After 25 years in one place, one of girls basketball's longest-running traditional events is on the move.
Jim O'Boye, who founded the Coach Kipp's Hoopfest – formerly known as the McDonald's Shootout and Subway Classic – in 1991, confirmed that the event is moving from Willowbrook to Benet and Montini in 2021 to reduce expenses.
"Willowbrook the school has been great and the district has their financial model and I understand it," O'Boye said. "It just reached the tipping point the last couple years. Crowds are not what they used to be, and expenses are up."
O'Boye made it a goal to get 25 of the 30 years at Willowbrook, and had nothing but praise for those at the school who made it possible.
"The workers at Willowbrook, they loved it and took care of it and ran with it, and it's just a great facility," O'Boye said. "But with the rent and the insurance and the security, it was a fairly big expense. I had to decide whether to keep doing it or find a different location or locations. I talked to Montini and Benet and they were both interested."
Held the weekend of the Martin Luther King Day holiday, the shootout was the first of its kind in Illinois. It's the forerunner to what has become in recent years one of the busiest weekends of the basketball season, an event that long attracted many of the best teams in the state.
"I am told, and I don't know for sure, that it was the first girls basketball shootout in-season in the country," O'Boye said. "We brought teams from other states, which hadn't happened for the most part. I enjoy doing it and enjoy bringing teams and enjoy getting good matchups. It's a fun thing to do and the coaches appreciate it."
The event will continue to be held the same MLK Day weekend. Montini will host seven games on the Saturday. Benet will host 11 on Monday, with games staggered between the main gym and old gym.
The 2021 event will include Waunakee, one of the top teams in Wisconsin from just north of Madison, and Crown Point, one of Indiana's best teams. O'Boye confirmed that he's also added Burlington Central to the field.
"The guy from Wisconsin came to me, sought me out," O'Boye said. "He wanted to come to Chicago and play against Chicago-area teams, play a different style of basketball."