GIBSON CITY -- Jeff Elder, a longtime educator and coach at Gibson City/Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, has been named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
Elder was told about the honor 2-3 weeks prior to receiving the announcement this week.
"It was kind of exciting to hear that," Elder said. "I'm very appreciative of that. It makes it all seem worthwhile."
Elder coached middle school basketball for 34 years from 1979-2013.
He coached the eighth-grade boys for 20 years, making three state tournament appearances during that timespan, before coaching seventh-grade girls during his last 14 years.
"That's a lot of games. There are a few that kind of stick out. The teams that made it to state were kind of special," Elder said. "There were other teams that played really well. They maybe didn't have the best record in the world, but they sure played hard. It was a lot of fun."
Elder was also a physical education teacher at Gibson City Middle School before teaching in the elementary school following the school district's consolidation in 1993.
It was the Sullivan native's first job after graduating from Eastern Illinois University.
Elder credits his wife, Cheryl Elder, for putting up with his long work hours.
"Thirty-four years is a long time to coach. You've got to have an understanding wife and family to be allowed to do that," Elder said. "I've spent lot of time riding the bus and getting home late and stuff like that. A lot of credit has to go to my wife for putting up with that for 34 years."
Elder was able to coach his four children -- Nick Elder, Adam Elder, Lindsey Graham and Emily Elder -- during his time as coach.
"That was nice to be able to do that," Elder said.
Since retiring in 2013, Elder says he tries to watch as many GCMS basketball games as he can.
"It's still a lot of fun to watch the kids," Elder said. "It's getting to the point now where I've got some of my grandkids starting to play in youth leagues. It's kind of fun to watch them, too."
The IBCA Hall of Fame Banquet will take place on May 2, 2020, at Redbird Arena in Normal.