Joe Summerville

Class of 2004


As a member of Champaign’s back-to-back State Championship teams, Joe Summerville served as a backup, unable to break into the talent laden roster. He also played football while at Champaign.

After high school Joe attended Eastern Illinois University and played football, graduating in 1954. He started his teaching at Newton Community High School, and then came back to the Champaign area to start the wrestling program at Unity High School in 1966. He guided the team to a 28-26 victory in their inaugural dual meet.

After building the program Joe went 17 of his last 18 seasons as Rocket coach with a winning record. His teams compiled a 220 143-3 record and won four regional championships along with ten other regular season tournaments. The 1973 team was undefeated (18-0) as a small school in the old one class system. The 1976 team won the first regional (district) title in any sport at Unity. He coached nineteen state qualifiers, nine place winners and One State Champion.

Joe served two stints as Unity Head Football Coach, from 1974 through 1981 and from 1986 through 1994, compiling a 74-64 record. In 1996 he was inducted into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Joe has worked as a bench official for the I.HS.A. Individual State Tournament for sixteen years and has been tournament director for the Unity Invitational for thirty­ two years. In 2003 he was supervisor of I.H.S.A. Footba11 Ambassadors for the State Championships. He has served as color commentator for Unity Football. Joe continues to teaching coaching effectiveness in the ACEP Coaching Certification program.

As a member of the Tolono Lions Club, Joe is a Past President. He is a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity and is Chairman of the Methodist Church Board.

Joe retired from coaching in 1987 and from teaching in 1994.

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