Friends of Basketball
Year Inducted: 2001
Category: Friends of Basketball
Schools / Organizations: Sparland High School
Peoria Area Basketball
Biography: Wayne Gallup of rural Sparland got burnt out on high school basketball in March 2000 after watching coach Gordie Kerkman’s West Aurora club beat Chicago Westinghouse for the Class AA boys state title. And with good reason! It was the 179th high school basketball game of the season he had seen. Making it even more amazing was the then 61-year-old Caterpillar retiree had seen 160 different teams do battle. In a 50-plus year addiction to Illinois high school basketball, Gallup estimated he witnessed more than 4,000 games. Although Gallup’s wife, Loretta, was confined to a wheelchair, she wasn’t only understanding but encouraged him to watch the games. Gallup didn’t follow any one team but usually picked the best matchup of the night. He had some schedules mailed to him and decided where to go two to three months in advance. Gallup’s definition of an ideal game was “when the kids play hard and it’s two well-coached teams. Peoria Central-Manual matchups qualified. I enjoy watching the kids play their hearts out.” He had missed one Central-Manual game in 29 years when he was sick. Gallup didn’t stop at high school basketball. He saw more than 6,000 high school events. He watched 10 football games a year and enjoyed track. A middle-of-the-pack distance runner in track when he attended Sparland High School, where he graduated in 1956, Gallup once watched a track meet in a downpour at Pekin. “The coach came over and told me he knew I liked track meets, but now he knows I love them,” Gallup said. Wayne Gallup died on May 9, 2019 at the age of 80.