Former Grant coach Tom Maple remembered as a legend in Lake County
Legendary Grant Community High School boys basketball coach Tom Maple is being remembered as a great mentor and leader of young men.
The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall inductee recently died at age 75 and the impact is still being felt across much of Lake County.
“He showed me the ropes,” current Grant coach Wayne Bosworth told the Chicago Tribune of his relationship with Maple. “I felt like one of the luckiest young coaches around.”
Maple coached Grant’s varsity team for 25 years ending in 2000. He finished with 368 career wins, winning 66 percent of his games and ranking him among the state’s all-time leaders.
Maple was also elected to the Lake County High Schools Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
“He’s one of a kind,” said Bosworth, who played on Maple’s last team at Grant. “He’s a legend at Grant High School. He’s a legend in the community. The things that come to mind are how caring the man was for everyone who played for him, not only as players, but his coaching staff, his friends, his neighbors and his family. He’s irreplaceable"
Grant’s sophomore coach Fritz Kazlausky said his relationship with Maple spanned nearly five decades and his memories are all but endless. The two men’s relationship came to include plenty of fishing trips and family outings.
“A lot of good times,” Kazlausky told the Tribune. “He was really well liked by his players (and) his peers. He was a great guy. You could not find a better person than him.”
Even after he left the sidelines at Grant, Maple's impact was still being felt.
His fingerprints were all over the 2017 Grant Class 4A regional championship team, as several of the players that were part of that team were coached by Maple in the school’s eighth-grade feeder program.
“His legacy in Lake County is going to go down as one of the greatest,” Bosworth added.