Gordie Gillespie arrived in Joliet in 1950 and brought this community to amazing sports heights. Here are just some of his accomplishments.
n Sixteen National Finalists in the NAIA World Series: 1962 - 3rd Place; 1963 - 5th Place; 1966 - 2nd Place; 1971 - 3rd Place; 1972 - 5th Place; 1974 - Championship; 1975 - Championship; 1976 - Championship; 1978 - 5th Place; 1983 - 6th Place; 1985 - 3rd Place; 1986 - 8th Place; 1989 - 2nd Place; 1990 - 3rd Place; 1993 - Championship; 1995 - 5th Place.
n Gillespie’s overall record in baseball was 1,893-952. He became college baseball’s all-time winningest coach on April 24, 1993 with a 13-3 decision over McKendree College. That victory, his 1,333rd, surpassed former USC head coach Rod Dedeaux, who posted a 1,332-571 mark in 45 seasons.
n His teams won Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships 24 times.
n At Ripon, he compiled a 239-130 record in 10 seasons, highlighted by a 33-9 mark in 2001. In 1999, he led the program to its first-ever NCAA III national tournament appearance.
n In his 10 seasons at Ripon, he led the Red Hawks to the NCAA III playoffs six of the last seven years and captured five Midwest Conference titles, including one stretch of four in a row. He has also been named the Midwest Conference Coach of the Year four times (1999, 2001, 2002 and 2003).
n He was selected NAIA Coach of the Year four times.
n He was inducted into seventeen (17) Halls of Fame.
n He was a three-time president of the NAIA Baseball Coaches Association.
n He served on the 1969 United States Olympic Baseball Committee and was chosen as a coach for the U.S. team at the Pan American Games at Cali, Colombia, South America in 1970.
n Fifty-seven of his players signed professional baseball contracts, including Ripon College’s first-ever in 1998.
n In his final 10 years at Joliet Catholic High School, his varsity football teams won five state championships (1975-1976-1977-1978-1981). Overall, he compiled a record of 222-54-6 in 27 seasons.
• In 15 years of coaching basketball at Lewis University, he amassed a record of 228-124. Five times his teams played for the NAIA District 20 Championship and in 1965, he guided his team to the NAIA National Tournament.
• In only its second year of existence, Gillespie directed the CSF football team to the NAIA Division II football playoffs. His record in football was 48-33 in eight years.
• Gillespie also started the women’s basketball program at St. Francis, where he recorded an 11-7 mark during the 1976-77 campaign