JCA 2015 Hall of Champions Celebration Preview

JCA Hall of Champions logo

Joliet Catholic Academy President/Principal Dr. Jeffrey Budz was amazed at the depth of the 2015 JCA Hall of Champions, the second class to be inducted. “These five inductees could have easily been our first class, but that speaks to the depth of our heritage and tradition at JCA. These classes form the pillars of our tradition, and each year we will honor new pillars going forward that are all equally important to the foundation that is JCA.”

This year’s inductees include: Mike Alstott (‘92), Terry Gannon (‘81), Mark Grant (‘81), Tippy Madarik (‘40) and Liz Tortorello-Nelson ‘(88).

“It’s an outstanding class,” said Dan Sharp, JCA’s athletic director and chairman of the Hall of Champions committee. “The names truly speak for themselves. We could not be more proud of this class and the many that will follow. They represent the best of our four great schools.”

In fact, Alstott, Gannon, Grant, Madarik and Tortorello-Nelson represent graduates from St. Francis Academy, Joliet Catholic High School and JCA. De La Salle preceded Joliet Catholic. The ties to the past resonate today.

Profiles on JCA Hall of Champions Class of 2015:

Mike Alstott

Mike Alstott (’92)
Joliet Catholic Academy

Led Hilltoppers to Class 4A state championship in 1990.
Played at Purdue and 12 years in NFL as a fullback.
Made six Pro Bowls. Won Super Bowl with Tampa Bay.

Terry Gannon

Terry Gannon (’81)
Joliet Catholic High School

Led Hillmen to regional titles as a junior and a senior.
Won ’83 NCAA National Championship at North Carolina State.
Longtime announcer for ABC Sports, NBC Sports, ESPN.

Mark Grant

Mark Grant (’81)
Joliet Catholic High School

Pitched Hilltoppers to second of back-to-back state finals.
Drafted in first round, 10th overall, by San Francisco Giants.
Eight-year MLB career; color analyst for Padres.

Tippy Madarik

Elmer “Tippy” Madarik (’40)
Joliet Catholic High School

Halfback, wingback and tailback in single-wing offensive era.
Played at Detroit-Mercy before enlisting to fight in World War II.
Two-way standout in the NFL for both Detroit and Washington.

Liz Tortorello-Nelson

Liz Tortorello-Nelson (’88)
St. Francis Academy

Took consecutive Angel teams downstate, placing third in 1986.
Led Wisconsin to Big Ten title and Sweet 16 of NCAA Tournament.
Coached at Loyola University for 11 years; analyst for Big Ten Network.


Alstott, Gannon, Grant, Madarik and Tortorello-Nelson will be introduced at halftime of the first home football game on Friday, Sept. 4, against Wheaton North, and will take part in the Alumni Golf Outing that afternoon. An induction ceremony will be held in the Student Activity Center on Saturday, Sept. 5.

Contact Sue Bebar, Director of Alumni Relations and Hall of Champions co-chair, for further details at (815) 741-0500, ext. 269.

“We’ve worked closely with Sue, who has done a tremendous job with our alumni relationship,” Sharp said. “We have the golf outing, and with such strong attendance at our football games, it makes a great introduction on a signature weekend. We feel the Hall of Champions is very prestigious, very deserving.”

Budz added, “We preach ‘student-athlete’ at JCA and after successful playing careers, all of our nominees have had success in their various professional careers. JCA takes pride in molding such well-rounded people of character.”

JCA’s Hall of Champions pays tribute to the boys and girls athletes, coaches and contributors from the three schools that make up JCA: De La Salle (1920-1933), Joliet Catholic High School (1933-1989) and St. Francis Academy (1869-1989). JCA was established July 1, 1990. Athletes must be graduates and meet six criteria from a list of 10 categories, all of which are located on the school’s website. Separate criteria also have been created for coaches and contributors.

Schedule of Events

Friday, September 4, 2015
Annual Alumni Golf Outing
5:30 Dinner
Inductee Recognition at half-time of the JCA vs Wheaton North Football Game
(Joliet Memorial Stadium, 7:30 p.m.)
Post-game pizza at Traditions

Saturday, September 5, 2015
Induction Ceremony & Dinner
(JCA Student Activity Center 5:30 p.m.)

– Follow @JCAOnline on Twitter for up-to-date information on the 2015 Hall of Champions weekend, and all JCA related news.

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