The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

March 16, 2013

Championship highway hits 20

DANVILLE —  The beginnings of Danville’s 20-year run of hosting the NJCAA Division II Tournament go back to the success of the Danville Area Community College men’s basketball team.

When the Jaguars won the 1991 championship over Brookhaven College at Delta College in Bay City, Mich., then-coach John Spezia came up with the idea to have the event in Danville.

“He heard when the team was there that Michigan was thinking about giving it up,” Tournament Director Dick Shockey said. “So we went from there and when we got it, it was tough to start but we got things done.”

“The win put DACC and Danville on the map”, said Spezia in 2011. “Through the early leadership of (former DACC President) Harry Braun, the efforts of Dick Shockey and the countless volunteers who have been a part of the National Tournament over the years, it has become what it is today, but through the unselfishness of the young men on this team in 1990-91, we were able to change the direction of DACC athletics which provided the foundation which led to the tournament coming here in 1994.”

After getting the rights starting with the 1994 tournament, Shockey wanted to make a tournament experience that is not only different for the NJCAA, but for all basketball tournaments.

“I wanted to go out and make a tournament where it would be a players and coaches tournament,” Shockey said. “We wanted to give awards and medals to the players and plaques for all of the teams involved.

“We also have out map which shows where all the teams are from and we put up the flags of each state as well.”

Shockey also got the help of Neuhoff Media Vice President of Operations Mike Hulvey and Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer, who announced the tournament from 1994-2003 on WDAN-AM 1490.

“Mike and I had experience with sports information at Illinois, so we put that into use,” Eisenhauer said. “We were able to do some things that were not being used in other tournaments.”

“We also wanted to do things that were great for the media that is covering the tournaments,” Hulvey said. “And that is why we put up the media room where coaches and players can come in and talk to media members separately and this year we are going to broadcast what the coach says out to the court.”

“We wanted to give out all the information about the teams and that is where we put out the media guide for the tournament,” Shockey said. “No one had done that before and it has caught on.”

The first tournament in Danville was won by Joliet Junior College and it had a different format than it does now.

“We had eight teams back then, so we didn’t have the amount of workers that we have now,” Shockey said. “It was trial and error back then and there is still things we work on every year.

“It is a lot of work, but I have 24 people on the Tournament Committee and we do just enough to get through without losing much money.”

The contract for the Division II tournament is a three-year contract and while bigger towns have shown interest in the tournament, Eisenhauer said that time and time again the experience that teams get in Danville is the reason the town keeps winning the contract.

“There are a few reasons why we keep winning: (Shockey) wants this to be a tournament where it is a players and coaches tournament,” Eisenhauer said. “We also have a great number of volunteers (400) that does everything to help out all the teams.

“And also, Danville is a junior college kind of town. If it was in Chicago, it would get lost among all the other things. Here it is the big event.”

The extra help from the volunteers has been one of the main hallmarks of the tournament and it has given the Tournament committee nothing but praises from the NJCAA.

“The volunteers are the biggest part of this tournament and it saves time for a lot of teams,” Shockey said. “Players have practice and game gear that need to be washed and it saves them a trip to the laundromat.”

“There have been many times that people have come up in NJCAA meetings and just tell us how great the experience is,” Eisenhauer said. “We get great comments for coaches who have been here and even coaches of teams who have not been here.”

Hulvey said that the last 20 years have brought the town exposure that is worth a lot.

“It has brought a lot of attention to us,” Hulvey said. “One year, you had the High School State tournament in Peoria, the NJCAA tournament here, the men’s Final Four in Indianapolis and the women’s final four in Cincinnati and we are all along I-74 and we started calling it the Championship Highway.”

The highway to the championship starts on Tuesday with six games.

Defending champion and top seed Mott Community College will take on Central CC of Columbus at 9 a.m., Owens Community College will take on Iowa Lakes Community College at 11 a.m.; Brown Mackie College will play Essex County College at 1 p.m., Louisburg College will play Penn Valley at 3 p.m., South Suburban will play Phoenix College at 6:30 p.m. and Rend Lake College will play Cecil College at 8:30 p.m.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SPT- CN0725 - Dustbowl photo 2 Stars advance to boys final DANVILLE — The 42nd Annual Dustbowl action continued Thursday at David S. Palmer Arena with the High School Boys basketball division in full swing as four games were played and all eight teams participated. In game one of the winner’s bracket of sem

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0725 - Atwood photo Baseball community to honor Atwood DANVILLE — Whether it was working on the field or running a tournament, there wasn’t anything that Frank Atwood wouldn’t do for the game of baseball.His love for the game created numerous opportunities for the youth of the Danville area as Atwood ser

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dans get a split of doubleheader with Cavemen HANNIBAL, Mo. — The Danville Dans won the first game of a doubleheader with the Hannibal Cavemen 3-1 on Thursday before losing the second game 5-3 to get a split.In the first game, Corbin Olmstead pitched seven innings with eight strikeouts to get th

    July 25, 2014

  • Danville Post 210 Speakers fall to Rantoul CHARLESTON — Playing five games in five days finally took its toll on the Danville Post 210 Speakers.Rantoul’s Tanner McLain delivered a game-winning, two-out single to left to give his team a 6-5 victory over Danville in an elimination game of the F

    July 24, 2014

  • Juniors continue to play at Danville Tennis Open DANVILLE — The juniors were still on the court in the Greater Danville Tennis Open on Wednesday as three division titles were given out.Rachael Lewis won the girls 18 and under singles title with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Lauren Ellis, while the team of Er

    July 24, 2014

  • SPT- CN0723- Dans photo 2 Thurston gets first win DANVILLE — Getting those Ws is the goal of every pitcher.Danville’s Chase Thurston has been seeking his first collegiate victory all year. The former Danville High standout finally got it on Tuesday night when the Danville Dans defeated the Springfie

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT- CN0723 - Dustbowl photo 1 Shooting Stars sprint past MB Squad DANVILLE —Tuesday’s action from the Dustbowl at the David S. Palmer Arena featured two games in the Girls High School Division with two local teams — MB Squad and Shooting Stars — squaring off in round-robin play to advance to Sunday’s championship.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pitching boosts Speakers CHARLESTON — The Danville Post 210 Speakers’ pitching is coming along at the right time.With strong performances from Austin Millholland and Dalton Strawser, the Speakers defeated Piatt County 5-1 to move on in the Fourth Division Tournament.“The sto

    July 23, 2014

  • SPT - CN0722 - Post 210 Baseball photo 1 Speakers stay alive TILTON — Danville Post 210 baseball got their revenge Sunday afternoon and did it in style. After losing to Shelby County in the Fourth Division Tournament opener on Saturday, Danville had to win two games on Sunday if they wanted to advance and keep

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0722 - VCS photo Youth gets served at VCS Fan Appreciation Night OAKWOOD — The Vermilion County Speedway Fan Appreciation Night was more a spotlight for the youth on and off the track.While kids in the stands had bike races and decided the order for racers in certain feature races, there was a bunch of kids going

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

E-edition
NJCAA Tourney Photos 2014


Check out the action at the NJCAA Division II National Men's Basketball Tournament March 18-22 at DACC. Buy photos from the Commercial-News here: http://smu.gs/1iCWKnP

Must Read
AP Video
Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman
NDN Video
What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad