—-High school basketball at the Collinsville H.S. in the Virgil Fletcher Gym during the Collinsville Holiday Tournament on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. Part of the Illinois’ Best High School gyms series. (Photo by Vincent D. Johnson)

History & Wins Put Fletcher Gym On The List

A basketball commemorating the 2,000th boys basketball win in school history, sits in one of four trophy cases that are centered atop the stairwells leading to the Virgil Fletcher Gym at Collinsville High School in Collinsville on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. Part of the Illinois’ Best High School gyms series. (Photo by Vincent D. Johnson)

Like so many of the schools with gyms that make the “Best of” lists, Collinsville’s notoriety comes from years of greatness, or in the Kohaks’ case over a century of winning.

As these things go, Collinsville’s gym was named after one of their winningest coaches, Virgil Fletcher, who coached there for 32 years from the 1946-47 season till the 1977-78 season. His teams brought home five finalist trophies, two of which were for the state title in 1961 & 1965. The 1960-61 team might be the school’s most famed, going 32-0. Fletcher teams had winning records in all but two of his 32 seasons as head coach and he finished with a record of 747-170 (.815)

Built in 1971, this two-tiered gym holds 3,400 fans with second level seating on three sides and a balcony usually filled with radio and TV media during big games or the annual Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Tournament. Court-side seating runs the length of the court on the floor level, but there is no baseline seating.

Like many high schools outside of the Chicago area, reserved seating is a thing here too. Most seats are marked, bbut mind where your park your behind just in case.

The Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Tournament features a 16 team boys basketball tournament played at the high school. A giant bracket wall lines the court at the Virgil Fletcher Gym as Quincy and Lincoln play on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. Part of the Illinois’ Best High School gyms series. (Photo by Vincent D. Johnson)
A banner hangs above the center court flooring from the old gym, showing Collinsville ranked as the best team in the country after their 1961 state championship, in Collinsville High School’s Virgil Fletcher Gym in Collinsville on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. Part of the Illinois’ Best High School gyms series. (Photo by Vincent D. Johnson)
Wide stairs at all four corners of the gym make getting around during the Collinsville Holiday Tournament easy, on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. Part of the Illinois’ Best High School gyms series. (Photo by Vincent D. Johnson)
A large photo of the 1961 team, with Virgil Fletcher himself in the middle, lines the wall just outside the gym at Collinsville High School’s Virgil Fletcher Gym in Collinsville on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. Part of the Illinois’ Best High School gyms series. (Photo by Vincent D. Johnson)
An auxiliary gym helps facilitate consolation games, or pregame warmups at Collinsville High School in Collinsville on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. Part of the Illinois’ Best High School gyms series. (Photo by Vincent D. Johnson)

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

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

Subscribe

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