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Former Union, Southern, and West Central High School Basketball Coach Jay Blender is being inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Class of 2020. This is an honor that only 24 coaches in Illinois are selected to receive each year. Spanning 35 years of coaching, Blender has posted 401 career high school varsity wins. Having such a long and successful career as a coach, Blender has many local members to thank as influences:
“First of all it would by my two high school coaches. Coach Clifton in Basketball had a big influence on me. He had the gym open a lot, we were able as kids to get in and play, shoot, he influenced me a lot. Then Will Bavery my football coach. We had a lot of success there in the mid-70s. So those two probably were the two that most influenced me to be a coach and be a part of it. In college, having Bill Reichow and Terry Glasgow up at Monmouth College was a big influence as well,” Blender shares.
With a game that is ever changing, Coach Blender always stayed true to his own philosophy:
“First and foremost I always liked to have fun with the kids. I liked to be able to laugh with them and enjoy things. You know, joke around and the joke around. That was number one on my list. Then as the years went on, shot discipline, take good shots. We always wanted a layup first. That was huge for us. Second, would be team defense, something we prided ourselves in and around the area. Team rebounding, we always wanted to win the battle at the boards. Then low turnovers and have a high free throw percentage,” states Blender.
Coach Blender will be honored on Saturday, May 2nd in
Bloomington at ISU’s Redbird Area along with the rest of the Class of 2020
being inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Before the Hall of Fame Banquet, the West Central School District is honoring Coach Blender for the outstanding recognition of his accomplishments by hosting a Hall of Fame Recognition Night on Friday, February 14th between the JV and Varsity boy’s game against Mercer County.