Joliet Catholic Academy announces creation of a ‘Hall of Champions’

JCA Hall of Champions logo

The best of the best.

In making the official announcement, that is how Athletic Director Dan Sharp described Joliet Catholic Academy’s formation of a Hall of Champions that will begin with the 2014-15 academic school year.

The brainchild of Principal/CEO Jeff Budz, the Hall of Champions will pay tribute to the boys and girls athletes, coaches and contributors from the three schools that make up JCA: De La Salle (1920-33), Joliet Catholic High School (1933-89) and St. Francis Academy (1869-1989). JCA was established July 1, 1990.

“Our sports history is amazing,” said Sharp, a 1974 graduate who has coached the Hilltoppers’ football program to six of their IHSA-record 13 state championships. “We have been blessed with unbelievable success, and many people have contributed to that success. This is our way of recognizing them.”

“With the storied past of our school and Joliet being the ‘City of Champions,’ I think it’s only appropriate to have a Hall of Champions here to acknowledge we are standing on the shoulders of the champions who came before us,” Budz said. “This will honor our school and the greatness of our athletic history.”

Athletes must be graduates and meet six criteria from a list of 10 categories, all of which will be located on the school’s website. Separate criteria also have been created for the coaches and contributors.

Nominations can be submitted via mail or email to Dan Sharp or Alumni Relations Director Sue Bebar. Nominees will come from the input of alumni, faculty, staff and friends of JCA as well as the Hall of Champions Selection Committee. An online form also will be made available at

The JCA Hall of Champions Selection Committee consists of Sharp as chairman and Bebar as co-chair. Members of the committee are Tina Kinsella, JCA’s girls athletic coordinator; faculty representatives Jim Barello and Kathy Major; and media members Dick Goss (Joliet Herald-News) and Bill Scheibe (Chicago Sun-Times). Debbie Dispenza, JCA’s athletic administrative assistant, will keep a record of the minutes.

“We want this to be prestigious,” Sharp said in unveiling the Hall of Champions logo. “Many schools have an athletic hall of fame. We want to take ours that next step. Because of our history of success, we feel we are held to a higher standard, and our inductees will more than represent that elite standard.”

The first class of inductees has been notified and will be announced to the public in June. A ceremony will be held at halftime of JCA’s football opener vs. Providence at Memorial Stadium on Friday, Aug. 29.

A banner in honor of each class will be hung in the Student Activity Center and plaques of the inductees will adorn a wall of champions. More details regarding the Hall of Champions are still being worked out.

“We’re hoping that the impact of the Hall of Champions matches the impact that the inductees have had on our school, our alumni, and our tradition,” Budz said. “They have meant everything to us.”

For more information, contact Sue Bebar, Director of Alumni Relations, at 815.741.0500, ext. 269 or

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