Bruce M. Brothers ’56

Bruce BrothersBruce Brothers, 52, a teacher and coach at Maine East High School in Park Ridge, was a former Quincy High School and University of Illinois basketball star. At Quincy, he was a key figure in the famous 1952 triple-overtime finals of the Illinois state high school basketball tournament.

Services for Mr. Brothers, a resident of Mt. Prospect, will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday in St. Mark Lutheran Church, 200 S. Wille St., in the suburb. He died Monday in Northwest Community Continuing Care Center, Arlington Heights.

Mr. Brothers, a 6-foot-5-inch center, led his high school team three times to the final Sweet 16 playoffs in the state tournament.

“In his last year there,“ his wife, Lois, said, “they made the finals. They played the tiny `Cinderella` Hebron team and lost in triple overtime. He fouled out, and there went the game.

“People still remember. When he got sick, he received hundreds of cards from the Quincy area. Several said, `You didn`t foul out.` He became close friends with Phil and Paul Judson, the twins who were stars on the Hebron team. Phil often came to visit him, especially after he became sick.“

Mr. Brothers, who was heavily recruited, went to the University of Illinois, where he played three years. Johnny Kerr, later a professional star and coach, was one of his teammates.

He was the starting forward and voted the most valuable player on a team rated No. 1 in the nation in 1956 by both the Associated Press and United Press International.

He then served in the Army as a chaplain`s assistant and a member of the 5th Army`s basketball team.

After military service, he coached first at Waukegan and then as head basketball coach at Maine East. He also was a driver`s education instructor. He quit the head coaching position in 1970, when his own son, Bruce, was playing for Mt. Prospect and he wanted to follow his son`s career. The high school asked him to come back to coaching and he did.

“When he went back to coaching, he discovered he loved it,“ his wife said. “Being an assistant provides all the fun of teaching kids basketball and none of the headaches. He thoroughly enjoyed helping kids along the way.“ Mr. Brothers was secretary-treasurer of the Illinois High School Drivers Education Association.

Survivors, besides his wife and son, include two other sons, Tom and Bill; his mother, Daisy Cox; a brother, Robert; and a sister, Patricia Schroth.

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