Dec 14, 2010
Kerkman Wins No. 700

Gordon Kerkman says he’s hard-pressed to recall the first victory of his long West Aurora basketball coaching career.

But he won’t likely forget the latest—a milestone 46-41 triumph last Friday that was the 700th of his 35-year Blackhawk career.

The come-from-behind win over Naperville North came in front of an appreciative crowd in a packed home gym and was the first time any of Kerkman’s milestone triumphs had come in Aurora.

“There’s not much reflection (yet), he said after the game. When you start out the season and you’re only four games away, you know it’s going to happen … I think the kids and fans got a little more wrapped up in it.

“I was a little more concerned with being 2-0 in the DVC (DuPage Valley Conference) right now.”

Still Kerkman did get swept up in the moment after begin presented with the game ball and a special framed Blackhawks uniform featuring the No. 700.

“It is a milestone, but it hasn’t really hit me because I’m involved with it all, said Kerkman, now 700-276 overall and 14th on the list of Illinois’ winningest high school coaches. Maybe a year or so, some years from now, I’ll look on it as a milestone.”

Since he took over as head coach in 1976, Kerkman guided West Aurora to 10 state tournaments and five Illinois High School Association trophies. In 2000, the Blackhawks upset Westinghouse for the Class AA state title, the school’s first. West Aurora also finished second in 1997 and won third-place trophies in 1980, 1984 and 2004.

More than a dozen former players returned to salute Kerkman’s 700th win, including Kenny Battle, the West Aurora legend who went on to star at Northern Illinois and the University of Illinois.

“Who’s more deserving than someone who has had the patience, the care for the game and the kids who came through the program, said Battle. You can tell by all the guys that came out.

“He has total respect from all of his players. And all the players who played for him have nothing but good words to say about him.”

Battle frequents the Blackhawks gym these days to watch his son, Kenny Jr., play on varsity.

“I told Kenny Jr. that you’ve got the mild Coach Kerkman, said Battle, now 46. I had the fierce Coach Kerkman. He’s older, he’s wiser, he’s smarter, so he’s calmed down a lot. But I’m thrilled to death not only to have played for him but to have my son playing for him.”

West Aurora is the only school Kerkman has ever coached. He came to the school in 1962, was a Blackhawks assistant for a decade and took over when John McDougal took the top job at Northern Illinois University.

“I don’t remember the first win (but) I remember the one we lost, Kerkman said. It was four teams — a round-robin tournament (at Batavia) and we won lost our first one against Proviso West on a tip-in at the buzzer.

But the Blackhawks went on to beat Wheeling and the host Bulldogs and the Kerkman era was off to a good start.

Kerkman Wins No. 700

Triblocal.com (Ill.)

Gordon Kerkman says he’s hard-pressed to recall the first victory of his long West Aurora basketball coaching career.

But he won’t likely forget the latest—a milestone 46-41 triumph last Friday that was the 700th of his 35-year Blackhawk career.

The come-from-behind win over Naperville North came in front of an appreciative crowd in a packed home gym and was the first time any of Kerkman’s milestone triumphs had come in Aurora.

“There’s not much reflection (yet), he said after the game. When you start out the season and you’re only four games away, you know it’s going to happen … I think the kids and fans got a little more wrapped up in it.

“I was a little more concerned with being 2-0 in the DVC (DuPage Valley Conference) right now.”

Still Kerkman did get swept up in the moment after begin presented with the game ball and a special framed Blackhawks uniform featuring the No. 700.

“It is a milestone, but it hasn’t really hit me because I’m involved with it all, said Kerkman, now 700-276 overall and 14th on the list of Illinois’ winningest high school coaches. Maybe a year or so, some years from now, I’ll look on it as a milestone.”

Since he took over as head coach in 1976, Kerkman guided West Aurora to 10 state tournaments and five Illinois High School Association trophies. In 2000, the Blackhawks upset Westinghouse for the Class AA state title, the school’s first. West Aurora also finished second in 1997 and won third-place trophies in 1980, 1984 and 2004.

More than a dozen former players returned to salute Kerkman’s 700th win, including Kenny Battle, the West Aurora legend who went on to star at Northern Illinois and the University of Illinois.

“Who’s more deserving than someone who has had the patience, the care for the game and the kids who came through the program, said Battle. You can tell by all the guys that came out.

“He has total respect from all of his players. And all the players who played for him have nothing but good words to say about him.”

Battle frequents the Blackhawks gym these days to watch his son, Kenny Jr., play on varsity.

“I told Kenny Jr. that you’ve got the mild Coach Kerkman, said Battle, now 46. I had the fierce Coach Kerkman. He’s older, he’s wiser, he’s smarter, so he’s calmed down a lot. But I’m thrilled to death not only to have played for him but to have my son playing for him.”

West Aurora is the only school Kerkman has ever coached. He came to the school in 1962, was a Blackhawks assistant for a decade and took over when John McDougal took the top job at Northern Illinois University.

“I don’t remember the first win (but) I remember the one we lost, Kerkman said. It was four teams — a round-robin tournament (at Batavia) and we won lost our first one against Proviso West on a tip-in at the buzzer.

But the Blackhawks went on to beat Wheeling and the host Bulldogs and the Kerkman era was off to a good start.






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