—-The Illinois’ Best high school gyms series: Benton H.S., Benton, IL., during the Benton Christmas Classic Tournament, in Benton on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo by Vincent D. Johnson)

Benton’s Herrin Gym is almost half-a-century old, but can hang with newer gyms

Built in 1974, the Rich Herrin Gymnasium at Benton High School does not have the feel of a gym just shy of 50-years old. The four-sided center court scoreboard and the parquet floor give the gym a memorable look.

The gym was named to honor long time Benton basketball head coach Rich Herrin, who compiled 521 wins during his career there from 1960-1985. During that time he coached two future NBA players in Rich Yunkus, who played one season for the Atlanta in 1971 and more notably Doug Collins who graduated in 1969 and would go on to play for the Seventy-Sixers from 1973-81, but is probably still more well known for being the Chicago Bulls head coach at the start of the Michael Jordan era, from 1986-89.

Plastic seats line the balcony level along the length of the court, most likely replaced wooden seats. The Illinois’ Best high school gyms series: Benton H.S., Benton, IL. during the Benton Christmas Classic Tournament, in Benton on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo by Vincent D. Johnson)
Numbered rollout wooden bleachers in their closed position reveal a shuffleboard on the floor of the baseline balcony, during the Benton Christmas Classic Tournament, in Benton on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo by Vincent D. Johnson)
Stop by the baseline balcony to see some the retired jerseys of former Benton players, including Doug Collins, in Benton on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo by Vincent D. Johnson)
—-The East Gym is where Dough Collins would have played his high school career, it still gets used, here it’s seen during halftime of the Benton Girls Christmas Classic basketball tournament, in Benton on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo by Vincent D. Johnson)

Benton definitely has some tradition. The IHSA record book shows them having a basketball team as far back as 1905. And while the school has never taken how a title, there is still plenty of hardware and banners surrounding the gym. Two 3rd place finishes, a handful of 30-win seasons, along with some Sweet Sixteen & Elite Eight runs, the school loves its basketball. I mean, just look at that gym.

The accolades for Benton High School basketball go as far back as 1905, in Benton on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo by Vincent D. Johnson)
Sure your school may have some banners for basketball, but they’re extra special if they’re from a time when Illinois had more schools and only one or two classes for a hoops title, Benton H.S., Benton, IL. Featuring a Illinois varsity girls basketball high school game between the Lady Blackcats of Goreville and the Lions of Carterville during the Benton Christmas Classic Tournament, in Benton on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo by Vincent D. Johnson)

Subscribe to get email updates on the book or gyms I photograph

Subscribe

* indicates required
Illinois’ Best High School Gyms updates (pick one)

View this list of best high school gyms in Illinois | See the gallery of other high school gyms