Cincinnati- Alumni are an important part of any high school. At La Salle High School, it is not only an honor to be an alumus, it is a privilege. Being an alumnus of La Salle High School means that you have left some kind of legacy. Terry Sillis '67 is best known for his talents on the basketball court. He said, "I'm not much on legacies. In my mind legacy is not what I think about what I did, it is what other people think of me." Playing basketball at La Salle was not only some of the best years of Terry's life; but he treasures the lifelong friendships he made there. "La Salle is such a good school. Being an alumnus of La Salle make me very proud." Terry has been involved in La Salle for generations. "I was on the Board of Trustees at La Salle for a nine years. I was president for two of them. I helped work on the current football stadium. I was involved in the Camelot Auction from the beginning. But now, having a grandson at La Salle has re-energized me in a whole new way," said Sillis. "The enthusiasm at La Salle hasn't changed. The school spirit is as palpable as it was fifty years ago. Even though we were the new kids on the block when I was there, we took great pride in putting La Salle High School on the map. Then, everyone in the state knew who La Salle was. Now, everyone in the country knows who La Salle is. They are recognized nationally.
La Salle Basketball gave Terry an opportunity to be a better basketball player than he thought he could be. Also, it taught him how important it is to be a team player. He said, "when I play basketball, I feel like that is where I belong. I feel like it embodies everything about me." He also said, "basketball was a bigger stepping stone for me than I ever thought it would be. It enabled me to deal with challenges in life. What you learn on the court carries into your life. You learn that your hard work will pay off and to fight back from tough times." A basketball scholarship also enabled him to get a college education from Xavier University, another "outstanding school."
Terry said that the game has changed since he played. "We used to play for fun, now the intensity level has increased immensely. And, I played before the three-pointer - although, last time I checked, I was still in the top ten players of all time in scoring at La Salle." Terry was a part of the first basketball team from La Salle to go to the state finals. He said , "it was a such a surreal experience. I didn't realize at the time what it meant to La Salle, my classmates, and the people of Cincinnati. I was so focused on the game. I was not worried about the longevity of it. Fifty years later, people still remember and talk about 'the game'." Terry's role on the state team was the captain of the team. He was an outstanding shooter and that gave the team an incredible balance because of the amazing post players they had.
Bill Cady was Sillis' coach when he played at La Salle. He said, "Bill Cady was one of the most sincere and dedicated coaches I have ever had. He believed in me more than I believed in myself." Mr. Cady started the program at a high level, and kept it going for years. According to Sillis, he was highly respected not only as a coach, but also as a person. Cady's legacy is not only as a phenomenal coach, but his humanitarian efforts were next to none.
At La Salle, Sillis' greatest achievement was starting on varsity for three years. "I was able to play with one of the all time greats, Dick Haucke '65. I was able to play with some of my best friends from grade school. We were able to achieve heights we never imagined. Terry never considered himself as a star because "when you start thinking you are something, you are really nothing."
Last year Terry's Life-size image was included on the wall behind the bleachers in the gym as part of the dedication of Cady Court. Only a select few received this privilege. He said, "it was an unexpected honor. There were so many other great players that were not up on that wall. It is truly a very humbling experience."
Terry is optimistic for the varsity team this year. He said it makes him proud to be affiliated with them – to be a Lancer. They have a great team and coach.
Legacy is very important. Many people don't anticipate the impact of their actions. Some don't think that legacies last very long. But Terry is a living example that they do. He is a very important person to La Salle High School and we wish him and the rest of the La Salle alumni the best especially as his class celebrates their 50-year reunion!