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.

Paul SaikiaOne of the top baseball coaches in NCAA D-III history, the roots for Paul Saikia’s success began at Salem Community High School.

A 1980 graduate of SCHS, Saikia was a stellar pitcher for the Wildcats having tossed a no-hitter against Mt. Vernon in a contest where he had the game’s only hit and the game’s only run.

Saikia continued his baseball career as a player at Eastern Illinois where he was part of a Panthers squad that reached the NCAA D-II World Series. Saikia transferred to Rend Lake College and transferred again to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

A 1982 graduate of Salem Community High School Kerry Martin was a standout baseball and football player for the Wildcats. During his time SCHS had success under Coach Budde in both football and baseball.

After college Kerry became an assistant coach at Sparta High School for three seasons and then became the head coach for one season. That year Sparta won the Southwest Egyptian Conference and qualified for the playoffs. From there he became the head coach at Flora High School where he stayed for three years and finished with a record of 18-11 and two playoff appearances. Kerry moved on to Carterville High School where his team won four Black Diamond Titles and qualified for seven playoff appearances. His 1996 season was his most successful going 14-0 and winning the state championship. In 2002 he moved on to Marion High School where he currently coaches. His record at Marion stands at 87-49. Marion has made ten consecutive playoff appearances and his overall record stands at 178-82.

During his career Kerry has served as Athletic Director at Carterville, he is an avid Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader, has been named Coach of the Year by The Southern Illinoisan and has been chosen as Teacher of the Year. He has also coached in fourteen different All-Star games.

don_jonesIn the early 1970’s no other athlete displayed more ability to excel in three sports than Don Jones. Don played football, basketball and baseball for SCHS and was a large contributor to the success of all three teams.

As a quarterback on the football team, Don was a 1st Team North Egypt Conference quarterback. His head coach, Gary Brandt, stated “Don does a fine job of running the club and I have not seen any other quarterback as good as Don this season.” He was also named the “Player of the game” vs. Mt. Carmel on October 15, 1971.

jeff_morrisThe athletic career of Jeff Morris is a lot like wine. It has gotten better with age.

Morris followed up a good high school career with an even better collegiate and coaching career.

A 1980 graduate of SCHS, Morris participated in both baseball and football in high school. His best sport was baseball where he earned All-North Egypt Conference honors as a junior and led Salem in hitting with a .353 average. He also led Salem in hitting during his senior season.

Morris landed an opportunity to continue his baseball career at Kaskaskia College.

mike_gibbsA three-sport standout at Salem Community High School, 1964 graduate Mike Gibbs probably made his biggest impact for the Wildcats on the basketball court.

Late in the 1963-64 season Gibbs became the first player in school history to score 1000 points. His career total of 1023 points stood as the school record for 18 years until Jim Gaule broke it in 1982. He led the North Egypt Conference in scoring in both his junior and senior seasons and was an All-NEC First Team pick both years.

During his senior season he averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds a contest, both team highs. Those accomplishments led to Special Mention to the Champaign News Gazette All-State team.

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