bill_larimerIn 1947 Bill Larimer began his career as a sportswriter for the Salem Republican, predecessor of the Times-Commoner. This career was to span four decades ending with Larimer’s retirement in the Spring of 1977. It should be noted that when his career began it was on a voluntary basis. Later he not only wrote sports, but developed his own column, “Knothole News’ and became a correspondent for the Chicago Daily News, the Decatur Herald and the St Louis Globe-Democrat.

When Larimer began writing, the sports program included football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and track and field in the spring. Baseball was added In the early 50’s, and golf, tennis and cross country were initiated later.

One of the major developments late in Larimer’s career was the beginning of girls’ athletics. Volleyball began in 1974; basketball in 1975; tennis and softball also started while Larimer was writing sports. Larimer strongly supported the development of a girls’ athletic program in his column “Knothole News”.

The sport in which SCHS enjoyed its greatest success during Larimer’s years of writing was football. The Wildcats string of .500 or better seasons reached 25 in 1962. Larimer pointed to the 1953 team coached by Howard Thurman, which lost a controversial one-point decision to Lawrenceville in the season opener and then won eight straight, as possibly the best SCHS grid team during his writing career.

Three SCHS basketball teams, the 1947-48, 1951-52 and 1955-56 squads, were the best Wildcat cagers Larimer covered during his tenure as a sportswriter. The 1951-52 team rallied to win the North Egypt Conference by winning all of its February contests.

One of the highlights of Larimer’s career was the publication of the Tournament Times during the Salem Invitational Tournament Four separate editions were written by Larimer during the first twelve years of the tournament.

In the Spring of 1940, Larimer was a member of the short-lived SCHS men’s softball team organized by Coach Mike Lenich. The team never played a game because no other area schools fielded squads.

Larimer was one of the group that set up the Little League baseball program in Salem, serving as secretary of the Salem Little League for many years. He also was one of the first managers of a team in the program.

During Larimer’s career he covered thousands of sporting events for SCHS and wrote about many more thousand of athletes who participated in those events. His articles, while not always praising a team during a contest, were never derogatory about an individual player or coach. He has, through thirty-one years of writing, contributed more to promote and publicize SCHS athletics than any other individual.

Larimer graduated from SCHS in 1941. He attended the University of Illinois until his induction into military service during World War II. He and his wife, Patricia, are the parents of four children. Adaughter, Marianne, pursued an interest in sports, excelling in basketball and volleyball at Millikin University, and has been a teacher and coach at Bement, Arcola, Salem and Casey-Westfield High Schools. A son, Timothy, followed his father in Journalism, graduating from Northwestem Another son, Mark, a graduate of the University of Illinois, is working with his father in the Larimer Abstract Company. Another daughter, Terr~ a graduate of Millikin University, teaches In the Music Department of the Salem Grade School system.