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.

van_howeThe coach who brought “Old Patience” into the Salem High School trophy case by coaching the first Salem football team to defeat arch-rival Centralia, was inducted into the newly formed Salem High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Van F. Howe was the coach of the 1939 Wildcat team that scored a 16-0 victory over Centralia, the first ever over their Marion County rivals. A1928 graduate of Salem High School, Howe graduated from the University of Illinois in 1933 and started an illustrious coaching career in 1935 at Salem as an assistant in football, basketball and track.

His first season as head football coach of the Wildcats resulted in a 0-7 record but after that, from 1938-1942, his football teams posted a 24-8-3 record. Before entering the U.S. Navy in 1943, where he served 2-1/2 years as a gunnery officer in the North Atlantic, he was head football, swimming and track coach at Illinois Wesleyan University.


roy_gatewoodThe record-setting scorer of Salem’s 1943 third place state basketball team was the first nominee named to be inducted into the newly formed Salem High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.

The late Roy Gatewood, a 1943 graduate of Salem Community High School, set the single game scoring record of 29 points for the state tournament in 1943, a record that only held for one year, but
poured in 96 points in the tournament, a record that stood for several years. Roy, given credit for originating the jump shot, so prevalent in present-day basketball, was named to the all-state basketball
team In 1943.

Roy attended the University of Illinois from 1946-1949 where he played basketball with the Fighting Illini.. Upon graduation, he coached basketball at Fairfield for 3 years and was basketball coach at Mt. Carmel from 1954-58. He died suddenly in 1961.

jim_finksThe man who excelled in sports at the high school level attaining All-State honors in football, and went on to become general manager of the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears, of the National Football League, and president of the Chicago Cubs, of the National League, and general manager of the New Orleans Saints was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

Jim Finks, a 1945 graduate of SCHS, was named to both the Champaign News-Gazette and the Chicago Daily News All-State teams his senior year. During the 1944 football season, with Salem compiling an 8-1 record, Finks scored 100 points, had 2107 yards of total offense (rushing for 1332 yards), passing for nine touchdowns. He was the team’s punter, averaging 43.2 yards per kick on 22 punts.


fred_corray1The generally recognized “first” full-time football coach for the Salem Wildcats and the coach of Salem’s first district basketball champion was among the first to be Inducted into the Salem High School Sports Hall of Fame. 

Fred H. Corray, was coach of all sports in 1926 and remained until 1932. While Salem had played five football games the preceding year, with a 2-2-1 record, in their first full season under Coach Corray they complied a 7-3-0 record.

Prior to the 16-0 win in 1939 under Van Howe, the nearest thing to a victory over Centralia in football was a 6-6 tie in 1929 under Coach Corray. 1929 featured four tie games in a 5-1-4 season with the other three being scoreless deadlocks with Mt Vernon, Carlyle and Pana.

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