In celebrating the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association’s and Title IX’s 50th Anniversary, the IBCA had media and coaches select the 30 most impactful people in Men's Basketball and the 30 most impactful people in Women's basketball during the last 50 years. We will be highlighting in alphabetical order one person a week from each category who our state selected for the Top 30 over the next 30 weeks, beginning on Thursday, January 20th.
Week Twenty-Two (6/16/22)
Toluca High School/Illinois Basketball Coaches Association
Chuck Rolinski is the “Father” of the two-class basketball tournament. Even though his tiny Toluca High School team made it to the IHSA Sweet 16 in the one-class system in 1967, Rolinski fought ferociously for the little schools. He wanted the smaller schools to have a better opportunity to win a regional championship. In 1972 Rolinski’s dream was realized and the two-class system was a huge success. The IHSA then implemented the two-class system for other interscholastic competition.
In 34 seasons at Toluca, Rolinski’s teams produced 649 victories against 252 losses. Included were 19 Tri-County Conference Titles, 14 Tri-County Conference Tournament Titles, 7 Holiday Championships, 16 Regional Titles and 3 Sectional Crowns. Chuck was the primary organizer of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association and served as its President from 1972-75. He was the long-time Executive Director for the IBCA. Sadly, the state of Illinois and the IBCA lost this basketball giant on September 23, 2014. His legacy continues through the IBCA today.
Naperville Central High School/University of Tennessee/WNBA
It would be hard to dispute that Candace Parker may be the greatest Women’s basketball player to come out of Illinois. Candace earned every honor possible in leading Naperville Central to state titles in 2003 and 2004. Besides being an All-Stater and prep All-American her greatest honors were being selected Ms. Illinois Basketball in 2002, 2003 & 2004. Many remember the national headline when she dunked in game competition. Candace also won the slam-dunk competition against the boys in the 2004 McDonald’s All-American game. When her prep career concluded Parker scored 2,768 points (23 ppg.) and had 1,592 rebounds (13.2 rpg.).
Candace played for the University of Tennessee where she was a 3-time All-American and led the Volunteers to NCAA Titles in 2007 & 2008. Entering the WNBA draft Candace was the first player drafted. She earned Rookie of the Year, 2 league MVP’s, 1 WNBA Finals MVP, 1 WNBA All-Star Game MVP and played on 2 WNBA Championship Teams. Parker also played on 2 Olympic Gold Medal Teams. In 2021 Candace helped lead the Chicago Sky to their first WNBA Title. Candace is a Grand Slam Player twice over winning state titles, NCAA championships, Olympic gold medals and WNBA Crowns.