Twenty Years of Sports Advocacy

The Rockford Sports Coalition was founded twenty five years ago in 1992 when a district-wide budget crisis was threatening the closure of all public school athletic programs. This was going to be an unsustainable blow to Rockford Public Schools sports programs. Instead, a group of concerned parent-volunteers stepped in and worked with Dr. Maurice Sullivan, Superintendent at the time, to find an alternative. The solution became the Rockford Sports Coalition.

Nearly fifty people including concerned citizens, athletic directors, administrators and area leaders joined the first Rockford Sports Coalition board. Ongoing fundraisers were created which continued for nearly fifteen years. An area discount card was created and sold. A yearly golf outing was sponsored and area businesses contributed goods and services. RSC arranged for corporate advertisers to donate funds in return for banners at facilities and their business names being announced.

Parents volunteered their time and gave of their resources. Middle school pools which were closed in the late 1970’s were re-opened with funds provided by the Rockford Sports Coalition and the expertise of RSC volunteers such as Rob McCarthy.

RSC arranged for physicians to attend school football games and to be on-call in the event of injuries. An orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Steven Weiss, and others donated their time.

RSC provided funds to run REBA basketball for middle schools. There are now 24 schools and 60 teams in 2017, its 25th year. Each year RSC donates $5000 to each Rockford Public School District high school for discretionary use by the athletic directors to purchase uniforms and equipment.

As the years went on, the founding parents saw their kids graduate and board membership dropped as parent interest waned. However, RSC continued its mission with the introduction of funding for middle schools in 2001. Any middle school that, with parent, principal, and athletic director consent presented a plan and a budget for reinstating football would receive up to $30,000 to purchase and maintain equipment and pay referees. Due to this, not only football, but middle school cross country, girls volleyball and swimming were reintroduced.

Rockford Sports Coalition continues its mission today. RSC fundraisers, parents, volunteers, and interested citizens have raised over one million dollars. These funds have and will continue to meet the needs of District 205 athletic programs – without administrative overhead.

Building on the solid twenty-year foundation, RSC is continuing its commitment to preserve and support athletic programs and facilities. Reinvigorated by new public school leadership, expanding board members and new funding goals, RSC’s ability to meet the needs of public school sports programs is better than ever.

Come join us today – donate or volunteer – and support Rockford Public Schools sports.