The 31st Springfield Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was held on Monday February 20, 2023 at the Bank of Springfield Center. Tickets, priced at $50 ($25 for Hall of Fame members), can be reserved by calling Lesa Schaive at 217-529-0008.

Photos From Past Events



2023 GUEST SPEAKER - Deon Thomas


  The Chicago native is a graduate of Neal F. Simeon Vocational High School on Chicago's south side. At Simeon Deon blossomed into one of the most recognized basketball players in Chicago Public League history. His junior year Simeon won the Chicago Public League Championship and by his senior year he was ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation. In 1989 he was voted Mr. Basketball for the State of Illinois. He was also a Parade All-American and McDonald's All-American that year.

  Deon attended the University of Illinois and during his time as a basketball player for the Fighting Illini he surpassed even his wildest expectations. As a freshman Deon set the record for the highest scoring average for a freshman in school history (15.4). Deon would go on to become a 3x team MVP and 4x All-Big Ten selection and by the end of his Illini playing career Deon had become the school’s All-Time leader in points (2,129), Free Throws (790), and block shots (177). He was also a colligate All-American and Naismith Nominee.

  After a stellar career in Champaign/Urbana he was selected 28th in the 1994 NBA draft by the Dallas Mavericks, but chose to carry on his playing career in Europe. His 14 years overseas would see him compete throughout Europe and the Middle East (Spain, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria and Israel). Deon has been recognized as one of the most successful American athletes to ever play in Europe. He's won multiple league championships; he was also a 7x European All-Star and won Back to Back Euro-league Championships with Macabbi Tel Aviv (2003/2004-2004/2005).

  Being a consummate teacher Deon went straight into coaching after his retirement in 2009. He would return to his home state and become the Head Coach and Athletic Director of Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois. Deon quickly changed the energy around the program and in his very first season set the All-Time record for wins in a season with 29. That same year LCCC would go on to compete in the NJCAA National Tournament for the first time in school history. At the completion of the 2009/2010 season Deon was voted Region 24 Coach of the Year. He also received the same honors from the Midwest Athletic Conference (MWAC) and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA). After 5 years at Lewis and Clark Deon returned to Chicago as the assistant coach of the UIC Flames. After spending two seasons as an assistant coach for the Flames, Deon decided to call it quits. Leaving behind his dream of becoming a NCAA DI head coach to impact the lives of those around him especially inner-city youth.

  All his experiences have led him to his current position as the Associate Director for Development, Chicago for the University of Illinois Department of Athletics. Deon is also a college basketball analyst for the Big Ten Network and Fighting Illini Men's Basketball.

  He and his wife Dafna have been married for 21 years and have two amazing daughters Gabrielle and Liel.