Roberts Appreciates Hall of Fame Nomination
Batavia High School's longtime boys basketball coach awaits to be inducted into the Illinois High School Basketball Coaches Association on April 30.
Jim Roberts isn't the type of guy who likes to toot his own horn.
But hearing the news that Roberts was recently nominated into the Illinois High School Basketball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame certainly has a good ring to it.
Roberts, who is in his 26th year as Batavia's varsity basketball coach, is a part of the Class of 2011 list of Hall of Fame inductees who will be officially honored April 30 at Illinois State University in Normal.
Naturally, the ever-humble Roberts deflected praise when asked about the long-deserved accomplishment.
"It's very humbling and greatly appreciated," said Roberts, who has guided the Bulldogs to nine regional championships, a pair of sectional titles and one Elite Eight state qualifying appearance (in 1990-91 when the Bulldogs finished 27-2). "But it's a reflection of a lot of hard work by current and former players and coaches."
Batavia athletic director and longtime head football coach Mike Gaspari, who himself will be inducted into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association's Hall of Fame in early April, knows that Roberts is worthy of such a high honor.
"What Jim has done for our community through basketball is just incredible," said Gaspari, who announced his retirement as head football coach in November. "He has really put Batavia on the map from the day he started just as he has recognized people from across the state at various events that we host.
"Night of Hoops has become as premier an event as there is in terms of the teams we've brought in over the years and who he has been willing to play," Gaspari added. "His kindness to the students at our school and to our faculty – it all speaks for itself."
Roberts has always been a tried and true Batavia Bulldog.
"He's been in a unique situation in that he was born and raised in Batavia," said Gaspari. "He played high school basketball in Batavia. He has had a little different perspective than many other people would."
Ironically, Roberts' nomination came from Geneva basketball coach Phil Ralston.
"You always have a lot of respect for your rivals and obviously I have a lot of respect for what Coach Ralston has done and going back to Tim Pease's time and Bob Buchanan and Coach (Dave) Genzmer before that," said Roberts. "Those are all guys we've competed with through the years."
"Phil was the one who nominated Jim and made this whole thing possible," said Gaspari. "It's very deserving obviously on the part of Jim but for Phil to recognize him…
"The Batavia-Geneva rivalry is as good as any rivalry in the state of Illinois but also a symbol of what a great rivalry it is was the fact that Phil was willing to do that," added Gaspari.
Roberts is a basketball historian of sorts.
"He has honored the history of the program and the people who are a big part of that history of the program,' said Gaspari. "I think that's his way of deflecting recognition away from himself. Jim's a huge part of that history.
"He's had a tremendous career," Gaspari added. "We're really proud that he's at our school. He's a huge part of Batavia and our community."