Waubonsee athletics inducts more HOF members
SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College recently inducted five new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame during the college’s annual Athletic Banquet. Waubonsee’s sixth class of inductees included former baseball player, coach and administrator, Dr. John Avendano; basketball player and current Indiana University assistant coach Tim Buckley; long-time area sportscaster and Chiefs’ supporter Jim Teckenbrock; two-time All-American wrestler Stanley Gress; and record-setting former baseball player Bob Stehman. The 2012 inductees were honored for their involvement in sports, dedication to Waubonsee, athletic successes, and contributions to the community or career accomplishments earned after leaving Waubonsee. The Hall of Fame was formed in 2007 in conjunction with the school’s 40th anniversary celebration.
“We are proud to recognize the success of our student-athletes, as well as the coaches, administrators and community supporters who helped to foster that success,” Waubonsee Athletic Manager Dave Randall said. “Waubonsee athletics has a rich history in contributing to the total development of our students and to the campus community as a whole.”
After being a stand-out athlete at Aurora East High School, Dr. John Avendano came to Waubonsee to play baseball. As a freshman, he earned All-Skyway First Team honors before serving as the Chiefs’ captain and setting Waubonsee’s season and career marks for sacrifice bunts his sophomore year. After finishing out his playing days and undergraduate education at Elmhurst College, Avendano later returned to Waubonsee as the Assistant Baseball Coach for nine seasons. During that time he also managed Waubonsee’s Fitness Center, which he had helped create. Avendano took over as Head Coach of the softball team for one season, leading the Lady Chiefs to a Skyway Conference title. He then served in several different administrative roles at Waubonsee before leaving in 1995 to become Dean of Student Services at Illinois Central College. In 2009 Avendano became the sixth president in the history of Kankakee Community College.
Tim Buckley has been a part of the basketball programs at a lot of colleges and universities over the years, but it all started when he played for the Chiefs in the early 1980s. In his sophomore year, he earned All-Skyway Conference status before continuing his playing career at Bemidji State University in Minnesota. Bemidji State also gave Buckley his start in coaching as he served as an assistant there before becoming the youngest head coach in the nation at Rockford College in 1989. He reached 50 victories faster than any coach in Rockford’s history. In 1993 Buckley became an assistant at the University of Wisconsin, helping the Badgers earn their first NCAA Tournament bid since 1947. He spent the next five years as an assistant at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. During his tenure, the Cardinals won the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Tournament and competed in the 1995 NCAA Tournament. With Buckley’s assistance, they later earned a share of the MAC title in 1998 and participated in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). Buckley then took over as Head Coach at Ball State for six seasons, leading the Cardinals to a MAC West Division title in 2001-2002 before eventually reaching the Elite Eight of the NIT Tournament. Among the team’s 23 wins that season were victories over No. 3 Kansas and No. 4 UCLA. Buckley served as an assistant at the University of Iowa in 2006-2007, and at Marquette the following season before joining Indiana University’s staff as the Hoosiers’ top Assistant Coach. During his 20-plus year career, the Aurora Central Catholic High School alumnus has also served on the Executive Committee for the MAC, and on Regional Committees for both the NCAA Division I and Division III Tournaments.
Stanley Gress graduated in 1988 from South Ridge High School in Huntingburg, Indiana, where he was the 189-pound state champion his senior year. He then earned NJCAA All-American status his freshman season at Grand Rapids (MI.) Junior College before transferring to Waubonsee for his sophomore season, where he made an immediate impact. Gress won the St. Louis Open; was the Skyway Conference Champion, was named the Skyway Conference Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, was the NJCAA Region IV Champion; and placed third in the nation at the NJCAA Wrestling Championships to earn All-American honors for the second time. Gress finished the season 48-9, which still stands as a Waubonsee record for most wins in a single season. Subsequently, Gress was named Waubonsee’s Male Athlete of the Year for 1989-1990. Later that summer he wrestled in Spain with the Junior College National Wrestling Team. After graduating with an associate degree from Waubonsee, he received a wrestling scholarship to Eastern Illinois University, twice qualifying for the NCAA National Tournament. Gress was ranked in the top 12 of the NCAA’s 190-pound weight class his entire senior year. He graduated from EIU in 1993 with a B.S. in Education and went on to win two AAU National Championships in Folk Style wrestling, a style of amateur wrestling practiced at the collegiate and university level in the United States. Gress later taught Physical Education and Health, and coached track at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Terre Haute, Indiana for four years. He also volunteered as one of the wrestling coaches at Terra Haute North High School. Gress started his own businesses in 1999, Air & Aqua Clean, and Aqua Proof Roofing, which operate in the Terre Haute area.
Bob Stehman looms large in the rich history of Chiefs baseball, and still holds nine school records. The right-handed batter posted single-season records in 1998 for batting average (.500), hits (77), runs (62) and triples (nine). Stehman reached base a school-record 109 times, and his on-base percentage of .582 has never been eclipsed. In addition, he smacked nine home runs, ripped 16 doubles, drove in 39 runs, stole 23 bases, drew 25 walks and had four game-winning hits during the 1998 season. His career batting average of .478 has never been approached, and he securely holds the career records for hits (133) and triples (14). Numbers like these led to many accolades for the Sandwich High School graduate, including First Team All-Skyway, First Team All-Region and an appearance in the Region IV All-Star game. His sophomore year, Stehman earned the ISCC’s Most Valuable Player Award as he led the Chiefs to the conference title and the Region IV crown. That 1998 squad set a school record with a team batting average of .338 en route to being ranked seventh nationally, which was up until that point, the second-highest ranking ever attained by a Chiefs’ baseball team. Stehman then transferred to the University of Missouri-St. Louis on a baseball scholarship where he twice earned All-Conference status.
Fellow inductee Jim Teckenbrock probably holds some unofficial records in sports broadcasting. A former Chiefs coach, Teckenbrock’s coaching eye and overall sports knowledge informed his early broadcasts at WMRO in Aurora in the 1970s and 80s, leading to a part-time gig at WSPY Radio in 1996. Since becoming a full-time announcer, Teckenbrock has called the action of countless local sporting events over the years, in all kinds of weather and from a wide variety of vantage points. Each year the Plano High School graduate calls nearly every basketball game of the Reapers’ Christmas Classic Tournament. Last December alone, he described the action of 32 games over five days. In addition, over the last 12 years, he has hosted his own Saturday morning sports show and given daily sports reports six days a week, often detailing the latest exploits of Waubonsee’s teams.