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Meet the 2010 Grand Marshals

Three Grand Marshals will lead the annual Parade of Champions Saturday night (March 13) before the championship bouts of the 31st annual Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) State Final Wrestling Tournament.

Named Grand Marshals for 2010 are: Joe Spiezio, Former President of the IESA Board of Directors and Assistant Principal at Braidwood Reed-Custer; Basil Bakakos, Coach, Johnsburg JHS; Bill Honeycutt, Official, Woodridge

The IESA started having Grand Marshals in 1996. The Grand Marshals are honored for their contributions to interscholastic wrestling and the young men who participate in the sport. They are nominated by the IESA Wrestling Advisory Committee and approved by the IESA Board of Directors. The marshals will play an integral role of the Parade of Champions as they will lead the 38 individual finalists and their coaches into the Convocation Center, amidst music, applause and cheers from teammates, parents, family, and fans.

Here is a closer look at the 2010 Grand Marshals:

Joe Spiezio

** Although he is now retired, the contributions Joe Spiezio has made to the IESA wrestling program are numerous and have had a positive impact on thousands of jr. high wrestlers. Joe was the Assistant Principal at Braidwood Reed-Custer for the past 18 years and the Athletic Director for the past 30 years and during that time he started the highly successful Reed-Custer Middle School wrestling invitational tournament. This tournament is one of the most highly competitive regular season invitational tournaments and many of the wrestlers participating in the IESA finals this weekend have participated in that tournament. In addition to hosting the invitational tournament, Joe hosted numerous IESA regional and sectional tournaments during his tenure at Reed-Custer. Joe served on the IESA Board of Directors for 13 years and was the President of the Board from 2003 until his retirement this past year. While serving on the Board, Joe was always an advocate for the sport of wrestling, making sure other members of the Board understood the sport and what it means to the wrestlers, coaches, schools, and fans. Joe and his wife Linda have two daughters, Tarri and Tiffany, and six grandchildren. A real champion for the sport of wrestling, Joe always made sure IESA wrestling received the recognition it deserves.

Basil Bakakos

** While coaching at Johnsburg JHS, Basil Bakakos was one of the most successful IESA wrestling coaches of his time. A 1973 graduate of New Trier West High School, Basil was 12-0 his senior year when he severely injured his knee and was not able to resume wrestling. He then attended and graduated from Millikin University in Decatur. He began his teaching and coaching career at Richmond Grade School where he started the school's wrestling program. He moved on to Johnsburg where he had and an incredible 61 dual meet victories in a row and compiled over 300 dual meet wins. From 1980-2001 Basil coached three state champions and had over 200 IESA state qualifiers. His team finished 3rd in the 2000 state meet without having an individual champion. Basil served on the IESA wrestling advisory committee from 1996-1999. His greatest thrill was coaching his son Nick to a 5th place finish in the 1999 finals. Basil and his wife Sheri have been married for 30 years and also have one other child, daughter Jenny. Basil is currently teaching physical education at Johnsburg JHS and although he no longer is active in coaching, he remains close to the sport he loves the most.

Bill Honeycutt

** Bill Honeycutt has been involved with the sport of wrestling since he was a freshman at Morton East High School. After wrestling for all four years of his high school career, Bill continued to wrestle while he attended Monmouth College. An injury his freshman year at Monmouth ended his days on the mat as a wrestler but it allowed Bill to begin a stellar career as an official. Since his junior year in college and continuing to this day, Bill has been a licensed official for 38 years. He has officiated over 45,000 individual bouts during those 38 years. He has been selected to work 33 IHSA regional meets, 25 IHSA sectional meets, 11 IHSA individual state finals, 6 IHSA dual team finals. He has worked 12 IESA state tournaments, serving as the head official for the last three years. He served on the IESA wrestling advisory committee from 2005-2008 and is currently serving on the IHSA official's advisory committee where he is also an IHSA wrestling clinician. He was inducted into the IWCOA Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2007 he was selected as the National Federation Official of the Year for Illinois. Bill resides in Woodridge with his wife Nancy and is a Graduate Gemologist and manager of Begeman Jewelers in Woodridge. Bill has always given freely of his time to the IESA attending numerous meetings to interpret rules and information about the sport. Always a gentleman, Bill is one of the most well-respected officials in the state.

Past Grand Marshals
1996 Robert Gatrell, Bloomington, Former Executive Director of the IESA
1997 Bill Marquardt, Bloomington, Official & Arch Richoz, DeKalb, Coach
1998 Mike Manahan, Bloomington, Coach & Mike Pastiak, Burr Ridge, Coach
1999 Ron Karnopp, Quincy, Coach & Dave Ulstad, New Lenox, Coach
2000 Joe Pedersen, Darien, Official, Principal, & Coach
2001 Dan Farinosi, Hoffman Estates, Official & Jim Moxley, Mahomet-Seymour,Coach
2002 Jim Rankin, Clifton, Administrator and Coach & Dave Brost, New Lenox, Official
2003 John Pine, Clinton, Coach; Tony Zens, Ingleside Taveirne, Coach; Mike Wilkey, Oak Park, Official
2004 Ray Cummings, Pesotum, Official & Mike Golimowski, Morris Shabbona, Coach
2005 Bob Jahn, Bolingbrook Humphrey Coach & Dan Fulscher, Lincoln, Official
2006 Terry Milton, Clinton, Coach & Rob Porter, Mahomet-Seymour, Former IESA Champion
2007 Wayne Mooney, Joliet Gompers, Coach & Rob Russell, Sandwich, Coach
2008 Scot Kody, Inverness, Official
2009 John Welter, Fox Lake, Coach; Matt Grimm, Chatham Glenwood, Coach, Dave Mathews, Official

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