PRINCETON — Bureau County Republican Sports Editor Kevin Hieronymus has been inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Class of 2021 as a media figure for his contributions to the game.
Hieronymus has been sports writing for 36 years, the past 34 at the Bureau County Republican. Hieronymus was “humbled and surprised” by this honor.
“If you hang around long enough, something’s bound to happen like this,” he said. “I’ve never thought of it as work going into the gym to cover a basketball game. I’ve met a lot of great people at the gym — coaches, players, scorekeepers, referees, alike, who I consider all good friends.
“The games are the fun part because of those people. The work is having to go back and crank out a story and get out the paper together on tight deadlines.”
Hieronymus has always striven to be fair and accurate in his reporting.
He’s provided loyal readers with meaningful stories they will keep in scrapbooks for years to come. Hieronymus has covered five boys teams at state and one girls team, plus numerous Sweet 16 games. He estimates that he’s covered anywhere from 900 to 1,000 high school basketball games in his career.
Hieronymus added it’s an honor to be inducted in a Hall of Fame which includes his dear friend Bob Westlund, the late Kewanee Star Courier Sports Editor.
“He was like a big brother to me when I started out here and showed me the ropes, along with sharing many of his ‘not for print’ jokes,” he laughed.
St. Bede Academy girls basketball coach Tom McGunnigal said Hieronymus is deserving on the recognition.
“Being a member and active in the association, I know how sacred the nominations are for an individual within this group, so this is special and should be celebrated,” he said.
“He has covered the Lady Bruins since I have been here, (and) he has always been professional and courteous with our time together. He does a great job on his perspective of the athletic action, regardless of which sport he is covering. He keeps everything he writes in perspective and puts a good light on the local teams and athletes.
"You have to appreciate that these kids are going to look back at being featured by Kevin in an article and it will be a positive experience for them to recall.”
Hall High School boys basketball coach Mike Filippini also said this is an honor well-deserved for Hieronymus.
“Kevin always seems to be at every game and spends a lot of long nights away from his family, which everyone should appreciate, because he’s getting the story out to people who can’t be there,” he said. “It couldn’t happen to a better guy who always put the kids first and makes the story about them.”
Hieronymus was hired at the Bureau County Republican in November of 1986. He worked previously at Tazewell News in Morton and the St. Louis Daily News. He got his start at reporting for student newspapers including the Olympia High School Torch and Illinois State University Daily Vidette.
The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame was founded in 1973 to honor the best and most influential players, teams, coaches, media, officials and friends of basketball in Illinois history. Since then, a new Hall of Fame class has been inducted every year.