Basketball Museum of Illinois President Bruce Firchau poses in front of a huge historical display on Oct. 5 at the Wintrust Sports Complex in Bedford Park. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Basketball Museum of Illinois President Bruce Firchau poses in front of a huge historical display on Oct. 5 at the Wintrust Sports Complex in Bedford Park. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Step by step, Basketball Museum of Illinois taking shape in Bedford Park

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By Jeff Vorva
Staff writer

The Basketball Museum of Illinois is coming to the area.

But it’s going to be a long process before it’s complete.

The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association found a home for its museum at the Wintrust Sports Complex in Bedford Park, but the museum’s main section will be in a building that has not yet been built.

“This is closer to becoming a reality,” said St. Laurence assistant basketball coach Jim Tracy, who is also the IBCA executive director. “It’s small steps. It’s not how we envisioned it, but it’s growing into something that we can all be proud of.”

The first of the small steps has been putting up huge displays recognizing past glories and accomplishment throughout the 116,000 square-foot facility.

According to museum president Bruce Firchau, the large white beams throughout the facility will be adorned with displays of the state’s all-time best basketball players and coaches. There is also a video board planned to highlight accomplishments such as McDonald’s All-Americans from Illinois, the state’s winningest girls and boys programs, and the winningest coaches.

“People will be mesmerized with a lot of flash and splash,” he said of the board.

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IBCA President and St. Laurence assistant boys basketball coach Jim Tracy has a laugh at an Oct. 5 event at the Wintrust Sports Complex in Bedford Park. Photo by Jeff Vorva

But the main event for the museum is yet to be announced.

“In the next buildout phase, they are going to add 24,000 square feet and we will be in that part,” Firchau said. “We will be able to display all of our memorabilia in there.”

But he’s not sure when that will happen.

“They control the timetable on that,” he said of the complex’s officials. “That’s their money.”

In the meantime, the IBCA and museum will organize several programs throughout the state. On Oct. 5, it hosted an event with Barry Temkin and Jim O’Boye, the former who was a Chicago Tribune columnist and the latter who used to produce state television broadcasts for the IHSA. O’Boye is also known for his 40-year tenure as the football announcer at St. Rita, before he stepped away after the 2022 season.

After stops in Teutopolis and Sangamon County, the museum crew returns to Bedford Park with a program featuring two rivals who no longer exist — Weber and Gordon Tech. Firchau said more than 80 people have committed to attending.

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Jim O’Boye tells a few stories from his days as a television producer for the IHSA during an Oct. 5 event in Bedford Park. Photo by Jeff Vorva

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