BEGumMr. B.E. Gum was the Superintendent at Salem Community High School from 1937 until his retirement in 1967. The gymnasium bearing his name is a reminder of the commitment he had toward sports and is the reason he is being inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame.

Mr. Gum began his career in Keyesport and then in Odin. When the two and three year high schools became obsolete, Mr. Gum was hired in Salem in District #111. Mr. Gum saw an opportunity to form a new Community High School district and was instrumental, along with board President John L. Kagy, in forming Salem Community High School District #600. This new school included several surrounding towns in the tax rich properties of the oil and gas that encompassed 1/3 of Marion County.

KirbyPhilllipsKirby Phillips had already enjoyed coaching success with the Salem Wildcats football underclassmen when he became the head coach of the boys track program in 1985. Two year later Phillips added head coach of the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats cross country teams to his duties. When Phillips stepped away from those positions after the 2001-02 school year, he had taken each of those programs to heights not previously achieved.

While his first Salem boys track team in 1985 came up short at the North Egypt Conference Meet, his squads came back to win the title in each of the next 16 seasons. Phillips’ greatest success with the Wildcats track program came in 1999 when Salem grabbed a share of the Class AA Murphysboro Sectional championship. That remains as the program’s only sectional title. That 1999 team later finished fourth at the state meet. During Phillips’ track tenure Salem qualified more than 30 individuals and 15 relay teams for the Class AA state meet in a two-class system.

JoePetreaA multi-sport athlete during his Salem Community High School days, 1977 graduate Joe Petrea saved his best for the baseball field.

Petrea participated in cross country, basketball and baseball during his time with the Wildcats and received the Salem team rebounding award for the 1976-77 season. It was Petrea’s abilities on the baseball field that landed him a spot at Kaskaskia College where he excelled for the Blue Devils from 1977-1979. Petrea, who handled first base duties, made an immediate impact at Kaskaskia College as during the 1977 fall season he hit .354 and was selected to the Southern Illinois Collegiate Conference Team.

JanetHolstWhen Janet Holst-Behrens arrived in Salem in 1995, she also inherited a Lady Wildcat basketball program that had posted just one winning season in the previous 14 years. Twenty-one years later Holst-Behrens has built a model of consistent success and took the program to levels it had never reached before.

Prior to her stop at Salem, Holst had put together a highly successful stint at Newcomb, New Mexico where she compiled a 134-60 record during her eight seasons there, which included four straight 20 win seasons. It took a little while for Holst to rebuild the Salem program, as her first three teams combined for a 33-46 record. Starting in the 1998-99 season her teams had winning campaigns in 17 of the next 18 years, which included twelve 20 win seasons. Her teams won six conference championships, a run that began when it claimed the North Egypt Conference championship in 1999 when it compiled a perfect 14-0 record. That was the first conference title for the Lady Wildcats in 20 years. After Salem moved to the Apollo Conference for the 2003-2004 school year, her teams won the title in 2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012.

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