1945-46 Champaign High School Boys’ Team

Year Inducted: 1990

Category: Teams

Schools / Organizations: Champaign High School

BiographyTime Magazine designated the 1946 Maroons as the #1 high school basketball team in the USA after they won the state title with a 38-1 record.  This squad combined with the 1945 (34-2) and 1947  (34-4) teams to compile a brilliant 3-year 94% winning percentage (106-7) against the top teams in the state of Illinois.  The 1946 team also beat the #1 team from Indiana–Hammond Tech High School.  The Maroons were led by Hall of Fame Coach Harry Combes, assisted by Harold Jester.  Team Captain Jim Cottrell was the outstanding floor general.  Ted Beach was the team’s leading scorer.  Both Cottrell and Beach were All-State selections.  Fred Major, Jr. sparked the defense while Earl Harrison, Rod Fletcher and John McDermott were strong inside players.  Beach and Fletcher later would play for Coach Combes at the University of Illinois.  The team featured a full court press defense which disrupted opponenets and led to many easy baskets.

Team Members in the Picture:

Back Row (L to R): Manager Bill Curry, Gene Suggs, Bill Johnson, Dick Petry, John McDermott, Dick Hyde, Kirby Knox and Bob Clark.

Front Row (L to R): Assistant Coach Harold Jester, Rod Fletcher, Ted Beach, Jim Cottrell, Fred Major, Jr., Earl Harrison and Head Coach Harry Combes.