john_mcdougalThe captain and sparkplug of the Salem Wildcat basketball team that captured third place In the IHSA State Tournament In 1943 was inducted in 1985 into the newly formed Salem High School Sports Hall of Fame.

John McDougal, was the smallest but most spectacular player in that 1943 tournament. As a junior, he was the playmaker for Quinn Constanz’s team and was given honorable mention on the all-tourney team.

McDougal lettered in football, basketball and track his sophomore and junior years at SCHS and was in the military service his senior year. A native of Okmulgee, Oklahoma, he moved to Salem when he was 12. He married the former Betty Anne Meyers and they are the parents of three daughters, Rebecca, Mary, and Nancy.

After three years service in the navy during World War II, McDougal entered the University of Evansville where he was an outstanding halfback, lettering 3 years. He played on three teams that participated in and won the Refrigerator Bowl. In that game in 1947, Evansville defeated Northern Illinois. He also lettered In track at Evansville.

During his senior year at Evansville, he was the recipient of the Kiwanis Football Award. In 1961, McDougal was selected to the UE Hall of Fame.

After graduation, he embarked on his illustrious coaching career. In 26 years on the high school level, McDougal’s teams compiled a won-lost record of 480-203. His high school coachings took him from Palestine to Carmi to Mt. Prospect Aurora West. Where he remained for 11 years before being named head coach of the Northern Illinois University Huskies.

At Aurora, McDougal’s Blackhawks captured four Upstate Eight Conference, six regional and three sectional crowns, and placed among Illinois’ top four teams on two occasions. Just 10 days before his appointment at Northern Illinois, Aurora West dropped the Class AA title game in a basket-at-the-buzzer, 45-44 setback to Chicago Morgan Park.

In eight seasons at NIU, the McDougal-coached Huskies had a 110ยท112 record, finishing as Mid-American Conference co-champions In 1981. In i982, the Huskies look the championship of the MAC Post-season Tournament and gained a spot In the NCAA Midwest Regional.

In McDougal’s first year at NIU, he transformed the same players from a 5-21 ball club into conference contenders. Picked in MAC pre-season polls to finish last. NIU held the loop lead until February 23, finished with a 13-14 overall record, and McDougal was chosen as MAC Coach of the Year.

After retiring from the college coaching ranks, McDougal returned to the high school level for a successful tenure Rockford Lutheran.