|Welcome to the Celebration of the 1945 - 1946 Irving Eagles Basketball Team. Players and Cheerleaders
Celebration held June 4, 2005
* John Clark - Invocation
* Harold Jurgena - Master of Ceremonies
* Harold Jurgena - Introductions
* Lamar Hartman - Reading
* Sandy Leitheiser - School Song
* Richard Slepicka - Speaker
* Lamar Hartman - Presentation of Awards
Anne (Morehead) Hartman
Juanita (Bailey) Schmedeke Keiser
Helen (Eddington) Paddock
Wanda (Lyerla) White
Julius Podshadly - COACH
|Irving Eagles School Song
We're Loyal to you I.H.S.
We'll always be true I.H.S.
We'll back you to stand
Against the best in the land
For we know you have sand
I.H.S. Rah Rah
So toss in the ball I.H.S.
Were backing you all I.H.S.
Our team is our fame
On boys for we expect
A victory for you
Chee Chha Chha Chha Chha
I.H.S. RAH RAH RAH
|Taken from The Journal-News dated Monday, June 6, 2005|
| They hadn't been together for 59 years, but on Saturday evening, the greatest ever Irving Eagle basketball team once again took the spotlight along with their No. l fans, the Irving cheerleaders.
The 1945-46 Irving High boys basketball team could not only boast a 35-8 won-lost record, but they also set new state and national scoring records and a member of the team, Dale White, set a new state individual scoring record.
Almost all living members were present for the evening, including Dr. Louis Athey who traveled from Pennsylvania to once again be with his teammates.
In addition to the players who were honored, the four Irving cheerleaders were also recognized during the awards ceremony, as was the coach of the team, the late Julius Podshadley.
Following the invocation by John Clark, Village Board President, and one time Irving Eagle, Harold Jurgena welcomed the many in attendance and talked about the team and Coach Podshadley. Jurgena said that when the coach came to Irving, he asked the name of the team and when told that Irving didn't have one, the name Eagles was chosen.
Podshadley was ahead of his time Jurgena said and instituted the fast break that set Irving apart from other schools until everyone was doing it. That also allowed the Eagles to often score over 100 points in downing their opponents.
Following Jurgena, Irving Area Historical Museum Chairman Lamar Hartman read an account of the game the night the Eagles broke the state record and Dale white broke the season scoring record set a few years earlier by Dwight Eddleman.
Former Irving Eagles cheerleaders joined Sandy Leitheiser on the podium and led everone in singing the Irving High School fight song
Speaker for the evening was Richard Slepicka who reviewed the history of the record breaking Eagles from the first year that Podshadley arrived in Irving, 1943, to the record breaking season when those first freshmen, including Dale White, began their high school athletic careers.
Slepicka said the team didn't look like it was going to do very well after completing their first year with a 10-14 record.
The second year for the team, the 1944-45 season, marked a turning point for the students at Irving High. The basketball team was doing very well, but then on Januarey 10, 1945, two members of the team and a former cheerleader were killed in a car-train crash. In addition, another girl who was a cheerleader, and another player, were critically injured, as was the driver who was giving them a ride to a game the Eagles were playing.
Slepicka said the team grew closer as friends and stronger as a team because of this tragedy. He credited the community as a main source of strength to pull the young people through the emotional trauma of the time.
The team went on to complete the season and closed with a 29-12 record as well as setting a new per-game state scoring record of 59.99 points per game, nearly five points higher than the previous record holder, Paris High. Dale White, as a sophomore, also came within four points of tying the Eddleman record hitting for a total of 965 points.
The 1945-46 team opened the season with high hopes. They easily broke the two records mentioned above and Dale White went on to smash Eddleman's single season record.
In bringing his remarks to a close, Slepicka said that the greatness of the Irving Eagles team of those years wasn't so much in the fact that they set records and had so many wins, but that they played and remained a team. He noted that Coach Podshadley always emphasized the team aspect even though he had individual stars.
But the real greatness of the team, Slepicka said, was that they never forgot their friends. He noted that just this past January team members recalled again the accident that had claimed the lives of their friends over a half century earlier. It was more than just friendship, it was in large part due to the kind of community where they grew up.
Now that more and more of the Eagles and their cheerleaders were reaching the ends of their lives, Slepicka called on those attending the celebration to never forget the great Irving Eagles team, just as they had not forgotten their friends and classmates.
The highlight of the evening for the team members and cheerleaders was the presentation of medals from the museum.
| Medals were presented to 1945-46 Irving Eagles players and cheerleaders, or to family
members of deceased honorees.
Seated L to R:- Kenneth Christian, Irving; Wanda Everley, Irving, on behalf of her late husband, Harry Evcrley; Jean (Caulk) Fravala, Hillsboro, on behalf of her late brolther, Brad Caulk; Bob Eddington, Irving; Terry Podshadley, Springfield, on behalf of his late father, Coach Julius Podshadley.
Second row: Dale White, Irving; Russell Hartman, Kankakee; Louis Athey, Lancaster, PA; Joan (Eddington) Stroup, Irving on behalf of her sister, Helen (Eddington) Paddock; Don Griffin, Mattoon; Lois (Snow) McReynolds, on behalf of her late brother, Harry Snow; Juanita (Bailey) Schmedeke Keiser, Irving; Wanda (Lyerla) White, Irving; Jim White, Irving.
Back row: Jeff Hartman, Texas, on behalf of his late mother, Anne (Morehead) Hartman; Harold Grill, Irving, who also accpted a medal on behalf of his late brother, William Grill; Frank Moxey, Vandalia, on behalf of his late brother, Eldon Moxey.
|Harold Jurgena - Master of Ceremonies|
|Lamar Hartman - Reading
|John Clark - Invocation|
|Former Irving Eagles cheerleaders joined Sandy Leitheiser in leading the crowd's singing of the Irving School Song. L to R:- Linda Denton, Alta Betoche, Darlene Mikeska, Juanita Keiser, Wanda White and Ada Morehead.|
|Sandy Leitheiser - Irving School Song|
|Richard Slepicka - Speaker|
|Sam Morehead speaking - Nancy Slepicka
seated along with Harold Jurgena.
|Finger food taken care of by Michelle Reincke Marilyn Taylor and Lou Clark with back to us|
|Fran White - Greeter & Decorations|
|Selling Museum T-Shirts & Caps - L - T :- Theresa Hartman, Rhonda Rhodes & Jeff Hartman.|