The Elgin Holiday Tournament has ended after a 39-year run dating back to Bill Chesbrough’s coaching era at the school.
Once regarded as one of the more prestigious Chicago area holiday basketball tournaments, the 16-team affair has been canceled due largely to financial reasons, Elgin High athletic director Paul Pennington announced Wednesday.
“When I came into this position three years ago the tournament was kind of fading away with some teams’ interest,” Pennington said. “Some teams left because they thought it was our intention three years ago to end it.
“But the first couple of years I was here it was a successful money-maker. This past year it was not a money-maker and we lost money, in fact. We also had some teams say they wanted to leave and go to another tournament, although that was more because they had interest in other competitive situations more than it was what we were doing here.”
Harlan, which won the tournament this year, had decided to pull out for next year, while Batavia was planning to go to York’s tournament and Buffalo Grove to Wheeling’s tournament.
Attendance at the tournament had dwindled drastically in recent years. Also, sponsorship was more difficult without as much local team participation and with the need to bring in teams from outside the area or even out-of-state at times in the recent past.
“You’re competing to get teams here that are at 32-team, 16-team tournaments in the area and that’s not easy,” Pennington said.
Elgin, Dundee-Crown, Huntley and Batavia were the only teams from the immediate area at this season’s tournament.
“I didn’t want it to fall under my watch but you can’t host something just because you’ve done it for 39 years,” Pennington said.
“You have to give it critical thought, and it’s not something financially that can be funded entirely by the athletic department.”