArthur's Moe Dampeer (2002) and Al Lawson (1984) had interest from nearly every major college football program in the country during their days on the field for MacArthur. They're part of a 10-member class that will be inducted this spring after the original date was postponed because of COVID-19. Also inducted will be the 1992 Eisenhower football team, longtime Eisenhower coach Steve Smith and media members J. Thomas McNamara and Scott Busboom.
Here's a look at the ninth DPS Athletic Hall of Fame Class:
Moe Dampeer, MacArthur, 2002, football
Dampeer was an unblockable defensive tackle, leading the Generals to an 8-3 record in 2000 as a junior. At 6-foot-4, 280 pounds, Dampeer was Herald & Review All-Macon County First Team as both a junior and senior, recording 89 tackles, 10 sacks and 12 tackles for loss as a junior, and 68 tackles and 13 tackles for loss as a senior. He was also a first-team all-county basketball player as a senior, averaging 14.7 points and 9.3 rebounds.
Dampeer, who was the No. 2-ranked defensive line recruit in the nation, ended up choosing Oklahoma over Illinois, and was also recruited by Miami, Tennessee, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, UCLA, Oregon, USC, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Purdue, Northwestern, Iowa, Boston College, Virginia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Missouri, among others. Eastern Illinois and Illinois State wanted him for both football and basketball.
Dampeer played for the Sooners in 2004 after a 2003 redshirt, then later played at NCAA Division II Northwest Missouri State.
Al Lawson, MacArthur, football, 1984
The son of DPS Athletic Hall of Famer George "Butch" Smith, Lawson entered Eisenhower already touted as a future star, and he showed it for the Panthers his freshman year in football, basketball and track. But it was when Lawson transferred to MacArthur as a sophomore that he really began standing out.
By the time Lawson was a senior, he was being recruited by Nebraska, UCLA and Illinois, among others, and was widely acknowledged as the most recruited athlete in Decatur history after one of the greatest senior seasons the city had seen. Lawson was the H&R Macon County Player of the Year, rushing for what was then a city record 1,380 yards and scoring 18 touchdowns to run his career varsity totals to 2,995 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns.
But Lawson, also a standout on the basketball court and track for the Generals, shocked the more than 50 schools recruiting him by choosing Millikin over several Division I colleges and junior colleges, wanting to focus on academics over athletics.
Lindsay Martin, Eisenhower track and cross country, 1997
Martin emerged as a junior during the cross country season, taking eighth at sectionals to make state for the Panthers. That was a sign of things to come for Martin.
That spring, Martin took fourth in Class AA. Then, as a senior, Martin led the Panthers to a 15th-place finish as a team at the state cross country meet with a 28th-place finish overall and the H&R Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year Award.
Martin capped her senior year with a second-place finish in the 800 at the Class AA state track meet, getting edged on the final turn by Bloomington's Christin Wurth. She went on to run track and cross country at the University of Illinois.
Lexy Carson, MacArthur, girls basketball, 2011
Carson, who comes from a long line of basketball players, helped lift MacArthur to two straight regional titles in 2009 and 2010.
Carson cracked the lineup for the Generals as a freshman and began to emerge as a sophomore. In her junior year, she averaged 17.4 points and 1.8 steals and took MacArthur to its first-ever sectional title game.
Carson earned H&R Macon County Player of the Year honors for her performance, then topped it as a senior. Carson led MacArthur to its second straight regional title, averaging 20.3 points and four steals to earn a second straight Macon County Player of the Year.
Carson played all through college, finishing her playing career with a memorable season at NCAA Division II West Virginia State. In her senior season in 2013-14, Carson set the school’s single season scoring record with 656 points, single-game scoring record (40 points on Nov. 9, 2013) and was both first-team All-American and Mountain East Conference Player of the Year.
Mike Nolan, Stephen Decatur tennis, 1963
Nolan was successful on the club tennis circuit before he ever got to high school, and continued that through high school and after as well, playing in tournaments all over the country.
When he got to high school, that experience paid off. Nolan finished in the top three at the state tennis tournament three times in his career, taking third in singles as a sophomore in 1961, second in doubles (with Kent Ayers) in 1962, and third in singles in 1963.
Nolan, who went on to play in college at Indiana, is the only DPS athlete ever with three top three finishes at state tennis.
Adrian Walker, MacArthur, track, 2002
Walker helped lead the Generals to sectional titles in both his junior and senior years, with MacArthur taking third in Class AA in 2001 and second in 2002.
Walker was a big-time scorer for both teams. As a junior, he placed fifth in the 300 hurdles and led the MacArthur 4x400 relay to third place. Then, as a senior, he won a state title in the 300 hurdles, took fourth in the 110 hurdles, and helped lead the MacArthur 4x100 team to a seventh-place finish.
After high school, Walker went to Illinois, where he finished seventh in the finals of the 400 hurdles at the NCAA Championships as a sophomore to earn All-America status. He won the 400 hurdles at the Big Ten meet as a senior, and was also part of an Illini 4x400 relay team that finished second in the NCAA indoor championships in 2006. He was later part of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.
Harry “Rocky” Cook, Eisenhower, baseball, football, basketball, 1961
Cook made an impact in all three sports, but is most known for his clutch home run in the 1961 sectional finals that helped lead the Panthers to the state tournament.
Cook, a shortstop at Eisenhower, went on to play baseball at the University of Illinois, but he was also a two-year starter at quarterback for the Panthers, earning all-city honors as a senior, and a two-year starter on the basketball team.
Leon Fonville, Eisenhower, football, 1969
Fonville played on the offensive and defensive lines for Eisenhower teams that won a total of 19 games from his sophomore to senior year, with Fonville earning All-City honors as both a junior and senior.
Fonville's coach at Eisenhower, John Alexander, called Fonville, "the quickest big man we've ever had." Fonville, who played alongside DPS Athletic Hall of Famer Bill Madlock, was all-state as a senior. A 6-0, 220-pounder, Fonville went on to play at Illinois State and was a cornerstone of the Redbirds' defense as a three-year starter at defensive tackle.
Tim Cox, Lakeview, football, 1974
Cox's Lakeview teams his junior and senior year were often outmanned, but led by DPS Athletic Hall of Famer Tim Cruz and the physical Cox on both sides of the line, they weren't an easy win for anyone.
Cox was both All-City and All-Apollo Conference as a junior and senior in 1972 and '73. Also a track star in the 440, Cox went on to play at Millikin.
Kostaki Chiligiris, Stephen Decatur, swimming, 1994
Chiligiris was a star on the youth circuit for the Decatur Swim Club and carried that on to high school, winning six medals at the state swimming meet, including two state titles as s senior.
As a sophomore, Chiligiris took seventh in the 200-yard freestyle and eighth in the 100-yard backstroke, then was eighth in the 500 free as a junior and third in the 200 freestyle. As a senior in the 1994, he won state titles in the 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle.
As a senior, Chiligiris was also the male performer of the year at the Illinois Senior State Championships. He posted a pair of fifth-place finishes at the US Junior Nationals and emerged as the sixth-fastest high school swimming in the country in the 100 and 200 free.
Chiligiris went on to compete at Kansas University, and narrowly missed making the Greek National Team — Chiligiris has dual citizenship — in 1996.
1992 Eisenhower football
The 1992 Eisenhower football team — the first Decatur school to ever be state-ranked in football — went 7-2 in the regular season to make the Class 4A playoffs, then made all the way to the semifinals before falling 7-6 to Geneseo Darnall.
In the season the field was named after former coach John Alexander, the Panthers — coached by Steve Smith — jumped to a 6-1 start that included a 29-28 upset of Class 5A No. 2-ranked Bloomington.
In the playoffs, Eisenhower escaped with a 24-16 win against Roxana in the first round, then beat Stephen Decatur 35-12 in the second round before pulling off an upset of undefeated and No. 1-ranked Carbondale in the quarterfinals, 17-6.
A controversial clipping call on Joe Risby doomed the team's chances in a 7-6 loss to Geneseo Darnell in the semifinals, but Risby at receiver, along with Chad Hauskins at defensive end, Zamani Walter at safety and quarterback, Antwan Perry and running back/cornerback and Brian Walker at linebacker were all H&R First Team All-Macon County selections.
Steve Smith, Eisenhower, coach
Smith was a longtime coach in the Eisenhower district, and is also a member of the DPS Athletic Hall of Fame committee.
Smith coached the 1992 Eisenhower football team and coached football for the Panthers for 14 seasons overall, with playoff appearances in 1992 and 1995. He also coached Eisenhower baseball (early 2000s) and softball (earlly 80s).
For the first time, the DPS Hall of Fame included a "significant contributors" category. Inducted as significant contributors were Decatur Tribune Sports Editor J. Thomas McNamara and longtime radio voice Scott Busboom, currently with Decatur Radio. Both are members of the DPS Athletic Hall of Fame committee.
McNamara, who began his career at the Decatur Herald as an intern for sports editor Bob Fallstrom in 1947, was instrumental in creating the DPS Athletic Hall of Fame and has been covering DPS athletics for 44 years as sports editor of the Decatur Tribune. He's also written several books about area athletes and teams.
Busboom, a host on WZUS (100.9 FM), has broadcast more than 1,200 games and has been doing play-by-play for Decatur Public Schools games since the mid-1990s.
PHOTOS: DPS inducts February 2020 Hall of Fame class
Contact Justin Conn at (217) 421-7909. Follow him on Twitter: @jconnHR
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