Rob Grierson Friend of Scholastic Bowl Award

griersonThe Friend of Scholastic Bowl Award was named after Rob Grierson (pictured) in 2003 because of his exceptional long-term work on behalf of Illinois Scholastic Bowl and IHSSBCA. Mr. Grierson was also the recipient of the 2001 Benjamin Cooper Quiz Bowl Ambassador Award.



Tom Egan (left) received the Friend of Scholastic Bowl award from David Reinstein, former IHSSBCA Chair, who writes that, outside of his work as a coach at both Marist (Chicago) and Maine South (Park Ridge), “Tom has come through for Illinois Scholastic Bowl and the people involved in it. He has hosted, written, edited, kept stats, moderated, has pushed to make our activity more professional, and has encouraged the people around him both personally and professionally.” His contributions have included co-authorship of the IHSA Rule Book and Case Manual, long-time service in the IHSSBCA as a Steering Committee member and Ombudsman, and the mind behind the All-State program and the awards banquet.



The 2016 Friend of Scholastic Bowl Award was given to Dale Thayer (center), the Chair of the Masonic Academic Bowl. The award was presented by Nick Pitz (left), the former coach of Moline High School. Mr. Thayer was accompanied by his daughter, Cindy (center right), his son-in-law, Mike (center left), award namesake Rob Grierson (right), and almost twenty supporters and friends from the Masonic lodges of Illinois. Under his continued guidance, the Illinois Masonic State Series has grown immensely, serving over 300 teams in three classes in 2016. The Masonic tournament provides an important State Tournament experience to 30 teams annually and awards thousands of dollars each year in support to playoff-contending teams at Sectionals and State.



In 2015, Michael H. Wong (right) accepted the award from his high school coach, Dr. Noah Prince (left) of the Illinois Math and Science Academy. Michael has worked for years not only to write questions and direct tournaments, but to create innovative programs and materials for tournament directors, to mentor players, and to support scholastic bowl coaches. As interim webmaster for the IHSSBCA, he recovered and restructured the website following a crash, and coordinated the effort to rebuild the site.

The 2014 Rob Grierson Friend of Scholastic Bowl award has been vacated.



The 2013 Rob Grierson Friend of Scholastic Bowl award went to Brad Fischer (right) and Kristin Strey (left). Their work for Illinois Scholastic Bowl includes hosting tournaments, writing questions, staffing tournaments, and more.



In 2012, Karen Niemeier (far left) and Larry Schnorr (far right) presented the Rob Grierson Friend of Scholastic Bowl plaques to Frank Conry, Neil Pavlus, and Nelson Pyle. Conry, Pavlus, and Pyle were Principals at Byron, Stillman Valley, and Winnebago who first encouraged a Masonic Lodge to sponsor a Scholastic Bowl Tournament, an effort that has grown into our current Masonic State Tournament. Those administrators also encouraged the growth of Scholastic Bowl in their region and recruited Niemeier and Schnorr, two coaches who are now in the IHSSBCA Hall of Fame.



David Riley (right) presented the 2011 Rob Grierson Friend of Scholastic Bowl plaque to the University of Illinois Academic Buzzer Team, which was represented at the Banquet by longtime member Donald Taylor. The UIUC ABT was awarded the honor for the contributions many of its members have given over a long period of time to high school Scholastic Bowl in Illinois.



Sheryl and Mike Cvijanovich came in from North Dakota to be presented with the 2010 Award at the Fifth Annual IHSSBCA Awards Banquet. They were introduced by Linda Greene and Karen Niemeier. Sheryl and Michael set up a fund called Matt’s Buzzers, which gives grants and discounts to schools across the country to buy buzzer systems for their teams. The fund is in memory of their son, a graduate student at the University of Illinois who passed away suddenly in 2005.


The 2009 Award went to ACE Quizbowl Camp.



John Rathbun was presented with the 2008 Award at the Third Annual IHSSBCA Awards Banquet. He was introduced by Rob Grierson. John was given the award for managing the IHSA state tournament since 1996, co founding and managing the Peoria Area Scholastic Bowl League, and establishing the World Affairs Tournament in Peoria.



Durwin and Pam Nigus were presented with the 2007 Award at the Second Annual IHSSBCA Awards Banquet. They were handed the plaque by Rob Grierson. The inscription on the plaque reads, “For their long-time and ongoing support for Scholastic Bowl in Illinois by offering high quality buzzer systems, outstanding customer service, support for the IHSA State Tournament, support for IHSSBCA publications and tournaments, and generous donations of their time and equipment.”



Wendell Walch was presented with the 2006 Award at the First Annual IHSSBCA Awards Banquet. He was introduced by Cathy Groesch and handed the plaque by IHSSBCA Chair David Reinstein, who is reading in the picture. The inscription on the plaque reads, “For his tireless work in running the Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl (1998-2004), increasing the number of regional sites and participating schools, promoting the growth of scholastic bowl throughout the state.”



Anthony Holman, Associate Executive Director of the IHSA was presented with the 2005 Rob Grierson Friend of Scholastic Bowl Award during a brief ceremony prior to the IHSA State Finals in Peoria on March 19, 2005. Presenting the award was Susan Martin, IHSSBCA Board Member and Scholastic Bowl Coach at Wheaton North. The inscription on the plaque reads, “Rob Grierson Friend of Scholastic Bowl Awarded to Anthony Holman; For improving the relationship between IHSA and IHSSBCA, overseeing the creation of a Rule Book and Case Manual, and successfully running the IHSA tournament.”



The 2004 award went to Dave Shultz and Alex Gary. On the left, Guilford coach Tom
Lundgren presents the plaque to Alex Gary. On the right, Boylan coach Susan May presents the plaque to Dave Schultz. The inscriptions read, “for establishing the Rockford Register Star Brain Games web site to support and recognize Scholastic Bowl teams and players. The web site is a model for the nation on the reporting of academic competition.”

2001 and 2002


The 2001 award went to Chuck Fabish (right). The inscription reads, “For promoting Scholastic Bowl in Central Illinois and across the state as Assistant Regional Superintendent for Peoria County.” The 2002 award went to Barron Robinson (left). The inscription reads, “The Patriarch of Springfield Scholastic Bowl. A tireless worker in the early days of Scholastic Bowl. A long time coach, official and advocate for the activity.”



Here, Jerry Vandemark is pictured with Bill Zobus, a representative of the Streator Rotary Club. The plaque reads “Friend of Scholastic Bowl … Awarded to the Rotary Club of Streator Illinois for their sustained support of Scholastic Bowl competition … Awarded October 13, 1997 by the Illinois High School Scholastic Bowl Coaches Association.” The Streator organization has sponsored an annual Scholastic Bowl tournament in Streator for many years. (Photo courtesy Streator Times Press)


Garrie Burr

Karen Niemeier presents the award to Garrie Burr, Senior Grand Warden of the Masonic Grand Lodge of the state of Illinois. The presentation was made on March 30, 1996 at the IHSSBCA Annual Meeting.