RTHS inducts Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2020

The Rochelle Township High School Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2020 includes Jim Berg, John Dobbs, Kay Dobbs, Lance Headon, Jim Hopper, Dusty Provow and Matt Rogers. The inductees were honored during a ceremony Friday evening. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Honorees include Jim Berg, John Dobbs, Kay Dobbs, Lance Headon, Jim Hopper, Dusty Provow and Matt Rogers.

ROCHELLE — Rochelle Township High School inducted two new classes into its Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday. The Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 were both recognized during a ceremony before the varsity football game against Johnsburg.

The Class of 2020 includes Jim Berg, John Dobbs, Kay Dobbs, Lance Headon, Jim Hopper, Dusty Provow and Matt Rogers.

Jim Berg

Berg was a 1971 graduate of RTHS that represented both a student and an athlete. Jim was a four-year member of the football, basketball and track teams. His senior year, he was the captain of both football and track.

During his senior year, he set a school record for the 440-meter dash at 49.4 seconds and he also set the high jump record. He was a two-time state qualifier in track. His senior year he was recognized as the RTHS Athlete of the Year along with Lee Metzger.

Upon graduation, he attended the University of Illinois and ran one season of track before an injury closed competitive running for him. He graduated from U of I with honors and then attended Stanford where he earned his master’s degree and a dual doctorate in engineering and medicine. He was awarded the best doctoral dissertation in the U.S. in 1985.

He then moved to Norway and started a small biotech engineering company and started a consulting company. He has since moved on to do other innovation projects. Jim is married to a professional athlete, Clair, and has been blessed with three wonderful children, Lisa, Julia and Riley.

He would like to recognize his track coach, Bob Irwin, because he was an inspiration for him and a role model who has inspired him often during his life. He would also like to thank his dear old Dad. Even though he was a workaholic, he managed to attend every meet he ever ran in. His dad was then was recognized by the team with a stopwatch engraved, “for perfect attendance.”

John Dobbs

Dobbs was hired at RTHS in 1997 to teach art and coach. Prior to coming to Rochelle, John taught and coached track at Davenport High School. During his tenure at Davenport he coached four state champions. 

When Dobbs arrived at RTHS, he served as an assistant to RTHS Hall of Famer Bruce Anderson for seven years and then and then became the head cross country coach for 12 years. In 1998, he led the boys cross country team to a conference and regional championship and an 18th place team finish at the state meet.

Along with coaching cross country, Mr. Dobbs started coaching boys track at RTHS where he served as an assistant for four years and head coach for 20 years. In his first year as a head track coach he started with 18 boys and when he retired he had built the program up to over 60 members.

While building the boys program he also assembled a coaching staff that over 60 years combined working together to improve Rochelle athletes. Together they coached 25-plus individual state qualifiers and nine All-State athletes John is proud that he fostered a love for the sport of track and cross country which encouraged many former Rochelle athletes to pursue post-secondary careers in athletics. Four of those athletes went on to be NCAA or NAIA All-American at the college level.

John also served as the president of the Rochelle Area Track Club for 13 years, where he promoted a love for track and field for all local track enthusiasts. Today, John still resides in Rochelle with his wife Kay and has started a new business on the south side of town called Hub City Storage. He continues to assist with the RTHS boys track program and enjoys traveling and visiting his daughters.

Kay Dobbs

Dobbs was hired at RTHS in 1997 to teach middle school PE and coach basketball at RTHS. Prior to coming to Rochelle, Kay taught and coached girls basketball at Davenport Assumption High School. In 1995, she led Davenport Assumption to a fourth-place finish in the state.

When she arrived at RTHS she served one year as an assistant and then became the head girls basketball coach for 15 years. During her tenure as the girls head coach, she reached an overall record of 243-160. That record gave her the title of the all-time winningest girls basketball coach in RTHS history.

Along with coaching at RTHS, Kay found time to work with the Rochelle girls basketball feeder program to help promote growth and love for the sport. Since retiring from coaching, Kay still resides in Rochelle with her husband John. She enjoys traveling to her daughter’s college athletic events and theatre performances.  She continues to work in Rochelle District 231 as the student data manager.

Lance Headon

Lance Headon came to RTHS from Creston Grade School having participated in their school sports programs and the Rochelle Junior Tackle program.  In high school, he played baseball and football for his four years.  

His senior football team won the conference and all nine games of the season, only losing to DeKalb in the playoffs. The entire team was named as the Hackett Football MVP in 1989. Lance was one of four senior team members to be named to the Register Star Large School All-Area Team.

As a member of the Hub baseball team, he played the position of catcher for the varsity Hubs his junior and senior seasons being selected to the NCIC All-Conference team. Headon was also named to the first team All-State-Northern Half as catcher in 1990.

Upon his graduation, Lance joined his father in the family business and continued to support the Rochelle community sports programs. He and his wife, Cass are the parents of daughters, Amanda, Autumn, Aubrey and Sade’.

Jim Hopper

Hopper was a member of the 1967 graduating class. His school record for the 1600-meter run has held at 4:21.9 minutes since that time. Jim is primarily known for his track accomplishments, being awarded All-Conference, All District and All-State in track for 1965, 1966 and 1967.  

Hopper received four varsity letters in track and field and four for his contributions to the cross country team. He was the leading point scorer in track and cross country his junior and senior seasons. Hopper was the recipient of the 1967 News-Leader Award. As a freshman, he was a member of the first state-qualifying cross country team from Rochelle, which placed 10th.  

Following his years at RTHS, Hopper attend Arizona State University. He was a U.S. Army helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War from 1970 – 71, receiving numerous awards including the Vietnam Service Medal and Purple Heart. Following his honorable discharge from the Army, he flew as a commercial helicopter pilot for various companies. His death came as a fatal helicopter crash in 2012 in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Dusty Provow

Dusty Provow attended RTHS from 2001-05. During his time as a Hub, Dusty played football, was on the wrestling team and even ran track his freshman year. During his sophomore year, Dusty added winter lifting to his schedule.

Dusty decided to focus on football during his junior and senior year of high school. He backed football with winter and summer lifting. Dusty’s hard work paid off when helped lead the Hubs to two conference championships during his junior and senior year. In his junior year alone, Dusty set the single-season rushing record with 1,643 yards and 23 touchdowns. He was awarded a unanimous All-Conference First Team honor on offense.  

During Provow’s senior year, he suffered a severe ankle injury. Dusty was awarded All-Conference (unanimous selection running back) and All-State along with the Hackett Award. He had several scholarship offers as his senior year came to an end. Dusty chose to decline the scholarships to stay and take care of his grandma as he had been doing the 10 years prior.

In 2010, Dusty joined the semi-pro football team called the Rockford Raiders, which was once the Rock River Raptors. He was then recruited to the Rockford Revolution, where he played with them until 2018. During Dusty’s four years with the Rockford Revolution, he helped lead them to many playoff appearances, All-Star and championship games.  

Dusty’s family includes his wife Brandi Provow and his children Brianna Massie, Maddox Provow and Paisley Provow.

Matt Rogers

As a student at RTHS, Rogers played soccer for three years. He earned varsity letters as a sophomore and junior and was on the JV team his freshman year. Rogers lettered in basketball each of the four years he attended high school in Rochelle.  His work on the court led him to receive numerous awards and recognition within RTHS and the surrounding area.

Rogers was named boys basketball Hackett MVP recipient for his junior season. He received the Hoffman Rebounding Award during both his junior and senior years and he was a First-Team NCIC All-Conference in 2004 and 2005. His play landed him on the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Third-Team All-State and he was an AP Honorable Mention.

Leading the local area in scoring, He was named as the Sauk Valley Player of the Year and the Register-Star Player of the Year in 2005. Rogers is fourth in school history for points scored (1,433) and second in career rebounding with 613. Leaving RTHS with his graduation in 2005, Rogers played college basketball at Lakeland College, then finished his college career at North Central College, being named to All-Conference teams at each school.

After graduating with a degree in sports management, Rogers spent four years coaching at Kishwaukee College and working in the Rochelle area.  He currently resides in DeKalb with his wife, Autumn and is self-employed running a home inspection business. In his spare time, he is now on the other side of basketball as an IHSA referee.

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