Al Sherline

In 1956 Al Sherline became head basketball coach and athletic director at Taylorville High School. At that time you didn’t have to precede “basketball coach” with either boys or girls, but just for clarification…he was the boys coach. And while he was the boys coach, he led the Tornadoes to 100 victories against only 63 losses. The 100 victories places him fourth on the all-time list of Taylorville coaches.

    Taylorville basketball flourished under Sherline’s leadership, as the Tornadoes were 18-9 in his first season and won the Regional Championship. The next year, Taylorville was 21 – 7, and were Mid-State Conference Champions. The 1958-59 season had to be the highlight in his Taylorville career. After losing three of their first five games, the Tornadoes reeled of 15 wins in their next 18 games losing only to Centralia and Pinckneyville in Holiday Tournaments and to MacArther in the regular season. They walked through the regional tournament, got revenge against MacArther in the Sectional and then faced an undefeated Rantoul team in the last appearance by a Taylorville Team in the “Sweet Sixteen”. Rantoul jumped out to an early lead, and the Tornadoes mounted a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, but fell short 66-61, ending a 24 and 7 season.

    Those who played for coach Sherline, affectionately called him “The Czar”. Now to clarify that the name was well earned, I would like to share with you letter sent to parents during the 1957 season. (You current athletes attending…listen up!) READ THE ATTACHED.

    As Director of Athletics, Al Sherline spearheaded a rebirth in all sports at Taylorville High School. During his six-year tenure, Tornado teams won 12 Mid-State Conference Championships; and in 1959 won the conference in all four major sport (Football, Basketball, Baseball and Track). The baseball and basketball teams both advanced to the state tournament.

    After leaving Taylorville, Al Sherline became Elgin Larkin High School’s first basketball coach. He also coached their cross-country team to the state finals in 1965. In 1967, he became the Director of the Mattoon Area Adult Education Center, a position he held for 31 years. Since retiring in 1998 Al Sherline and his wife, Aileen, continue to live in Mattoon.