The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association has named their annual Organization of the Year recipients for 2024. Beginning in 2018, the IBCA has honored long standing organizations that have served the basketball community through the tireless efforts of their many volunteers and staffs. This year, the IBCA honors these three long-standing athletic conferences: The Chicago Public League, the Northern Illinois Conference, and the West Suburban Conference. Each will be honored with an on-site presentation as well as at the 52th annual Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday, May 4, 2024, at Redbird Arena on the campus of Illinois State University.

Chicago Public League


The Chicago Public High School Athletic Association, commonly known as the Chicago Public League (CPL), is the interscholastic competition arm of the Chicago Public Schools. The governance of the CPL is set through the Department of Sports Administration and Facilities of CPS.

The origins of the Chicago Public League can be traced back to its predecessor, the Cook County High School League, which started during the 1889-90 school year. Some of the schools that participated in the Cook County League still exist today: Crane (as English High and Manual Training), EnglewoodLincoln Park (as North Division)Hyde ParkPhillips (as South Division), CalumetMarshallAustin, Lake (now Tilden), and Lake View.

The Chicago Public High School League was formed in the summer of 1913, when the Cook County High School League broke apart as a result of the Chicago Board of Education's desire to be responsible for a league in which all the schools would be under its jurisdiction. This makes the CPL the 2nd oldest high school athletic conference in the state.

CPL sanctioning of basketball dates back to 1913, when the CPL was formed. The CPL didn't play for a state championship until the 1926-27 school year, when it first gained entry into the IHSA. 

Basketball ranks as the most successful sport at the IHSA state tournaments of any sport sanctioned by CPS. In 1931, the Chicago Harrison Hornets earned the league's first Quarter-Finals berth. The first state title for CPL basketball came in 1958 when the Commandos of Chicago Marshall took the crown. The Chicago Simeon Wolverines have won the most state titles from a CPL school with 7.

The Chicago Fenger Lady Titans were the first CPL girls basketball team to reach the state tournament Quarter-Finals in 1977. Chicago Marshall was the first CPL girls State Champ winning the Class AA title in 1982. The Commandos have won the most basketball state titles with 10.

Today, the Chicago Public League includes 10 divisions that regulates 84 schools each having girls and boys basketball teams.

An IBCA presentation will be held during the Chicago Public League Play-offs. Congratulations to the Chicago Public League!


Northern Illinois Conference – NIC-10


The Northern Illinois High School Conference was formed in 1916 and is considered the 3rd oldest continuous conference in Illinois. Freeport is the only original school remaining, however, Rockford East maintains Rockford HS’s traditions. Other original members included: Aurora East, Aurora West, DeKalb, Elgin, and Joliet.

Depending on membership, several name changes have occurred over the years: Big 6, Big 7, Big 8, and Big 9 with the current official title of Northern Illinois Conference; with NIC-10 as the most used moniker.

Current members are from the Rockford area: Freeport, Rockford East, Rockford West, Belvidere, Belvidere North, Hononegah, Guilford, Boylan Catholic, Harlem, and Jefferson High Schools.

The conference continues to be one of the state’s most competitive, with 9 Boys’ Basketball State Champions coming from the NIC-10.

Congratulations to the NIC-10!


West Suburban Conference


Celebrating its 100th year of existence, the West Suburban Conference boasts two divisions (Silver & Gold) with a 14-school membership. Beginning in January of 1924, the West Suburban Prairie League descended from the DuPage County Conference with members Hinsdale, Glenbard, York, Downers Grove, and West Chicago joining Maine High School to form the 5th oldest conference in Illinois. “Prairie” was dropped from the conference name in the mid-1930’s.

Although many membership changes have occurred over the years, the biggest change in the history of the WSC happened in the spring of 1986 with a major re-alignment. A merger between the West Suburban Conference and the Des Plaines Valley League combined the two leagues under one umbrella conference. The old West Suburban Conference became the Silver Division, and the Des Plaines Valley League became the Gold Division.

According to WSC folklore, the division names were finalized after many hours of deliberation, arguing and negotiation. The final names were not arrived at with the intention of ranking one ahead of the other, but came from the color of hair of the athletic directors in each division. The Silver Division's athletic directors were primarily distinguished gray-haired professionals who all happened to have "silver hair locks", thus securing the name.

Over the years, the WSC has earned 5 boys basketball state titles and 2 girls state championships.

An IBCA presentation will be held on February 7 during the annual WSC Girls Cross-over event.