Memorable four in W. Aurora High sports history make hall of fame
Submitted by West Aurora Unit District 129
West Aurora High School will induct four new members into the West Aurora Sports Hall of Fame on Friday, Feb. 8, in the school gym, 1201 W. New York St., Aurora. The 2013 inductees are Brian Brooks (Class of 1973), Randy Norman (Class of 1984), Greg Miller (Class of 1997), and coach Jim Pittman.
The event begins with a community reception at 4:30 p.m. in the student cafeteria. The induction ceremony will take place at the conclusion of the sophomore basketball game, which begins at 5:30 p.m. The varsity game will begin at 7:30 p.m. Visit sd129.org.
The inductees include:
• Brooks who played on the varsity tennis team for three years when he was at West and in 1973 played doubles in the state tournament. He became a teacher and coach in District 129, serving for 33 years at the high school level. He taught physical education and driver's education and coached freshman boys' level basketball from 1978 through 1988. As a teacher, he was recognized by his peers for his dedication and work with classes of adaptive physical education and received a Golden Apple Award from the district in 2009. For 34 years, he served as a tennis coach for West Aurora High School. He was the head boys' coach for 17 years (from 1980-1996) and the head girls' coach for 15 years (1997-2011). In more than 32 years, his teams compiled a 415-134-3 record, winning 16 conference titles and 24 sectional championships. From 1996-2000 his teams won 82 consecutive dual meets. In 1996 he assisted the tennis team to the first girls' state championship for West Aurora. The following year, 1997, he coached the tennis team to a second state championship and was voted "Coach of the Year" by the Illinois High School Tennis Coaches Association. His tennis teams finished in the top four in the state seven times and 16 times finished in the top 10. His top players won 36 state finalist medals. More than 40 of his athletes have gone on to play college tennis. In 2004 he was recognized by the IHSA as "Coach of the Year." He is a certified tennis instructor with the United States Professional Tennis Association and has been a teaching tennis professional at the Fox Valley Park District's Vaughan Center for the past 36 years. He also has been the director of tennis at the Aurora Country Club for four years. All three of his daughters played for West Aurora tennis teams, were all-state players and went on to play for Division I college teams. He is currently serving as the assistant coach of the Women's tennis team at Northern Illinois University.
• Miller who was a two-sport athlete, playing varsity basketball and baseball for three years. His varsity career on the hardwood began when he was brought up to the varsity as a sophomore in 1994 for Coach Gordie Kerkman's 17-10 squad. At 6'5", Greg was a very difficult matchup for opposing guards and he averaged 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. As a junior he helped lead the team to a 27-3 record and 9th place in the state by averaging 7 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals per game. Greg led the team is assists, steals and charges taken as a senior and compiled 524 career points and 490 career rebounds, and helped propel the Blackhawks to a second-place finish in the state with a 29-4 record in 1997. He was named first-team All Conference for his efforts that season. Baseball is where he made his biggest mark on the West Aurora sports history book. He is the current West Aurora record holder for career strikeouts, career innings pitched, highest single-season batting average (.480) and is tied for the most wins in a career with 23. He was a three-time All Conference baseball player, and as a senior was named Beacon News Player of the Year, Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year, Chicago Tribune First Team All State, and was selected to the USA Today High School All-American Team. West Aurora named him the Male Athlete of the Year for 1997. Soon after, he was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the fifth round (161st overall) of that year's Amateur Baseball Draft. He was recognized by the Boston Red Sox organization in 1998 as the Gulf Coast League Pitcher of the Year and in 1999 as the Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year. He was traded after the 1999 season to the Houston Astros organization where he ascended to the team's number 7 prospect in 2001. Having reached as high as Triple A, and after some challenging arm injuries, he retired after six professional seasons. He returned to the Aurora area and graduated from Northeastern University with an education degree. He was elected to the Aurora Boys' Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009 in recognition of his spectacular career.
• Pittman who is receiving his induction into the West Aurora Sports Hall of Fame for his many years as an outstanding teacher and coach for West Aurora High School. A graduate of East Aurora High School, he joined the faculty of West Aurora High School in 1961, where he taught biology for 31 years. During his 34-year teaching career in District 129 Jim earned a Masters of Education degree at the University of Illinois. He served as the head coach for boys' golf from 1965-1973. His teams qualified for the state finals six times (1965, 1967, 1974-spring, 1974-fall, 1975 and 1976). His teams won eight Aurora City Championships, 3 District titles and 2 Conference titles. The 1974 team finished fourth in the state. He also was the assistant varsity and head sophomore boys' basketball coach from 1961-1978. His teams won numerous conference championships and he developed many players who went on to become outstanding varsity players.
He retired from teaching and coaching in 1992 and worked for the next 20 years as a part-time starter and marshal at Orchard Valley Golf Course. He was also part owner of the video store Images on Video in Aurora, and was a realtor with McEnroe Real Estate for many years. He died Dec. 2, 2012 and is survived by his wife, Doris, and their four children, all West High graduates: Craig, Kristi, Scott and Kim.
• Norman, who as a three-year varsity letter-winner at guard, played on three Upstate Eight Conference championship teams and played a vital role in the third-place finish in the IHSA Class AA Tournament in 1984. He scored 30 points in the sectional title game and 20 more in the super sectional, thrusting the Blackhawks to the Elite Eight in Champaign. In three more games downstate, he averaged 12.3 points per game. His senior year he averaged 14.7 points per game, finishing up with 592 career points, scoring in double figures 26 times, and making first-team All Conference, All Suburban Area, fourth-team All State and second-team All State Tournament. He continued his playing career at Northern Illinois University, where he was a member of the fabled "Magnificent Seven" recruiting class of 1984-85. He won four varsity letters at NIU, appearing in 101 games and starting 30. Randy's game was taken to the next level after the NCAA adopted the three-point line in 1986-87. He graduated with seven school records for three-point shooting, including most single game three-pointers (7), most single-season three-pointers (56 in 1987-88), most career three-pointers (100) and best single-game three-point percentage (.714, 5 of 7, vs. Florida International in 1986-87).
An NIU graduate, he is currently employed by Farmers Insurance as a resolution specialist.
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