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Prep Baseball: Thompson to be inducted into SI Coaches Hall of Fame by Miners

  • Harrisburg baseball coach Jay Thompson will join former Du Quoin football coach Bob Karnes, as the two will be inducted into the Southern Illinois High School Hall of Fame at Rent One Park Tuesday night when the Miners take on the Normal Cornbelters at 7:05 p.m.

    Harrisburg baseball coach Jay Thompson will join former Du Quoin football coach Bob Karnes, as the two will be inducted into the Southern Illinois High School Hall of Fame at Rent One Park Tuesday night when the Miners take on the Normal Cornbelters at 7:05 p.m.
    MICHAEL DANN | mdann@dailyregister.com

 
By Michael Dann mdann@dailyregister.com
updated: 8/4/2017 11:02 AM

Jay Thompson can add Hall of Famer -- again -- to his long list of accomplishments as head baseball coach at Harrisburg High School.

Thompson, who was voted into the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1997, will join former Du Quoin football coach Bob Karnes, as the two will be inducted into the Southern Illinois High School Hall of Fame at Rent One Park Tuesday night when the Miners take on the Normal Cornbelters at 7:05 p.m.

Thompson calls the ceremony a honor and something he appreciates as being recognized by a professional baseball team.

"It's very nice that coach Karnes and I are getting honored on the same night," Thompson said. "We are longtime friends and I consider it a honor to be recognized with him."

Thompson said his relationship with Karnes goes back at least 25 years when he was the athletic director at Du Quoin High School. Thompson held the same position at Harrisburg, before relinquishing that role to now AD Greg Langley last year.

"That's basically how we met," Thompson added. "He quickly impressed me as a guy who can be respected and someone to listen to. He and I would talk all the time about coaching in general. There aren't many similarities between football and baseball, but great similarities in organization and motivation. He was a guy that I could always get solid advice from."

Thompson has a career record of 749-240-2 as head baseball coach at Harrisburg High School, where he has won 21 regional titles, the most recent coming this past spring, when the Bulldogs upset Benton. In addition to his regional hardware, Thompson has eight Sectional titles, one Super Sectional and numerous conference titles and was recognized as one of the state's best when he was inducted into the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1997.

The field, formally known as Dorris Heights, was renamed Jay Thompson Field in a ceremony on April 5, 2016 as he has been a major fixture for the sport of baseball, getting his start at Harrisburg High School in 1982 and going to 1992. He came back in the spring of 1994 and coached until 2003, and in 2006 and has been the head coach from 2010 until now.

Not only has Thompson's presence been known at Harrisburg, but throughout the state of Illinois and beyond. He's built a successful program that has him currently has him as one of the state's Top 15 coaches.

Thompson first got his start in the 1981-82 school year, going 14-6. In 1989, Harrisburg won their first state title in baseball, going 32-1 in his Thompson's first 11 years he was 243-68 with a winning percentage of .780.

The state title in 1989 would be the first of two as Thompson's brother Joe helped the Bulldogs to the crown in the 2004 season.

Michael Dann covers prep and college sports for the Harrisburg Register, Eldorado Journal & The Gallatin County Democrat. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.