Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Sports

July 25, 2008

Former St. Anthony coach is remembered

It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship . . . one that lasted only five years. But that relationship made a mark on a high school and a town.

Although that relationship came to an end recently when Harry Forrester died, Monday evening proved that there are many folks here in Effingham who not only remember him, but paid tribute to him and will keep him in their hearts for a long time to come.

Forrester came to Effingham in 1949 to become the first full-time head boys basketball coach at St. Anthony High School. He remained as head coach from 1949 to 1954. During his tenure at St. Anthony, by the way his first as a head coach, he developed a foundation of an organized athletic program that still carries over to today.

The Bulldogs hosted their first holiday tournament and district tournament while Forrester was at the helm. In 1953 they claimed their first National Trail Conference crown finishing 14-0. During his five years here, Forrester's squads were 21-7, 16-9, 13-14, 24-5 and 21-7 for a grand total of 95 victories and 42 losses.

Forrester left Effingham to become the head coach at Quincy College where he served from 1954 to 1957. He was also the athletic director and head baseball coach.

"He was a great coach," said Frank Kabbes who was a senior when Forrester came to St. Anthony. "He taught us leadership skills. He instituted some programs that still exist. For example, any road game we went to we had to have a shirt, tie and coat on. It was his theory we represented not only the school, but the church and community.

"Basketball-wise, his first year we had a 21-7 record. We weren't the greatest team, but we had excellent coaching. It was a lot of fun, just a great year. All of us deeply respected him. It was also the first year for Goff Gym.

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