Former Lewistown coach heads into Illinois track and field hall of fame

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Former Lewistown High School boys and girls track and field coach Keith Kittell inducted into Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Former Lewistown High School boys and girls track and field coach Keith Kittell inducted into Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

PEORIA — Keith Kittell spent a lifetime coaching track and field, and now his legacy in the sport has been preserved forever.

The former Lewistown boys and girls track and field head coach was inducted last weekend into the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

He was one of five members of the 2022 induction class. The ITCCCA also inducted its 2021 class, which included Eureka coach Don Samford. That ceremony had been postponed amid the pandemic last year.

More: How tiny Eureka came up large at the IHSA Class 2A boys track finals

"This Hall of Fame induction ranks as my PR in coaching," Kittell said at the ceremony. "So many people to thank. My wife, Barb, sacrificed our family time to allow me to become a better coach. I had great community support, great assistant coaches.

"After coaching over 1,000 men and women, where do you start and where do you stop (in mentioning athletes' names)?

"Coaching every one of you, and getting to know every one of you has given me great joy."

Kittell, 67, spent 32 years as a coach, and was at the helm for the Lewistown boys team for 28 years and the girls team for 14. He coached 36 individual state finalists and produced three individual state champions.

More: Eureka’s Don Samford earns coaching hall of fame honor

His 1999 girls team finished third in the state, and his teams put together six sectional titles and 18 conference titles.

One of Kittell's great moments was in the spring of 1999, when his daughter, Kate, helped the Lewistown girls team to third place at the IHSA State Finals on the same weekend his son, Kirk, qualified for the boys state meet.

Kittell was joined in the 2022 induction class by Jim Helton, coach at Seneca/Glen Carbon Father McGivney; Bob Borzcak, Conant/Elgin; Roger Quinlan, Rantoul; and Stan Wienke, Tuscola.

You can watch a video recording of the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies via the organization's site on Facebook.

Dave Eminian is the Journal Star sports columnist, and covers Bradley men's basketball, the Rivermen and Chiefs. He writes the Cleve In The Eve sports column for pjstar.com. Reach him at 686-3206 or deminian@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @icetimecleve.

This article originally appeared on Journal Star: Former Lewistown High School track coach part of ITCCCA Hall of Fame

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