We are certain the Academy of St. James boys competed in basketball. We believe the school may have competed in other
sports as well. School fight song, coach's names, and team records are needed. Also individual accomplishments would
be shared on this page.
We are also certain that other activities besides athletics were a part of the St. James experience. We would love
to share stories and facts about these activities as well.
Memories of St. James
From Dexter Santos, St. James Class of 1979, now Vice President of Player Marketing for the NFL Players:
"Just read your post on St. James. I
was fortunate to be a player for Coach Robert Rockymore (who is still coaching by the way at age 73) for
three years at St. James (77-79). I went on to play basketball at Eastern Kentucky University. I am in the process
of trying to get Coach Rockymore recognized for his 6 decades of coaching in the Chicago area by a panel
of national journalists.
The school’s building still exists on
the corner of 77th and south Phillips. Many of us played for Coach "Rock" in the summers
on his community teams as well as the High School team including other teams he has coached through out the years. We still
gather to pay tribute to the guy who start us the game of basketball."
From alum Bryan
"I came across the Illinois High School Glory Days website and noticed
one of my former teammates had provided some of his testimony on the St. James Spartans. We were a close group of guys
who had the wonderful experience of playing for an icon of Chicago high
school basketball, "Rock." We played for St. James which didn't have a gym. Each day we had
to move the lunch tables to one side of the small cafeteria and roll the basket from a closet in the corner onto a
slippery half court floor in order to practice. We had three home games in three years, two were played at the YMCA on
71st Street and one was played at the Center on 76th and Phillips. We were familiar
to going into the opponents home court and in most cases coming out with the 'W'. I don't recall the game
with Ottawa Marquette, but Kev Varney's description of us playing two and sometimes three games
in one day is accurate. Before each game Rock would give the sound person for the home team,
a copy of "Sweet Georgia Brown" and tell him to play it during our warm ups. Our starting five would then form a
circle at half court and do tricks with the ball like the Harlem Globe Trotters - I kid you not. We traveled for hours to
play games throughout Illinois and even into Indiana. We had some pretty
impressive wins over some of Chicago's most respected teams. I recall knocking off a couple of state ranked #2
teams in '79 and coming close to going to the finals that year. We had one play, 22. When Rock called 22
you better not even think about shooting the ball. Twenty two was for Michael Rucker (RIP), Rock's
son. I still talk with the guys on occasion and I have fond memories of our time together. AJCP Spartans: (myself) Bryan
McKissack, Dexter Santos, Randy Hillard, Steven Yarbrough, Fred Wells, Randall Davis, Fletcher Stevens, Kenneth
Taylor, Ada, Mike Rucker, Sweet Charlie, Silk, Antonio Darton, Yorkie!, and more."
From Ottawa Marquette High School Alum (and IHSGD's own) Kev Varney:
"Academy of St. James High School played at Ottawa Marquette in basketball in 1978, 1979, 1980, and 1986
(the 1987 game was forfeited to Marquette on account of the school not having enough players for a team, and that is
perhaps around the time when the school may have closed).
Some highlights I remember about the school was that they were nicknamed the Spartans and that their colors were
navy blue and gold. In the December 1979 varsity contest, Marquette beat St. James 119-58, and this was after Coach Robert
Rockymore's team had played a game earlier that same day in the ill-fated Mayor's Tournament in the city. Some
of the players were young enough that they had to play both fresh-soph as well as varsity.
And the fresh-soph game with Marquette was a treat in itself! It went five (count 'em, five) overtimes before MHS won. At
one point, St. James (which dressed six players for the fresh-soph game) was down to two players on the
floor in the fifth overtime due to three players fouling out and a fourth on the sideline with an injury that was being
treated before he went back into the game."
We Need Your Assistance...
...in researching the history and accomplishments attained by the students and faculty of St. James High School. If
you have a photo of the former high school building, or any information you would like to see added to this page, please
write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
. You can also send items to us via real mail at:
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il. 60631