TAYLORVILLE HIGH SCHOOL 
SPORTS HALL OF FAME
PORTRAIT
 
JOE VENTURI


    Joe Venturi grew up in Langleyville and attended Taylorville Township High School, graduating with the class of 1940. During his high school years, Venturi was a member of the track team, lettered in baseball and was a four year member of the varsity football team, being selected team captain his senior year.

    Following graduation, Venturi, attended St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas where he received an academic and athletic scholarship. He played two years of varsity football there, but with the U.S. entering World War II, he enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942. He first served with the First Marine Air Wing in the Southwest Pacific. After returning to the states to become a combat conditioner, he also became a member of the El Toro Marine Football Team. In 1945 that team won the National Service Championship.

    Being honorably discharged in 1946, Venturi enrolled in St. Louis University college of Commerce and Finance. While a student, he became the assistant football and basketball coach to Jack Fabri and the head baseball coach at McBride High School in St. Louis.

    In 1947 he transferred to Millikin University in Decatur where he was a member of the varsity football team and received his B.S. in Business Administration. Venturi then continued on to graduate school in education and physical education, doing his student teaching under legendary coach Gay Kintner.

    In 1949, Joe Venturi was hired as Athletic Director, head football, basketball and baseball coach at St. Teresa High School in Decatur. During the eleven years he taught and coached at St. Teresa, his football teams won the Central Conference Championship in 1955, and were runners-up in 1956. Coach Venturi was selected Coach of the Year by WTVP-TV in 1957.

    In 1953, his Bulldog basketball team reached the quarterfinals in the state tournament at Champaign. While at St. Teresa, Venturi also started the track and golf programs.

    In 1960, Coach Venturi move to Rockford where he became head football coach and assistant baseball coach at the new Rockford Auburn High School. A new member of the Big Eight Conference, Venturi led the Knights to their first conference championship with an undefeated season in 1961 and repeated as champions again in 1962. During the winter months coach Venturi scouted basketball games for his former high school coach, Dolph Stanley.

    In 1963, Coach Venturi moved again, this time to Pekin High School where he was head football coach and assistant basketball coach under Dawson Hawkins. The Pekin football team was undefeated conference champions in 1965 and repeated as conference champs again in 1966. While assisting in basketball, Pekin won two Illinois State Championships, the first in 1964, the latter in 1967. Coach Venturi retired from coaching in 1977, but continued as athletic director until 1984.

    In 1980 Coach Venturi was inducted into the Illinois High School Football Hall of Fame. Coach Venturi was fortunate to coach his three sons in football. Rick Venturi went on to play at Northwestern, eventually became head coach at Northwestern and is currently an assistant with the New Orleans Saints. John played his college football at Missouri and is currently head football coach at Washington High School, winner of the 4A State Championship in 1985. Tom played football at Western Illinois and after several years of college coaching became an Agent for State Farm in Chicago. His daughter, Susan is a dance teacher in Pekin.