Innovator, organizer, radio announcer, coach, volunteer and benefactor are some of the many of the titles that could describe Jon Ulz, who will be inducted into the Taylorville High school Sports Hall of Fame at a banquet to be held at St. Vincent’s Memorial Hospital Auditorium, Saturday, April 17, 2004.

    Jon Ulz came to Taylorville with the radio station and began his relationship with kids and the sports program at Taylorville High School when he began announcing Tornadoes’ basketball games. Getting to know the coaches and players in the program, and seeing a need for a developmental program for younger players, Ulz became an integral part of a group that began the Biddy Basketball Program.

    In 1969, he decided to get more directly involved in youth programming and was hired by the Taylorville School District as Elementary Physical Education Coordinator. Through that position, Ulz created the first Taylorville Elementary Track Meet. This event was competition among the four Taylorville Elementary Schools and has grown to become one of the most anticipated annual events on the school calendar. As a testament to his vision, the track meet will be run for the Thirty-fourth time this year. An estimated four thousand students have had the opportunity to compete and take home a ribbon since it’s inception.

    As a result of the early success and interest of the elementary track meet, Ulz gave his time to provide opportunity for some of the more skilled athletes to participate in a summer track program. These athletes were able to train and compete in the Illinois Jay Cee’s State Track Meet and the AAU Junior Olympic Trials.

    Not one to sit and watch, Jon Ulz then became an integral participant in the Taylorville Football program. He helped coach in the Junior Football League, assisted in organizing a High School Football Booster Club and eventually became a paid assistant of the Tornadoes football coaching staff.

    After going back to the communication business, Ulz, realized that in order for the Tornado players to be competitive, they needed the opportunity to become stronger. As a result, in 1982, he was instrumental in acquiring and donating all new Nautilus Equipment for the High School Weight Room. The equipment provided the athletes at Taylorville High school a state of the art weight room that would allow them the opportunity to become the best that they could be.