For a basketball tournament so early in the season to be successful is unusual. In fact, a 30-year local tournament ended in 2015. At the time, a coach was quoted in the Rockford Register Star predicting it would get harder and harder for Thanksgiving tournaments to draw good teams from outside the area. Instead, the Tip-Off Classic’s profile is increasing. Not only do teams like Pike and Proviso West want to return, we received interest recently from Toronto, Canada.
The challenge for subsequent years is to build our sponsorships. We are grateful for the support of Associated Bank and in-kind contributions such as free IceHogs tickets for the McArthur team and free practice time at the UW Sports Factory. However, we would like to expand that support.
The Classic was a win in another way: It was a showcase for our facilities work, especially the new fieldhouses and strength training rooms. There were gasps and expressions of awe, for example, from the McArthur team and staff as they entered the East fieldhouse. “Your facilities rival many on the college level and really tie the whole package together,” Dennis Dillon, McArthur athletic director, wrote in an email.
-- Mat Parker, Rockford School District Athletic Director