Hall of Fame – Harry Gaines (1996)

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Harry Gaines

Mattoon High School
Inducted 1996

Harry was involved at the original athletic director association meeting in 1965. He served as a vice-president the first year of the organization, He was the second president of our organization during the 1966-67 school year. In 1972, Harry was chosen as the “Class AA Outstanding Athletic Director of the Year.” Harry is credited with the promotion of membership to the state association. Through is efforts our association gained the steam needed to become a viable professional organization in the area of athletics. During his tenure as athletic directors he is created with creating the Mattoon High School All-Sports center building. Through his efforts along with donated labor, not one penny of taxpayers money was spent on this project. Harry said it best about Mattoon, “Everyday I went to work at Mattoon and it was like Christmas, I loved every minute of it.” Harry Gaines graduated from Mattoon High School in 1934 and the University of Illinois in 1938, Harry was captain of the 1938 University of Illinois track team. He held records in the 600 and 1,00 yard runs while at Illinois. During the 1937 Cross Country Season, he was a member of the Illinois National Championship Team. Harry is a member of the Mattoon Hall of Fame and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. Harry passed away in 1996 just prior to his induction to the Directors Hall of Fame.