mike_lenichA basketball coach who served two stints at Salem Community High School, both highly successful, and the coach of the first Salem team to advance to the State Tournament, was one of the 1986 inductees into the Salem High School Sports Hall of Fame.

With military service twice interrupting his coaching tenure, Michael E. Lenich coached Salem basketball teams from 1938-1941 and from 1947-1951. He holds the distinction of coaching the first Salem team to the State Tournament in 1940. That team compiled a 26-6 record and reached the quarter finals before dropping a 34-30 decision to Champaign.


kenny_farrarOne of Salem’s most successful football coaches, Kenneth E. Farrar, now retired, coached Salem Wildcat teams from 1943-1951, the football teams compiling a 62-18-2 record. With a North Egypt Conference record of 458-1, Farrar-coached Wildcat teams captured four North Egypt Conference championships.

Salem teams in Farrar’s first two seasons were 12-0 in conference play, netting back-to-back crowns. Overall those two years, Salem’s record was 15-1-1.

Only a 7-7 tie marred an otherwise perfect season in 1943, but one game that year vaulted the Wildcats into world-wide prominence. With so many Salem alumni serving around the world in World War II, Salem’s 188-0 win over Fairfield was read by Salem servicemen in major papers in Texas, California, Hawaii and London.


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.


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.

« Previous Page

©2018 Salem Wildcat Sports Hall of Fame - Home - About Us - Contact Us - rss feed