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Jerry Hester's Dad passed away

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Old Nov 22, 2012, 04:20 PM   #1
wpr
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I am sure this was mentioned somewhere I could not find it.

Mark Tupper did an excellent job with this article.

Quote:
But as the start of the game approached, Kelly was aware that Hester, a star for the Illini in the 1990s, had yet to make an appearance.

Finally, Hester walked up to the scorer’s table and with an expressionless face picked up his headset, apparently ready to assume his role as the analyst on what would be the first road game in the John Groce coaching era.
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“As soon as the game-winning shot was upheld and we knew Illinois had won, the Illini coaches pounced on Jerry,” Kelly said. “Coach Groce went right to Jerry and reached over the table and threw his arms around him. He knocked Jerry’s headset off and I’m sure you could hear it on the air.

“The other coaches grabbed him too and coach Groce told him they were dedicating the victory to his father.”

Understandably, Hester was moved and Kelly, who was watching it all, tried to stay composed while the broadcast continued.

But some of the best Illini radio no one was awake to hear came after Groce settled in to speak with Kelly and Hester during his post-game radio show.

“Groce mentioned dedicating the game to Jerry’s father and just broke down trying to talk about it,” Kelly said. Indeed, Groce’s voice cracked, then went silent.

“Coach Groce literally had his head in his hands, crying,” Kelly said.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 08:18 PM   #2
HeartofaChampion
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Now that's class.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 08:30 PM   #3
MTILLINOIS
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Originally Posted by HeartofaChampion View Post
Now that's class.
That's family.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 09:30 PM   #4
Chilliniwek
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I had to do something similar when my father passed away unexpectedly, meaning carrying on with my job. It wasn't easy, but what carried me through were the people around me. I will never forget those who carried me. I'm sure Jerry won't either.

There's a big Illini family out there and Jerry and his family are lucky to have them, as we all are.

One more thing to be thankful for in a sad, but hopeful time.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving day, and my condolences to the Hester family.

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Old Nov 23, 2012, 10:06 AM   #5
MTILLINOIS
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Originally Posted by Chilliniwek View Post
I had to do something similar when my father passed away unexpectedly, meaning carrying on with my job. It wasn't easy, but what carried me through were the people around me. I will never forget those who carried me. I'm sure Jerry won't either.

There's a big Illini family out there and Jerry and his family are lucky to have them, as we all are.

One more thing to be thankful for in a sad, but hopeful time.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving day, and my condolences to the Hester family.

+1
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 09:09 PM   #6
Illini B-Ball Fan
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Humble display of compassion by coach and staff for Jerry, a great Illini player, broadcaster, and fan.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 08:15 AM   #7
illinicardinalfan2
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Can't say enough about Jerry Hester. Sorry about your loss Jerry I can't even imagine how you did that broadcast. Coach Groce is one special person and not just a special basketball coach. That's the type of guy anybody would feel safe mentoring their child in college.
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Old Nov 27, 2012, 11:37 AM   #8
CHI 1086
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WE are truely blessed to have John Groce as a part of the Illini Family
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 09:42 AM   #9
jmontgo3
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Wow, what a heartwarming story. We found a good one in John Groce.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 02:11 PM   #10
Burnt orange and blue
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Great story bc of great actions by a great coach and a great gesture made towards another great man.

It seems like we not only have a good coach but a good leader to teach young men how to become grown men. I can see glimpses of why JG excels at the in home visits. From what I hear, If I were a parent I'd be more than comfortable an trusting of giving my kid to JG.

When I was a freshman in HS I remember Jerry Hester. Back in the day, Pekin, the Springfield, and the Peoria schools were in the Mid State 9 conference together. I saw him play when Manual came to Southeast and we ran track against them. He was even a great competitor in track and field.

Good kid back then and I'm sure a good man now. My condolences go to JH and his family!
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