1982 Outstanding Tri-County Sports Figure
Dick Versace topped off an incredible four years at Bradley University by leading the Braves to both the NIT Championship and the MO Valley Title in the same year last spring.
He arrived in Peoria in 1978 and proceeded to install his own type of rebuilding of Bradley University's basketball program. By the end of his second twelve months, he had brought Bradley from last place to first and to a Missouri Valley Conference Title and on to a NCAA berth.
He had great success at Chicago's Gordon Tech High School, where, in four years, he won 102 of 119 games, took three North Section Championships, back-to-back Catholic League Championships (1971 & 1972) and the Chicago City Championship in 1972. For those efforts and accomplishments, he was named Chicago's High School Coach-of-the-Year in 1971 and 1972.
After serving time as a Division I assistant (one year at St. Louis University, two years at Michigan State), Dick was appointed to the head coaching position at Jackson (Ml) Community College. In two seasons there, Versace won nearly 50 games and had the Golden Jets ranked as high as 16th nationally in 1978.