I’m from Atwood, Illinois. Current population 1,185. When I grew up in the 60s-70s there were less than 900 people.
Tug Wilson is also from Atwood. He was born there on march 27, 1896. The populations was just over 500. My little Atwood!
So what prompts todays column about a fella you’ve never heard of?
Kenneth Leon “Tug” Wilson lived a mile from our old high school. Ran to and from school every day. Used that strength to become the best runner in Piatt/Douglas counties. Track and field his passion, he also played football and basketball at Atwood. Upon graduating at age 17 he set up local youth fitness programs, taught those for two years. At age 19 he decided to attend the University of Illinois. Though he continued as a multi sport athlete playing basketball and football his specialty was track and field and the javelin, personal best of 55.47 meters.
Tug finished 3rd overall at the 1920 AAU National Championships/Olympic Trials in the Javelin. Earning him a spot on the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Team. He also threw the discus and finished 10th against the world’s very best.
At age 24 Tug became the Athletic Director of Drake University. He served as the Meet Director for the prestigious Drake Relays for 5 years. At age 29 he became the Athletic Director at Northwestern University and built powerhouse national champions in both basketball and football.
At age 49 Tug became the Big 10 Commissioner. Only the second person to hold that job.
From 1953-1965 Tug was the President of the United States Olympic Committee.
Tug Wilson. Now you know him. My hometown hero. Atwood, Illinois.