Class of 2014
Steve attended Peoria Central High School, in Peoria, IL and graduated in 1955. During this time he completed 4 years of wrestling and was a state qualifier. His high school wrestling coach was Tony Juska. He also played football and baseball for Peoria Central. During his high school years, as well as participating in wrestling, football and baseball at Peoria Central High School, he also played basketball and flag football for the American Zionist Association receiving the most valuable player award in both sports.
Wrestling one semester for Coach Bill Zimmer, Steve attended Bradley University. He then joined the US Army reserves and served 6 months active duty.
Axelrod attended Eureka College where he played football and ran track for 4 years, graduating in 1961 with a BS degree. (This college does not have a wrestling program.)
Graduating from Eureka College with a physical education degree, Steve taught in the Niles, Illinois elementary school district and worked for the Skokie Park District. He then spent two years at Wilmington High School and 30 years in Bremen Community High School District 228 teaching history, geography, physical education, health and driver’s education, while going to school to further his education, receiving his master’s degree in cultural studies from Governor’s State University as well as teaching driver’s education during the summers.
During his early years, while coaching at Tinley Park High School, Steve developed the Bulldog youth program in both wrestling and football. As a football coach, he won several conference championships at the sophomore level and as Offensive Coordinator for the 1986 IHSA 4A championship team.
Steve’s teams placed in the top 10 at the Illinois State finals, placing 8th in 1971, 9th in 1978, and 5th in 1979, giving him a career record of 121-53-3
In 1979 Steve was named Coach of the Year by the Wrestling Coaches Association for the South Inter-Conference Association.
Following his coaching career in wrestling, he continued to be active in the sport by officiating for several years. As well, he coached girl’s golf and girls’ softball at TPHS and served as Assistant Athletic Director until retirement.
Steve was always community minded and when his children were in elementary school he served as president of the PTO at Armstrong School in Richton Park. Subsequently, he also served as president of the Parks and Recreation Board in Richton Park. As a retiree, he served on the Planning Commission of Kimberling City, Missouri. He was a member of the Elks, American Legion and the Masonic Order.
Steve retired in 1993, and moved to Missouri where he worked at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, running roller coasters and other rides. He also worked at an attraction called Shepherd of the Hills as a tour guide. He returned to Illinois in 1999 moving to East Peoria to be near his parents, children and grandchildren.