CLINTON — The annual Clinton Rotary Alumni Game took place on March 25, at the Clinton High School. The game, also known as Maroon All-stars, is an annual event coordinated by Terry Ijams on behalf of the Clinton Rotary Club. WHOW broadcasted both games live while Dewitt County Habitat affiliate operated the snack bar. The event raised $2,224 for Habitat for Humanity of Dewitt County.
This year’s event included of a ladies’ volleyball match and a men’s basketball game. The winners this year were the volleyball Gold Team, coached by Dave Donnelly, defeating the Maroon Team, coached by Leslie Creager, 2-1; the Basketball Maroon team, coached by Ron Connor, a retired Clinton high School principal, prevailed 60-52 over the Gold Team coached by Gary Gullone, a retired elementary school principal.
All participants must be Clinton High School alumni, while the coaches are honorary positions that changes yearly.
Clinton Rotary Member and game coordinator Terry Ijams stated that “ in recent years, we struggled getting enough lady basketball players so we decided to switch to lady volleyball this year. This year we had 20 lady players and 20 men players. That is my optimum number. Both the volleyball and basketball games were very well balanced and competitive this year.”
This all started 27 years ago when the newly formed Habitat for Humanity of Dewitt County asked Ijams to organize a fundraiser. According to Ijams, “The first year was a basketball game between WCIA All Stars vs. Local Business men, several of whom happened to be Rotarians. The following year we moved to an Alumni men’s game sponsored by Clinton Rotary Club. About 2005 we added a lady maroon game to our event. This was well received and certainly boosted our attendance. All players look forward to returning each year and the community enjoys seeing their former stars in action again.”
Over the years these games have raised over $50,000 for Habitat for Humanity of DeWitt County; the best year was 2009 when the event raised $2,571 which included $400 donated by the players. In recent years, the Habitat board has supported the event by operating the refreshment stand and selling tickets.
“The event has become a wonderful opportunity for old friends to get together for a good local cause,” according to Ijams. “Clinton Rotary thanks all the players and volunteers for their help as the club continues to serve our community. Also, the Clinton High School has always been a terrific partner in this venture.” Teams only play for bragging rights, and the “challenge each year is getting word out to prospective players and (having) effective local publicity.” WHOW and the Clinton Journal have been supportive, and this year Ijams established a Facebook page dedicated to the annual games.
Members of the winning teams: Gold Team (volleyball) coached by Dave Donnely; Megan Conrad, Jessica Scott, Miranda Ennis, Kyle McCulley, Katie martin Easley, Mandy Monkman, Jessi Shride, Jennifer Bless, Taylor Filkin, and Mally Hickman. The Maroon Team (basketball) coached by retired high school principal Ron Connor: Scott Karr, Kyle Welch, Brad Barton, Trey Miller, Justin VanValey, Mitch Creager, Drew Holl, Morgan Coale, David Alwood, and Jesse Cole.
You can visit the Alumni Game’s Facebook page [www.facebook.com/clintonallstarsrotary] to see photos of the 2017 and inquire about participating or supporting the 2018 game; followers are encouraged to upload their own photos and recollections.
Courtesy of Clinton