Boys Basketball

Leib’s love of basketball began in Flora. It follows him into IBCA Hall of Fame

Coach of the Year honors for Althoff boys basketball coach

The National Federation of High Schools has honored Althoff coach Greg Leib with the Illinois Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.
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The National Federation of High Schools has honored Althoff coach Greg Leib with the Illinois Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.

Althoff basketball coach Greg Leib has long been known for his charismatic personality, his off the wall comments to the media and his ability to never take himself or the sport to seriously.

Effective May 4, 2019, the Flora, Illinois native will also be known as a hall-of-famer.

Now in his 21st season at Althoff and 25th overall as a head coach, Leib will be inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

“It still doesn’t feel right for me to be a hall of famer. With all the highs and lows of coaching I’ve always tried to keep it kid-centered and have fun in the process,’’ Leib said. “It is a great honor, one I don’t feel very deserving. But, I’m thankful I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with some great young men. They are truly my brothers for life.’’

Leib is just one of several from the metro-east area who are part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2018-19 that will be enshrined during a ceremony at Redbird Arena in Normal.

Among the former players going into the IBCA Hall of Fame will be Jackie Joyner-Kersee. A 1980 graduate of East St. Louis Lincoln High School where she was an all-state player, Joyner Kersee went on to play four years of college basketball at UCLA while also competing in the early stages of her legendary track and field career.

Kids from East St. Louis got to meet the famous athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee at this year's citywide field day at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center. The event is part of the East St. Louis Youth Project, which is a summer program funded by The Great

Joyner-Kersee scored 1, 197 points at UCLA and was named as one of the top 15 players in UCLA women’s basketball history.

A member of the IBCA Board of Directors, Leib said he learned of the honor in October. Two months later, he still has trouble believing it’s real.

Leib, who coached at Roxana High School from 1992-96, has more than 400 wins for his career. His Roxana and Althoff teams have enjoyed 16 winning seasons.

Althoff, led by all-state forward Jordan Goodwin, placed second in the 2015 Class 3A state tournament. A year later, his Crusaders defeated Lincoln-Way West 62-37 to win the Class 3A state crown — Belleville’s first title in 100 seasons of high school basketball.

But for Leib, his love of the game began as a small boy in Flora.

“Jeff Burkett, was my 5th grade basketball coach and he gave me a love for the game. I’ve had so many great people help me along the way. I’m just trying to give back and leave this place better than I found it,’’ Leib said. “ There was Tom Welch, my high school coach and he helped me develop my competitive spirit and toughness.

“And there was my college coach at SIU-Edwardsville, Larry Graham. He modeled how to manage a game. Coach was always a calming force in the face of adversity.’’

Leib has also done double duty as the Crusaders head coach and athletic director since 2015. As a first-time athletic director, Leib took over for Glenn Schott.

“Next to my dad, Coach Schott s probably my No. 1 mentor. It’s like having Vince Lombardi to bounce ideas off of,’’ Leib said. “Coach is one of my best friends and I’m truly blessed to have gained his wisdom.’’

Following is a list of the other local class of 2018 Illinois Basketball Coaches Association inductees

Coaches: Greg Craft, Collinsville MIddle School; Wendy Hedberg, SIU-Edwardsvile

Coaches Career: Terry Souchek, Valmeyer, Gibault; Richard Stein, Pontiac Junior High, Fairview Heights; Norman Toenjes, Waterloo, O’Fallon, Freeburg, Southwestern Illinois College; Bud Vallino, Edwardsville, Triad

Players: Jeff Corrie, Venice; Mark Markus, Breese Central; Ryan Patton, Columbia, Shawn Patton, Columbia; Lance Stemler, Gibault

Media: Greg Shashack, Alton Telegraph

Officials: Jim Broadway, Madison; Todd Brooke, East Alton; Gus Lignoul, Granite City

Friends: Tom James, O’Fallon

Special Awards: Brad Weathers, Carlyle, Rich and Ron Herrin’s Aawrd