Hall of Champions


“Champions are not the ones who always win races – champions are the ones who get out there and try. And try harder the next time. And even harder the next time. ‘Champion’ is a state of mind. They are devoted. They compete to best themselves as much if not more than they compete to best others. Champions are not just athletes.” – Simon Sinek, Author

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. Joliet Catholic Academy has announced its eighth Hall of Champions class, which continues to speak to the depth of tradition and talent on and off the playing fields that the Angels and Hilltoppers have produced over the years.

Nominations can be submitted via mail or email to Alumni Relations Director Sue Bebar. Please attach a biography with submission.  Nominees will come from the input of alumni, faculty, staff and friends of JCA as well as the Hall of Champions Selection Committee. The JCA Hall of Champions Selection Committee consists of Jim O’Brien, Athletic Director, as chair and Sue Bebar, Director of Alumni Relations as co-chair. Members of the committee are Tina Kinsella, JCA’s girls athletic coordinator; Ryan Quigley, JCA’s Director of Institutional Advancement; faculty representative Jim Barello; and media members Dick Goss (Joliet Herald-News) and Bill Scheibe (Chicago Tribune). Debbie Dispenza, JCA’s Athletic Administrative Assistant, will keep a record of the minutes.


Class of 2023

Kathy (Mondrella ’74) Major

Kathy is a 1974 SFA alum. After high school graduation, she played Volleyball at Creighton University. She coached High School and Junior Club Volleyball in Nebraska from 1978 through 1990. Kathy began her career in Education in 1982 at Millard South High School in Omaha, NE, as a teacher, school counselor, and coach. Kathy then moved back to Lockport where she served as Varsity Volleyball Coach at JCA in the years 1996 through 1999. In her third year as Girls’ Volleyball Coach, she took the team to a fourth-place finish in the 1998 IHSA State Volleyball Tournament. In 1997, she also took on the roles of Girls Athletic Coordinator/Dean of Students where she instituted the Angel Golf Program.

In 2004 Kathy transitioned to JCA’s Counseling Department into the role of school counselor and returned to the coaching ranks as the Angel Golf Coach from 2009 to 2013. In her third year as golf coach, the 2011 team was the first Angel Golf Team to advance to the Sectionals and the first to advance to the IHSA State Girls Golf Finals. She was the first JCA coach to lead teams in two different sports to the IHSA State Tournaments. In 2014 Kathy became the Director of Counseling at JCA. Under her leadership the Counseling Department instituted a Homeroom Advisory Program and significantly expanded the use of Naviance to assist parents and students in post-secondary planning.

Kathy and her husband, Gary, have three children Jeremy, Lindsey and Tyler. In 2022, they both retired to Loudon, Tennessee where they are enjoying their beautiful surroundings and the game of golf.


Cory McLaughlin

A teacher, coach, master motivator and great friend, Cory McLaughlin made a difference every single day at Joliet Catholic High School and Joliet Catholic Academy. And he did it with humility, without ego, for little fanfare. Affectionately known as “Coach Mac,” McLaughlin was always the first to arrive for Saturday morning meetings after a Friday night football game. Coaching and teaching was more than his profession – it was his life. One that he lived fully.

McLaughlin, who taught for decades at Dirksen, started as a football coach on the lower levels in 1977 at Joliet Catholic High School during the heyday of Gordie Gillespie’s run of renowned state championship teams. He moved up to the varsity as a defensive line coach in 1984. He became the defensive coordinator in 1986, wrapping up that job for Joliet Catholic Academy in 2012. He returned as the defensive line coach from 2013 to 2021. McLaughlin also took over as an assistant wrestling coach in 1977, eventually moving up to be the head coach, and he continued his career as Ryan Cumbee’s associate coach in 2020 as the Hilltoppers emerged as a state powerhouse.

A lifelong bachelor, McLaughlin dedicated his days to helping kids. He bought players meals when they needed them. He saw the best in people, never the worst, striving to make moments and memories his players would remember. In looking at how revered the JCA football and wrestling programs remain, one can point to McLaughlin as a pillar of that success. He loved the school, his fellow coaches, the student-athletes, and everything about being a Hilltopper. And that is what he will always be.


Leo “Count” Michalak

Leo worked at Corn Products in Argo, Illinois as a welder and supervisor for 35 years. He attended Joliet Catholic High School in 1947-1948. Leo could not play sports because he had a paper route in the mornings and evenings. He transferred to Lemont High School, graduating in 1951. While at Lemont High School Leo played football, basketball, and baseball. The team went undefeated in football and earned Conference Champion Titles. Eight team members played all three sports while Leo played as an end, punter, and was on the kick-off team. His high school baseball team ended the season with a 13-1 record.

Leo coached Lemont Pop-Warner football teams from 1974 through 1989 when Jim Boyter asked him to help coach freshmen football at Joliet Catholic High School. He continued at the sophomore level, coaching football until 2015. Leo began coaching youth baseball in 1968 continuing until 1989. Leo joined the JCHS baseball staff in 1989 and continued through 2015. During his tenure, the teams he assisted won State Championships in 1994, 2009, and 2013.

Currently, Leo is an assistant baseball coach at the University of St. Francis coaching with his son, Brian. Leo also gave pitching lessons to several area players. This list includes professional players Chris Michalak (his son) and current JCA assistant baseball coach Ryan Quigley. In 2002, Leo was named JCA Assistant Coach of the Year and was recognized by the State of Illinois Senate as an Assistant Coach at JCA in 2009. Among his other accomplishments, Leo is a member of the Joliet Hall of Fame for Bowling. He twice bowled his highest game of 280.

Leo and his wife Janis (Grant) Michalak have been married for 65 years and reside in Lemont. They have four children: Lori, Greg, Brian, and Chris Michalak. Leo and Janis have nine grandchildren.


Lindsey Major ’07

Lindsey Major was a three-sport athlete in her time at JCA, earning three Varsity letters in Volleyball, four Varsity letters in Basketball, and four Varsity letters in Softball. She was a four-time All-Area and All-Conference selection in Softball; All-State and Super 60 All-Tournament selection in Softball; numerous All-Area and All-Conference selections for Volleyball and Basketball; and a Wendy’s High School Heisman Award finalist. Major was key in leading JCA to several Conference and Regional championships in all three sports as well as two State medals in Volleyball. She also led her travel softball team, Orland Park Sparks, to two Top 10 finishes in the ASA National Championships.

Major earned the University of Iowa John and Peg Slusher Catching Scholarship as an incoming Freshman. She was named the starting catcher and a Big 10 one-to-watch in her sophomore season but suffered a career-ending injury in that season. In her playing time at Iowa, Major was a key contributor in their Top 25 national rankings and Big 10 Conference Championship and Super Regional appearances. Major also threw out 96% of attempted steals. She earned four Academic All-Big 10 Awards.

Currently, Major is an executive in the music industry and resides in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and two dogs. She was featured in Billboard Magazine’s 2022 Women in Music Top Executives edition, named as a finalist for Music Biz’s 2023 #NEXTGEN_NOW One to Watch Award and was named the 2023 Nashville Emerging Leader Award winner in the Entertainment & Music Business category.


James L. Randle II ’97

James graduated from Joliet Catholic Academy in 1997 where he held the single season rushing record for some time until Ty Isaac broke this record in the State Football Championship game. James’ outstanding records also include being the first to rush for 300 yards in a playoff game along with rushing for 2,600 yards in a season. James was named All-Conference, All-Area and First Team Class 5A All-State along with MVP for Team Illinois.

While James does not like to speak about his sports accomplishments, he would like to mention that he has been in the locker room of every level of football, but his biggest accomplishments involve being the best dad to his three children, Christian (18), Journee (16) and Kayden (13). He also takes pride in being a devoted husband to his wife, Rhonda, and the best brother to his sister, LaTonya. James also wants to acknowledge his parents, James Sr. and Shirley Randle.

James and his family reside in Princeton, Texas where he is currently an Employee Relations Partner in the Legal Department at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. He is also active as a personal trainer and motivator. James is honored that JCA has considered him to be inducted in the Hall of Champions for Athletics and he professes to be a lifetime supporter
of Joliet Catholic Academy.


Rick Thayer ’77

Rick Thayer’s career as a football player took him across the country, but Joliet has always been his home. And Joliet Catholic has always had his heart. Thayer, who goes by Ricky, graduated from Joliet Catholic High School in 1977. He played running back and on the defensive line for back-to-back Class 4A state championship teams under the guidance of Gordie Gillespie. After continuing to play football at the University of Miami, Thayer transferred to Carroll College in Helena, Montana. As a sophomore, he played under coach Jerry Yost at Joliet Junior College, then played and graduated in 1982 from Hillsdale, where he was the team MVP.

Back home, in 1985, Thayer was the general manager/owner of T&T (Thayer & Tomczak) Restaurant and Pub in Joliet along with his brother, Tom, and friend Mike Tomczak, both standout players for the Chicago Bears at that time. Ricky then opened Thirty Buck Restaurant and Bar with former Hilltopper teammate Eric Beltzhoover. Rick’s mom, Ann, was the cook, and you’ll never eat a better meal in your life. Ricky is married to Danna, and they reside in Joliet. You can see him most hours of the day at Thirty Buck, named after one of the more famous plays in the Hilltopper football playbook. Over the many years, Thayer also found time to help as an assistant coach in football for his alma mater.

He wants to thank all his coaches, but especially Gordie Gillespie, Tony Janc, Larry McKeon, Dale O’Connell, Pat Mudron, Jim Barello and Roger Gifford. His former teammates and coaches, however, were always thankful for him. Big and powerful with a heart of gold, Ricky Thayer will go down in Joliet Catholic history as a humble champion who never lost sight of where he’s from – and the place he’s always called home.


Maggie (Karges ’04) Watson

Maggie was a three-sport athlete for two years at JCA and then put her focus on volleyball. She was co-captain of the first Volleyball State Title Team at JCA and joined Sports Performance for Junior and Senior years. She is in the JCA record books for aces and serve receive percentage. All-time leader list at JCA; third in career service points, first in career serve receive, sixth in career kills and fifth in career blocks. She was recruited by many Division 1 programs and continued on to play Division 1 volleyball at Bowling Green State University.

Maggie graduated with a degree in Dietetics and Nutrition and has been health coaching for eight years and is in the process of starting a new health coaching business geared toward teen health – both in nutrition education and positive body image. Maggie has been married for 12 years, has seven-year-old twins, and resides in Oswego.

2001 honors: All-tournament at Munster, Herald-News Player of the Week, all-conference by the East Suburban Catholic, Herald-News second team all-area.

2002 honors: Team captain. Herald-News first team all-area, Daily Southtown all-area, all-tournament at Munster, all-conference in East Suburban Catholic, honorable mention all-state by Champaign News-Gazette.

2003 honors: Team captain. Chicago Sun-Times Preseason Top 50 player, all-tournament at Hinsdale Central, all-conference in East Suburban Catholic for third time, Daily Southtown all-area, Chicago Sun-Times all-area, Chicago Tribune special mention all-state, first team all-state by Champaign News-Gazette, Herald-News all-area, Herald News Co-Player of the Year, Class AA all-tournament by Illinois High School Association.


1975, 1976, 1977, 1978 JCHS Football State Champions 

From the 1975 through 1978 seasons, coming out of place regarded as the “City of Champions,” Joliet Catholic High School produced the first noteworthy, bona fide football dynasty in Illinois High School Association history. Much like the Dallas Cowboys under Tom Landry were known as America’s Team, the Hilltoppers under Gordie Gillespie were the pride of the Prairie State, creating an iconic run of four straight Class 4A state championships while finishing with an amazing 51-1 record.

The first state title came in 1975, with playoff wins over Bradley-Bourbonnais (20-7), Hillcrest (20-16), Naperville Central (20-8) and Springfield Griffin (34-14). The next year in 1976 saw the only regular-season loss, followed by the same result in the playoffs with wins over Hillcrest (28-14), Lake Park (34-14), Rockford Boylan (8-7) and Danville (16-8). In 1977 and 1978, the Hilltoppers went undefeated in both seasons. The 1977 team swept the playoffs, beating Crete-Monee (42-8), Glenbard South (20-3), Woodstock (26-7) and LaSalle-Peru (30-6). The 1978 team ramped things up defensively, posting shutouts in the entire playoffs with wins over West Chicago (22-0), Rich Central (26-0), Lake Forest (33-0) and LaSalle-Peru (25-0).

That span was impressive, stunning, and historic, making Joliet Catholic the measuring stick for football programs across the state.

Class of 2022


Ronald Boyter ’67                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Ron Boyter was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Reno, Nevada. All the Boyters are athletes, all love sports with Ron possibly the most passionate among them. His wife Peggy says he is a true sports’ genius in his deep understanding of sports. Ron emulated his heroes, national icon John Wooden, Arizona hero Lute Olsen, and Reno coach Ken Munley, Ron’s coach grades 6 through 9 in baseball and basketball. From Ken Munley he learned that sports teach an important lesson. In Coach Munley’s words: One for all and all for one. This became Ron’s motto for his own teams. A typical day would find Ron hopping on his bicycle, his baseball glove looped over the handlebar, riding off to find a game. Love for baseball and basketball led Reno Ron to hone skills and become a fierce competitor.

As a Freshman at Bishop Manogue High School, Ron was:
• Elected Freshman Class president
• Leading scorer in the Jr. Varsity Basketball team
• Won the Nevada Conference high school batting title
• A member of the Varsity Baseball team
• One of two freshmen to earn a varsity letter

The summer after freshman year, Ron played with the local All-Star Baseball team, before abruptly having to move to Joliet with his family. Starting his sophomore year at Joliet Catholic High School was a challenge for Ron. Teams were forged and bonded Freshman year, making it tough to find his place. But with the support of teachers, coaches, and teammates, Ron became an active player in basketball, baseball and football for Catholic High. Coach Gillespie was among his favorites as were Jim Gannon and Tony Janc. Matt Laurich, his coach and math teacher, inspired Ron to pursue a teaching and counseling career. Fellow player Bob Ivnik became his best and life-long friend. Teammates Pat Mudron, Bobbie Gillespie, Tom Farnsworth, Jim Adamic and Dick Dempsey left lasting memories of Joliet. Ron was the first student athlete in Catholic High history to be named 1st team All-Conference in three sports (football, basketball and baseball) in one year, his senior year, in the Class of 1967. Ron accepted a sports scholarship to play both basketball and baseball at Cochise College in Douglas, Arizona, earning 4 varsity letters, 2 in basketball and 2 in baseball. At Cochise Ron found two great loves: the Arizona desert and the beloved Carole Ann Ulrich. The prettiest girl on campus, Carole became Ron’s best friend and stead-fast partner for 20 years. They matriculated to Northern Arizona University to finish their BA’s, married in 1971, in 1972 had son Scott. Ron no longer played college ball but loved playing intramural sports and serving as a dormitory head. Transformed from a player to a coach, he received his Masters in High School Counseling from NAU. Sadly, his wife Carole left them too soon after a long illness at age 36, just as Scott was about to start high school. Her influence and love lives on. Ron’s career spanned 34 years at Sahuarita High School, in a little rural town outside of Tucson. He coached Mustang basketball, baseball, football and golf. He served as both Vice Principal and then College Counselor. These days he often runs into former students and their parents, whose respect and affection continues. Blessed to coach son Scott, who went on to teach and coach at Sahuarita, Scott married his soulmate Mary Jo, first a kindergarten teacher and now Director of Curriculum in the district. Scott coached his son Kaden, just graduated from Sahuarita High School, soon to begin college at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. The legacy continues. Titles and stats attest to the success Coach Ronald Boyter experienced at Sahuarita. The data cannot reveal the humble man, a gifted athlete, coach, teacher, and devoted family man. Living now in Green Valley, Arizona, a retirement community adjacent to Sahuarita, married 9 years to his high school sweetheart Peggy DeChecko, Ron is busy with golf and swimming, still enjoying the monsoons in his desert home of 50 years. Congratulations to Ron Boyter on a life well-lived.


Dave Douglas ’75

Dave Douglas has been employed at Joliet Catholic High School and Joliet Catholic Academy since 1985. Over an incredible 37-year coaching career, Douglas has been a part of ten IHSA Football State Championship coaching staffs (’87, ’90, ’99, ’00,’01, ’03, ’04, ’07, ’18, ‘21) and three IHSA State Runner-Up staffs (’96,’09, ’11). Douglas served as a lower-level assistant head football coach from ’85 to ’86 and joined head coach Jim Boyter’s varsity staff in 1987. From 1989 until 2012, he served as the offensive line coach for head coaches Bob Stone and Dan Sharp. In 2013, Douglas was elevated to associate head coach and has served in that capacity until now under current head coach Jake Jaworski. His offensive lines have paved the way for one of the most formidable rushing attacks in IHSA history. The 2007 Hilltoppers set an IHSA record with 6,609 rushing yards in a season. He’s coached offensive lines that produced two of the top 20 most total yards in a season in IHSA history (6,651 yards in 2007; 6,590 yards in 2011. The Hilltopper rushing attack also holds the single-game IHSA State Championship game rushing record with 747 yards on 64 attempts in 2011.

The Hilltoppers routinely send multiple offensive lineman to the collegiate ranks, with over 100 former Douglas proteges continuing their careers at the NCAA, NAIA, or NJCAA levels. Douglas’ career in education began as a math teacher at Custer Park Grade School in Braidwood in 1980. He joined the math department at Joliet Catholic High School in 1985. Throughout the years he has served in a variety of capacities, most recently as Assistant Athletic Director. Not only has Douglas enjoyed a storied coaching career in football for the Hilltoppers, his service to the JCHS, St. Francis Academy, and JCA athletic departments may be unmatched in school history. Douglas has served as head girls basketball coach, sophomore head baseball coach, varsity badminton coach, and most notably head softball coach over this 37-year career at the three schools (JCHS and SFA combined to form Joliet Catholic Academy in 1990). Douglas guided the JCA Angels softball program from 1990 to 2016, posting a 527-367 overall record. The Angels won nine regional titles, reached a sectional final and won 20 or more games in 16 of his 26 seasons at the helm. He passed the reigns over to fellow JCA Assistant Athletic Director and Tina Kinsella in 2016. Douglas credits several Hall of Famers that he had the opportunity to work with throughout his career including Gordie Gillespie, Bob Voss, Carl Hunckler, Mel Deskin, Bob Stone, and Dan Sharp.


Mike Grace ’88

Mike Grace is a 1988 JCA graduate and former professional baseball player with over 3 years of MLB service time. Grace was a 10th round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1991, and he had a highly successful 4-3 record with a 1.65 ERA in Class A ball that year. In the final week of the ’91 season, Grace suffered a career threatening injury that sidelined him for 2 seasons, a period over which he endured 4 elbow surgeries. Grace returned to action in ’94, and the ’95 season was a breakout year for him. During the ’95 season, Grace had a combined 15-6 record with a 3.34 ERA in Class AA/AAA, and he was named “Pitcher of the Year” for the ’95 Eastern League Champions Reading Phillies. He was called up to Philadelphia in August and earned his 1st MLB win with a 1-0 victory over the LA Dodgers on September 5th.

Grace won his first 6 decisions to start the ’96 season, a stretch that included a 19 inning scoreless streak and pitching his 1st complete game shutout with a 6-0 victory of the defending world champion Atlanta Braves. On June 2nd, Grace’s bid to make the All-Star team fell short, as he suffered a season ending injury that concluded his ’96 campaign with a respectable 7-2 record & 3.49 ERA. Grace recovered and returned to Philadelphia late in the ’97 season, and in his second game back he threw a complete game shutout over the NY Yankees with a 5-0 victory, a game in which he faced the minimum of 27 batters. That game proved to be the pinnacle of his career, as the cumulative effect of his injuries deteriorated his physical skills. He pitched his last MLB game on Oct 1st, 1999, and finished his MLB career with a modest 16-16 record & 4.96 ERA.


Samantha (Tortorello ’02) Haas

Sam Tortorello graduated in 2002 from Joliet Catholic Academy. Tortorello, a three-year Varsity starter, led Angel Volleyball to a Regional Championship in 2001 and was named the Chicago Sun Times 2001 Player of the Year. Sam went on to play at Penn State University where she led the Nittany Lions to three Big Ten Championships. During her Big Ten career, she earned accolades of 2002 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, 2005 Big Ten Player of the Year, 3-Time AVCA All American and a 2-Time Honda Sports Award Finalist.

Sam graduated from Penn State in 2006 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Arts and Sciences, with a minor in Business. After Penn State, she continued her volleyball career as a member of the 2006 USA Volleyball National Team. Sam is currently the Executive Director of the Team Ream Foundation, a non-profit entity, which provides funds to financially disadvantaged families battling cancer in Central Pennsylvania. Today, Sam resides in Wheaton, Illinois with her husband, Jason, two-year old son, Ford, and expecting their second child in the coming weeks.

• 2001 Chicago Sun Times Player of the Year
• 2002 Big Ten Freshman of the Year
• 2005 Big Ten Player of the Year
• 2003, 2004, 2005 AVCA All-American
• 2006 USA Volleyball National Team Member


Annemarie Hickey ’10

Annemarie is in her seventh season in 2022 with the Wisconsin Volleyball staff, with the defensive standout and captain having returned to the program in 2016 as the team’s technical coordinator. Hickey is responsible for data collection and analysis, developing game plans for all opponents, live-coding matches while providing in-game tactical adjustment. She utilizes cutting-edge statistical analysis from practice and match play to identify areas for team/individual improvement. Hickey assists in a coaching capacity on-court during practices for small-group tutoring and position training. She’s a diligent performance analyst with five years of experience in organizing dashboards, reports and data collection.

Annemarie was a four-year letter winner for the Badgers from 2010-13. She served as a team tri-captain in 2013, aiding UW to an appearance in the NCAA championship match. Hickey ranks third on Wisconsin’s career digs record list with 1,849 digs, and tied for second in average with 3.98 digs per set. She graduated from UW in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and spent the 2014-15 season as the Badgers’ volunteer assistant coach, before transitioning into the technical coordinator role. Annemarie has had the opportunity to work with USA Volleyball indoor national team serving in capacities such as:

• Monitoring and collecting of performance data/athlete tracking,
conducting in-depth analyses of the world’s top teams to provide
Olympic-level insight and trends, building custom dashboards to
enable coaches the ability to manage interests and planning;
• Provides detailed reports prior to matches with key metrics, captures
and distributes video footage during tournaments for USAV staff.


Mike Kolodziej ’02

Michael Kolodziej is a 2002 JCA graduate who went on to play football at the University of Michigan from 2002-2006. After redshirting his first year, Michael saw significant playing time as
redshirt freshman. Michael started his redshirt sophomore season as the starting left tackle and would eventually be the starting left tackle the same year in the Rose Bowl against the University of Texas, in which Michael graded out at a 98%, his best game of his career. Michael sustained a neurological head injury in 2005 and was sidelined for a few months, but fought his way back on the field as the starting right tackle. During training camp heading into his final season, Michael, once again, sustained what doctors thought again to be another neurological head unjust and he had to cut his football career short. Michael finished his career as 3-year letterman, 2-time Big Ten champion, and his team earned 3 Rose Bowl appearances.


Jared Voss ’92

Jared Voss is entering his 25th season as the Head Baseball Coach at Joliet Catholic Academy. During his tenure as Head Baseball Coach, the Hilltoppers have gone 591-243-3, an average of 24 wins per year with three State Championships: ’08, ’09 ‘22; 2 State Runner-Up Finishes: ’00, ’04; 1 State 3rd Place Finish: ’08, and 1 State 4th Place Finish: ’10. During this time JCA has also won 6 Super-Sectional Titles, 7 Sectional Championships, 14 Regional Championships, 8 ESCC Titles, 1 IHSBCA Runner-Up Finish: ’12, 2 IHSBCA Semi-Finalist Appearances: ’03, ’05; overall 11 Elite-8 appearances, spring and summer included. Joliet Catholic also won the 2014 IHSBCA State Summer Title, going a perfect 20-0 in the process. He has coached 150 players and counting who have gone on to collegiate careers, twelve former players have played professionally, and one (Joe Benson) has reached the Major Leagues. For his leadership, Voss has been named the Class 3A Coach of the Year twice: ’09, ’13; IHSBCA Area Coach of the Year four times: ’00, ’04, ’08, ’10; IHSBCA Summer Coach of the Year: ’14; eight -time ESCC Coach of the Year: ’08, ’09,
’11, ’12, ’14, ‘17, ‘18, ’19.

In the spring of 2022, Rylan Bannon became the ninth former JCA player to reach the major leagues, following Jack Perconte, Bill Gullickson, Mark Grant, Mike Grace, Sean Bergman, Chris Michalak, Kevin Cameron, and Joe Benson. Every player except Benson, Perconte, and Bannon are pitchers. Jared was inducted into the 2015 Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association and the 2019 East Suburban Catholic Conference Halls of Fame for achievement and accomplishment in coaching high school baseball. Jared resides in Naperville with his wife Allyson and their daughter Lyla. He is currently JCA’s Director of Admissions.


J.R. Zwierzynski ’02

J.R. Zwierzynski started all 11 games after making the switch from linebacker to tight end in the spring… was a very dominant run-blocker who paved the way for Herb’s Donaldson’s 128.8 rushing yards per game and 6.1 yards per carry… earned an average blocking grade of 91.1 percent during conference games… caught 17 passes for 213 yards… had seven catches for 90 yards against Illinois State and four catches for 61 yards two games later against Indiana State… earned honorable mention all-region honors from the Football Gazette… named to the Gateway Conference All-Newcomer Team. 2002-05 (Penn State): Redshirted in 2002… played in eight games as a sophomore in 2003… appeared in every game of the 2004 and 2005 season, primarily on special teams… was the top backup at outside linebacker to All-American honoree Paul Posluszny earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2004… High School Was the 2001 Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year…won the High School Butkus Award and was a finalist for the High School Heisman… was first-team USA Today All-American and also a U.S. Army, Tom Lemming and PrepStar All-American… served as team captain and was named team MVP… earned all-area and all-conference honors, and was the Catholic Metro Player of the Year… led Joliet Catholic to three state titles… rushed for 5,073 yards and 59 touchdowns in his career, breaking a school record held by Tampa Bay Buccaneers fullback Mike Alstott… as a senior, he rushed for more than 2,220 yards and scored 39 touchdowns, recording a pair of consecutive 300-yard efforts… played in the 2002 All-American Bowl.

Son of Russ and Marianne Zwierzynski… born October 16, 1983…Brother Jay Zwierzynski (JCA “99) Sister Jaime Zwierzynski (JCA ’07) Earned bachelor’s degree in business administration from Penn State in 2006, finishing with a 3.280 GPA. Resides in Rochester, Michigan with wife (Lindsey PSU grad ’06) and two children Jade (daughter)and Zane (son). Currently working in medical sales at Belimed Infection Control as a Senior Account Executive. Where he has continuously met his sales targets and earned Presidents Club awards the past two consecutive years.


Jack Schimanski (for Tony Janc), Christine Scheibe, Mike Goolsby,  and Matt Cimo.

Class of 2021

Matt Cimo ‘79
Joliet Catholic High School

Cimo is a graduate of JCHS’ Class of 1979. On the hardcourt, he was a member of the first Hilltopper basketball team to make it to the Sweet Sixteen of the IHSA Playoffs. During an illustrious career at the Hill, Cimo was named All-State in basketball and All-Area in baseball. Cimo went on to play at Eastern Illinois, starring for the Panthers during their run to the NCAA Division II National Championship game in 1981, where they would finish as runner-up. At the end of his junior year at Eastern, Cimo was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 14th round of the 1982 draft.

Cimo played eight seasons in the minor leagues as an outfielder with the Giants, Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Baltimore Orioles organizations, reaching as high as Triple-A before a back injury ended his playing days. In 1982 he was named a Pioneer League All-Star and in 1987 he was named the AA Southern League’s “Best Hustler”. That year, Cimo hit .308 with 18 home runs and 45 extra-base hits.

He began his teaching and coaching career at Auburn, Alabama in 1992. Has been to 10 Final Four’s and has made six state championship game appearances, winning four overall state titles. Cimo also had the honor of coaching his son, Tanner, on two Auburn State Championship teams. He has been named Alabama Coach of the Year five times, National Federation Coach of the Year three times, and ABCA Southeast Coach of the Year once. In 2021, Cimo was inducted into the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and her is currently just shy of 600 wins as Auburn prepares for the spring 2022 season.

Son of Ernie and Earlene Cimo, brother to JCHS alums Brad and Jay Dee Cimo, Cimo is the proud father of Alissa (Nick) and Tanner (Perri) Cimo. He is a Lockport native.

Mike Goolsby ‘00
Joliet Catholic Academy

Hilltopper football legend Mike Goolsby (’00) was a member of the JCA 1999 IHSA Class 4A State Championship team under Dan Sharp, beginning a dominant era where JCA would go on to capture five state titles in a six-year period. Goolsby, a three-year starter in football at JCA, was named the 1999 Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year, while also earning All-American honors from Parade, USA Today, and Reebok.

Goolsby went on to star at the University of Notre Dame, where he became one of three freshmen to letter during the 2000 season. In 2002, he became a starter at middle linebacker for the Irish, leading the team to 8-0 and 10-1 starts, ranking third on the team in tackles with 76, and leading the team in tackles for a loss at 13. Goolsby returned in 2004 after a labrum injury to lead the Irish with 97 tackles. He was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in ND’s upset victory at No. 9 Tennessee.

Goolsby signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 2005 and reportedly was the second-highest paid free agent that season. The following year he was with the St. Louis Rams, where he played in two NFL games.

In 2020, Goolsby accepted a position as an analyst/commentator with BlueandGold.com, a Rivals-network company offering Notre Dame football coverage. He currently works as a sales representative with Patterson Dental, while also providing private football instruction for recruits in Omaha, Neb., with Game Changers Academy.

Christine Scheibe
Joliet Catholic Academy

Recently retired, longtime Angel volleyball coach Christine Scheibe has a career record of 602-198-10 for a .753 winning percentage while playing one of the toughest schedules in the state. When Scheibe took over the program in 2000, the Angels had been to state three times under three different coaches, earning two state trophies.

Her teams won three state championships, including the first state title by a girls team in school history. That honor belongs to the 2003 team that went 39-2-1 and won the Class AA state championship. The Scheibe-led Angels also won back-to-back Class 3A state titles in 2008 and 2009, finishing with 39-3 and 41-1 records, respectively. Both teams were ranked among the best in the nation. The 2009 team went undefeated against teams from Illinois.

JCA also finished as the 3A state runners-up in 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2019, took third in Class AA in 2006 and in 3A in 2018, and finished fourth in Class AA in 2005 for a grand total of 10 state trophies in 20 seasons — a remarkable accomplishment.

Scheibe was selected Coach of the Year three times by the Daily Southtown (2002, 2014, 2018), once by the Joliet Herald-News (2011) and three times by the East Suburban Catholic Conference (2003, 2007, 2009).

The recipient of the Sr. Anna Marie Becker Award for service to JCA, Scheibe was inducted in 2019 into the East Suburban Catholic
Conference Hall of Fame and in 2016 to the Joliet Catholic Academy Hall of Fame.

A three-sport athlete and high school valedictorian at Morris, Scheibe played basketball in college at Illinois Wesleyan, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Scheibe, who teaches freshman and sophomore English at JCA, resides in Joliet with her husband Bill, a senior content editor for the Chicago Tribune.

Tony Janc
Joliet Catholic High School
Coach and Athletic Director

Tony Janc served at Joliet Catholic High School for 27 years, from 1957 until 1984, where he taught Math, English, and Religion. Janc coordinated the Christian Service program at JCHS, and worked on Kairos Retreat for seniors.

Janc may be best known for serving as the Athletic Director at Joliet Catholic for 17 years, from 1967 to 1984. He was a part of the leadership team at Joliet Catholic during transition to the Illini 8 Conference in 1970, continuing until 1981. The conference offered a local opportunity for the Hilltopper athletic programs to shine in Will County against several local public high schools. Janc also oversaw the transition to the East Suburban Catholic Conference, an affiliation JCA maintains to this day.

Janc wore many hats at JCHS, also coaching baseball, swimming, and track. He coached football for 15 seasons, including IHSA State Championship teams in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, and 1981. HE helped expand Joliet Catholic’s athletic programs to a position of prominence throughout the state and country, while enhancing Joliet’s reputation as the City of Champions.

Janc is also a member of the Lewis University Hall of Fame, inducted in 1982 for baseball and coaching. He finished his teaching and coaching career at St. Pius Catholic High School in Festus, MO. Jance passed away in June of 2020, preceded in death by his loving wife Mary Jo Janc; and son Michael Janc. He is survived by his daughter Mary Kristin “Kris” Elkins of Morgantown, WV.

Class of 2019

Sean Bergman (’88)
Joliet Catholic High School

Starting WR on ’87 Hilltopper State Championship team; three-sport athlete excelling on the mound.

Pre-Season 1st Team All-American Pitcher at SIU-Carbondale; SIU-Carbondale Athletics Hall of Fame.

1991 MLB 4th Round Draft Pick; 14-year MLB career with Tigers, Padres, Astros, Braves, and Twins.

Mary (Will) Jaworski (’74)
St. Francis Academy/Joliet Catholic Academy

Head Cheerleading Coach at SFA/JCA 1983-1997; National Champions in 1991 and 1992.

Top-Five National Finishes in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1996, and 1997.

1996 Can-American Cheerleading Coach of the Year; President of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce.

John Piazza (’79)
Joliet Catholic High School

Three-year starter at middle linebacker on 1976, 1977, and 1978 State Championship football teams.

Perennial high school all-conference, all-area, and all-state honoree.

Four-year collegiate football career and graduate of Yale University; former two-term Mayor of Lemont.

Mark Sopko (’00)
Joliet Catholic Academy

Led ’99 Hilltoppers to State Championship at quarterback.

Led Hilltopper Baseball to ’00 Class AA Runner-Up finish. Sun-Times Top 5 Athlete in Class of 2000.

Arizona State Baseball Freshman All-American; Toronto Blue Jays MLB Draft Pick in 2003.

Christine Nicole Toscas (’85)
St. Francis Academy

SFA record holder for career points (1,893) and rebounds (1,028); four-time team MVP.

’84-’85 Chicago Tribune First-Team All-State in basketball; led Angels to the Elite 8 (28-3 record).

1st Team All-American at Lewis University; played professional basketball overseas in Greece and Australia.

Wayne Vercellotti (’53) – Legacy Tribute
Joliet Catholic High School

Led JCHS Golf Team; began golf career as a caddy at the Joliet Country Club.

Received golf scholarship to Notre Dame; former president of ND Alumni Association of Joliet.

Former Joliet Park District Board President; National Amputee Golf Association Tour Champion.

Inducted into the Joliet Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

Click Here to view the Hall of Champions – Athletics Class of 2019 Event Program.

Class of 2018

Coby Fleener ’07: Fleener was all-conference, all-area, all-state and an all-state academic honoree his senior year in football at JCA, while also earning three letters in basketball while at the Hill. He went on to earn All-American honors at Stanford, where he ranks first all-time in receiving touchdowns by a tight-end with 18. Fleener was selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts and has played six years in the NFL with the Colts and the New Orleans Saints. He is currently an NFL free agent. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Stanford. Sharp said, “Coby was a tremendous talent as an athlete and one of the most intellectual players I’ve ever coached. He represents JCA the way we want Hillmen to through his kindness for the less fortunate which he continues through his philanthropy today.”

Chris Michalak ’89: a three-sport star at JCHS in football, basketball, and baseball, Michalak starred at the University of Notre Dame in baseball before embarking on a 16-year professional baseball career, including parts of four seasons in the big leagues with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, and Cincinnati Reds. Michalak was a member of the 1987 Joliet Catholic State Championship football squad and a member of a high school pitching rotation featuring three future major leaguers (Sean Bergmann and Mike Grace the others). Michalak still holds pitching records at Notre Dame where he went 34-13 overall with a 3.21 ERA, 12 saves, and 263 strikeouts in 372.2 innings pitched in four years. He was the first Irish pitcher to win 20 games and save 10 over the course of his college career. Michalak has spent his post-playing career as a minor-league pitching coach with the Washington Nationals, where he spent time as a major league bench coach during the 2017 season. He currently serves as the Minor League Pitching Coordinator for the Miami Marlins.

Kelly Murphy ’08: a three-time All-America selection at JCA, Murphy led the Angels to two state trophies in her four years and capped off her senior season in 2007 being named the Gatorade National High School Player of the Year. During her collegiate career at Florida, she was a third-team All-American as a freshman, second team as a sophomore and first team each of her last two seasons. At Florida she became the first-ever four-time AVCA All-American in program history, was the 2010 SEC Player of the Year, and the Under Armour/Volleyball Magazine National Freshman of the Year in 2008. She has played in numerous international competitions with Team USA, highlighted by winning a bronze medal with Team USA at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She has also played professional volleyball in Japan, and recently captured the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League title with the U.S. women’s national team. Sharp said, “…without a doubt one of the greatest female athletes to ever come out of JCA. Kelly is one of our two Olympians (along with Dave Sims) and the only JCA graduate to earn an Olympic medal. We are proud of the way she has represented her country and JCA with class.”

Samantha Quigley-Smith ’06: As a high school senior, Quigley-Smith was selected as the 2006 Chicago Sun-Times Female Athlete of the Year starring in basketball, volleyball and softball at JCA. She was a member of the 2003 JCA girls volleyball state championship team, the first in school history. Quigley-Smith had an illustrious playing career at DePaul University, where she was a two-time All-Big East selection and was named an Honorable Mention WBCA All-American in 2011 and a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award as a senior. She is currently entering her second season as the head women’s basketball coach at Lewis University, following a five-season stint at the University of St. Francis in Joliet. In her final two seasons at USF, the Fighting Saints registered a mark of 62-7 (.899) with two Top 10 finishes in the NAIA Division II Coaches Poll, including a No. 1 ranking in the final 2017 poll. Sharp said, “Sam is one of the fiercest competitors to ever come out of JCA and you can see that same determination in the preparation she puts into her successful coaching career at USF and Lewis.”

Jack Schimanski: the head baseball coach at Joliet Catholic High School from 1979-1988, during that time his team’s record was 323-101. His 1982 team won 53 games, a record that still stands. He won conference baseball championships in 1980, 81, 82 and 88. His 1980, 81 and 88 teams were IHSA state finalists. His team won the 1983 summer state baseball championship. Jack was named IHSA Coach of the Year in 1981 and 1988, 18 of his players signed professional contracts, and five made it to the major leagues. Schimanski is also in the Lewis University and Brother Rice High School Hall of Fame’s. At Lewis, he posted a 9-1 record on the mound as a senior in 1972, leading the Flyers to a 46-12 record and a sixth place national finish. Schimanski retired as an assistant principal from Wheeler High School in 2018 after 46 years in education. In 22 overall years as a head baseball coach at Joliet Catholic and Wheeler (1999-2010), Schimanski posted a 541-237 overall record. Sharp said, “I personally learned so much from Jack. No one prepared harder or utilized practice time better. His success with the baseball program here with the number of wins and professional players laid a foundation that continues to this day.”

Andrew Matichak ’53: the honoree for this year’s Legends category, Matichak was a stand out three-sport athlete in football, basketball, and baseball at Joliet Catholic High School, while also excelling in leadership positions as his class president. Matichak starred on the gridiron for the Hilltoppers during the ’50-’52 seasons, rushing for 1,339 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 10 extra points during his junior season leading the Hilltoppers to a 7-2 record. As a senior on the gridiron, Matichak gained 887 yards rushing, scored 15 touchdowns, scored 96 total points, and was named All State by the Champaign News Gazette. At one time he held school records in rushing yard and scoring, and total points scored in basketball, where he averaged a team-leading 14 points per game during his junior and senior seasons. He also hit .410 in baseball, leading the team in extra-base hits and home runs as a senior. Sharp said, “Coach Gillespie (at the time the head boys basketball coach and an assistant football coach to Phil Cantwell) always said Andy was one of the best three-sport athletes he ever coached. I had the opportunity to work for Andy in college on his iron working crew, he was as meticulous and tough as they come.”

The fifth class will be inducted during Hall of Champions Weekend September 7-8, 2018. Members will be introduced at the Annual Alumni Golf Outing on Friday, September 7, 2018 at the Joliet Country Club. They will be honored and inducted at the annual Hall of Champions Dinner on Saturday, September 8, 2018; 5:30 p.m. Reception, 6:30 p.m. Dinner, and Induction Ceremony to follow in the Student Activity Center at JCA

For more information and to purchase tickets, please call JCA Director of Special Events Christine Voss at 815.773.0784 or at cvoss@jca-online.org.

Class of 2017

Patricia Carbery ’82: A four-year varsity starter in basketball, softball and tennis, Carbery was all-conference three years in basketball, four in softball and three in first doubles in tennis. She scored more than 1,000 points during her SFA career and went on to earn eight varsity letters at Yale College in basketball and softball. During the 1984-1985 season, she set the Yale record for assists in a season and was a two-time member of the All-Ivy League team in softball.

She earned an M.A. School Administration from Northwestern, while also receiving a Fulbright Fellowship to study education in Eastern Europe. She coached the Beaver Country Day School girls basketball team to the 1990 New England state championship and currently serves as principal at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto, California.

Emily Marino ’97: During her prep career, Marino excelled in softball, volleyball and basketball. The recipient of 10 varsity letters at JCA, Marino was inducted into the East Suburban Catholic Conference Hall of Fame in 2008. She played softball at Florida from 1998 to 2001 and established herself as one of the top players in program history. A four-year starter who played catcher and first base, Marino is ranked first in program history in stolen-base percentage (.944), second in intentional walks (9), third in walks (138) and games started (267), fourth in throwing out base stealers (34), fifth in putouts (1,169) and games played (269), seventh in RBIs (150) and eighth in doubles (41).

After graduating from Florida with a bachelor’s degree in recreational science, Marino spent one summer playing professional softball in Italy. She served as women’s athletic coordinator and head softball coach at Joliet Junior College from 2005 to 2015, leading the Lady Wolves to 166 wins. She earned a master’s degree in sport management from Northwestern and currently serves as the director of intercollegiate and intramural athletics at Malcolm X College.

Larry McKeon ‘68: Known more now for his success as the former head football coach at Naperville North, McKeon still holds the Hilltoppers’ career receiving yardage (1,206) and receiving touchdown (19) records. He played three years on the varsity (1965-67) as a receiver/defensive back and the Hillmen only lost one game in that time. McKeon earned eight varsity letters – three in baseball, three in football and two in basketball – before receiving a football scholarship to Illinois, where he completed his degree in 1972. He was called one of the greatest three-sport athletes in the history of the school by the late Gordie Gillespie.

McKeon spent four years as an assistant on Gillespie’s Joliet Catholic staff, helping lead the Hilltoppers to three state championships (’75, ’76, ’77) before embarking on a five-season stint as the head football coach at Plainfield. In 27 seasons at Naperville North (1983-2010), McKeon’s Huskies went 231-72 with 12 10-win seasons and 23 playoff appearances, including state championships in 1992 and 2007. In all that time, Naperville North finished below .500 once, his first year in 1983. Overall, McKeon’s 261-89 lifetime record is tied for 16th in victories in Illinois prep history.

Dan Sharp ’74: On December 5, 2016, Dan Sharp announced his retirement as the head football coach at JCA following 20 seasons, 199 victories and six state championships. Sharp, who returned to the school as the football coach in 1997 after a four-year run as head coach at Minooka (where he also led the Indians to unprecedented success), stepped down as head football coach but remains the JCA athletic director. He capped a 39-year coaching career, which included stints as an assistant at Joliet Catholic and the University of St. Francis under fellow Hall of Champions honoree Gordie Gillespie. He retires with a 223-69 overall mark as a head coach and the six state titles.

The Hilltoppers’ second all-time leader in victories behind only Gillespie (222 career victories), he steps aside with a 199-51 record at JCA during his 20-year tenure. Sharp also leaves as the school’s leader in state championships with six (’99, ’00, ’01, ’03, ’04, ’07). He sent 47 players on to the Division-I level while averaging nearly 10 wins per season.

Throughout those 20 years he’s also overseen an athletic department that has produced three state championships in volleyball, two state championships in baseball and numerous regional, sectional, and supersectional titles while maintaining JCA’s mission of inspiring growth through knowledge and faith.

David Sims ’80: Sims is the first Olympian in the JCA family, setting the stage for recent USA volleyball bronze medal winner Kelly Murphy from the 2016 games. He is an accomplished swimmer who graduated from Stanford and earned a spot on the USA swim team for the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Sims unfortunately was unable to compete there due to the U.S. boycott of the Olympics.

While at JCHS, Sims won the 1980 IHSA state title in the 500-meter freestyle and the JCHS Scholar Athlete of the Year Award. At Stanford, he set numerous school and Pac-10 conference records. He has since gone on to success as the COO, CFO and a Founding Principal of Lodging Capital Partners, LLC, a premier owner and manager of upper-upscale and luxury hotels.

Sims also holds nine U.S. Masters Swimming records and has set 23 individual and relay records since 2010 when he began swimming competitively again. The swimming legacy continues within the Sims family as his son Burke and daughter Haley also attended Stanford on swimming scholarships, while twin daughters Gabby and Maddy are championship swimmers at Harvard and Northwestern, respectively.

Bill Sticklen ’43: A 1943 graduate of Joliet Catholic, where he played basketball, football and golf, Sticklen’s golf teams won the Chicago Catholic title three years in a row. He also was inducted into the Chicago Catholic League Basketball Hall of Fame and is believed to be the only Joliet Catholic graduate in the CCL Hall of Fame.

Sticklen had an athletic scholarship in basketball and golf to Northwestern. He was the co-captain of the basketball team and the leading scorer two years in a row, culminating in being named team MVP in 1949. The golf team won the Big Ten championship in 1949. He set the intercollegiate course record at Northwestern Golf Course with a 66 against Notre Dame.

Later in life, he captured the Herald News golf tournament title twice and the Will County “Derby” eight times. He won numerous Joliet Country Club club championships and set the course record of 63 before the course was redesigned. During his career, he had 16 holes-in-one. Sticklen also was an Army veteran and former owner of Lennon Wallpaper Company, retiring in 1981. He passed away in 2011 at age 87.

Class of 2016

Jane Condon – Class of 1975


Jane Condon ’75, St. Francis’ first superstar athlete, earned varsity letters in five different sports: volleyball, basketball, softball, track and field, and tennis. Condon led the Angels to a 27-0 record in basketball during their first two years of Interscholastic Athletics competition, which began in the 1973-1974 school year. In ’74 she averaged 18 points per game in basketball, while finishing third in the I-8 conference meet in track, and fifth in the district meet in the discus, qualifying for state.

As a senior in ’75 she led the Angel volleyball program to a turnaround from 2-10 in “74 to a 10-5 overall record. In the inaugural softball season during her senior year, Condon led the Angels to a second place conference finish, at 9-5, and tallied an incredible 59 runs batted in. ’75 was also the inaugural year for girls tennis, and Condon teamed with Gerri Kiep to post an impressive 6-1 doubles record.

Condon became the first female to receive an athletic scholarship to Lewis University. A 1984 inductee into the Lewis Athletics Hall of Fame, she earned 11 letters at Lewis in basketball, tennis, volleyball and softball. Condon graduated as Lewis’ career leader in scoring with 703 points (10.7 points per game). She helped the Flyers finish second in the state in 1978-79 and is one of the greatest athletes to ever come out of the Joliet area.

She has operated 1st Choice Temporary Service, Inc. since 1991, serving the Joliet and Will County areas specializing in warehouse, office, and industrial staffing needs.

Sharp said, “Jane was our first superstar athlete during the Title IX era and she blazed the trail for Angel athletes to follow in the inaugural years of Girls Interscholastic Athletics at St. Francis Academy. Gordie (Gillespie) used to say Jane was always the best athlete in the neighborhood, even when competing against the boys growing up. Her support of our girls athletic program continues to this day.”

Pat Mudron – Class of 1967

Mudron Wrestling

Pat Mudron ’67 is perhaps one of the most powerful athletes to ever play for the Hilltoppers on the gridiron, but he was a multi-sport star during his high school years. As a senior, Mudron won the 1967 state championship as a heavyweight in wrestling, going 27-0-1 in the process. He finished his high school varsity wrestling career an astounding 100-5-3, never losing a regular season match. Mudron was a two-time All-State honoree in football, in ’65 as a tackle, and in ’66 as a linebacker. He led the Hilltoppers to an 8-1 record his senior season, before the advent of the IHSA football playoffs. For his efforts in wrestling and football, Mudron was named the Will County Athlete of the Year in 1966-1967.

He earned a football scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, where he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated tackling O.J. Simpson from USC in a game played in front of 100,000 fans.

His success continues on in his professional life, both as an insurance salesman for Mudron Kane Insurance and as a Joliet City Councilman.

Sharp added, “Gordie said that “Mud” was the best lineman he ever coached. He was a tremendous nose tackle, and he remains our first and only state wrestling champion. Pat continues to give back, both to JCA and the Joliet community through his efforts on the City Council.”

Mark Parker – Class of 1976

Parker Basketball 2

Mark Parker ’76 quarterbacked Joliet Catholic’s first state championship football team in 1975 to a perfect 13-0 record, where he passed for 1,237 yards. A star on the gridiron, Parker’s athletic exploits also carried over on the diamond and the hard court, making him one of the first and greatest all-time three-sport athletes to don the Victory Light (Coach Gillespie first added the Victory Light to the football helmets for the 1975 season). Parker led the Hilltoppers to a 34-15 overall record in basketball during his final two years of high school, earning team MVP, All-Area, and All-Conference honors both years. His senior year he led the area in free throw shooting percentage. In baseball, the talented catcher was named All-Area in his junior and senior seasons. In his senior year he led the Hilltoppers to a tie for the Illini-Eight Conference title with Joliet Central.

After high school, Parker went on to star in three sports collegiately as well, first at the College of St. Francis, and then at Coe College in Iowa. He was inducted into their collegiate Hall of Fame for football, basketball, and baseball;  a feat unfathomable in today’s collegiate athletics climate. When he left Coe, he became the first athlete to ever have his number retired. In 1980, Parker had a slugging percentage of .923. In his senior year, he hit 13 home runs. On the day his number was retired, he hit a grand slam homer. His memorable senior batting average of .461 was down from his sophomore batting average of .538, which led the nation’s collegiate players much of that season. Mark’s was recognized with four All Conference awards, three NCAA Division III All-America selections and three NCAA All District selections.

Parker went on to a successful teaching, coaching, and administrative career at the high school level, currently serving as the athletic director at Dike-New Hartford High School in Dike, Iowa.

Sharp said, “Mark is the greatest three-sport athlete in Joliet Catholic’s history. He had a tremendous amount of talent, but it was his cerebral approach to whatever sport he was playing that separated him from the rest. Gordie considered him one of the greatest quarterbacks he ever coached, at the high school or collegiate level.”

Jack Perconte – Class of 1972

Perconte Bunting

Jack Perconte ’72 played seven seasons in the major leagues with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners, finishing up with the Chicago White Sox . His best season was .294 with 29 steals and 31 RBIs in 1984 with Seattle. A second baseman, he batted .270 for his career.

He played in college at Murray State University before being taken by the Dodgers in the 16th round of the 1976 amateur draft. He’s the author of two books on baseball and the website www.baseballcoachingtips.net.

Jack was a member of the first Hillmen baseball team to capture an Illini-8 Conference Title. In 1972 as a senior he finished second in the area in batting average (.434) and first in steals (13). He was a two-time All-Conference and All-Area nominee.

Sharp said, “Jack was an outstanding baseball player at Joliet Catholic, and set the standard as the first of our eight Major Leaguers. He continues to give back to youth baseball players today as an accomplished instructor and author.”

Pat Sullivan – Class of 1961

Pat Sullivan

Pat Sullivan’s name is synonymous with basketball in the Joliet area. After beginning his coaching career at Providence Catholic, Sullivan spent 35 years at the University of St. Francis, where he served as the head basketball coach, athletic director, and athletic chairman until his retirement in 2010. Sullivan led the Saints to over 500 victories. The valedictorian of the 1965 graduating class at Lewis University, Sullivan was mentored by legendary area coach, and fellow JCA Hall of Champions member Gordie Gillespie.

Sullivan, a 1961 JCHS graduate is a member of numerous Hall of Fames, including the Joliet Area Hall of Fame, Lewis University’s Hall of Fame, and the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Hall of Fame. 12 times throughout his career he received “Coach of the Year” recognition from various organizations. He also founded USF’s “Brown and Gold Night”, which has featured legendary speakers from the sporting world including Al McGuire, Mike Ditka, John Wooden, Ray Meyer, Dan Hampton, Paul Hornung, and Bart Starr to name a few.

JCA Athletic Director Dan Sharp said, “Pat is known as one of the greatest college basketball coaches in the country. His ability to teach the game and prepare young men for life is his strength, and he was a mentor to me and so many other great coaches in our area. Anyone who played for or worked with Pat is a better person for it.”

John Carroll – 1926-1934

A new addition to 2016 JCA Hall of Champions is the “Legends Category”, which honors one coach or athlete from the pre-World War Two era. The Hall of Champions Committee is proud to announce John Carroll as this year’s nominee. Carroll is the all-time leader in wins among boys basketball coaches with a 193-80 record, guiding the Hilltoppers to three national championships during his coaching tenure. His 1926-27 team went 24-0 and his 1933-34 team went 29-3, both winning national titles.

Carroll also coached the Hilltoppers in football during his tenure, and his undefeated (5-0) 1926 squad established what will likely remain an unbreakable record; they shut out every opponent. His 1928 Hilltopper team defeated Mount Carmel 12-0 in the inaugural game of what has become one of the most intense rivalries in the nation.  (information courtesy of Kirk Girlbride, “A Chronicle of Hilltopper Football”)

Sharp added, “Joliet Catholic prides itself on the outstanding coaches throughout our history and Carroll was the first, winning national championships in the 1920’s and 1930’s. His teams were also the first to light up the Victory Light, beginning the tradition that continues today. When competing in the national tournament, the Christian Brothers would light up the Victory Light in order to let the city of Joliet know that our Hillmen were victorious.”

Class of 2015

Click Here to view the entire Class of 2015 Induction Ceremony broadcast by Joliet TV.

Mike Alstott (’92) –

Mike Alstott (‘92) led JCA to the Class 4A state football title in 1990, transformed himself into a fullback at Purdue University, then was drafted in the second round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played 12 years in the NFL, made six Pro Bowls, won the Super Bowl, and is now coaching high school in Florida.

“What you hear constantly about Mike is his tremendous work ethic,” Sharp said. “He set a goal to play professional football, and no one worked harder to achieve that goal. He worked harder than anyone else out there to be the best, and he’s teaching what it takes to be the very best to his players today.”

Click Here to View Alstott’s Hall of Champions Induction.

Terry Gannon (’81) –

Terry Gannon (‘81), a standout basketball player, led the Hillmen to regional titles as a junior and as a senior, earning a scholarship to the North Carolina State. He won the national championship under Jim Valvano in 1983, the same year he led the nation in 3-point shooting. He’s an announcer for ABC Sports.

“Terry’s a multitalented young man, and Valvano recruited him for his shooting ability, knowing the ACC was going to the three-point line,” Sharp recalled. “He also was a tremendous pitcher in baseball. You combine his work ethic, preparation, personality and quick wit, and it makes him a great broadcaster.”

Click Here to view Gannon’s Hall of Champions Induction.

Mark Grant (’81) –

Mark Grant (‘81) was drafted in the first round, 10th overall, by the San Francisco Giants only days after leading Joliet Catholic to the second of back-to-back state final appearances. He pitched in the major leagues for San Diego, Atlanta, Colorado, Houston and Seattle. He’s a color analyst for Padre games.

“Mark pitched one of the greatest games I ever saw,” Sharp said. “It was at Joliet West, and he struck out 20 of 21 batters. Off the field, he’s one of the funniest, most enthusiastic, happiest people. He’s like a magnet — everybody wants to be around him. He has a strong passion for baseball, people, and JCA.”

Click Here to view Grant’s Hall of Champions Induction.

Tippy Madarik (’40) –

Elmer “Tippy” Madarik (‘40) played football at the University of Detroit-Mercy before enlisting to fight in World War II. He later played in the NFL for both the Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins, and was noted for his versatility as a halfback, wingback or tailback in the single-wing offenses of that era.

“We have Coby Fleener playing in the NFL right now with the Colts, but Tippy was our first,” Sharp said. “His family, the Madarik name, is woven in the fabric of our school. I’ve always heard about how great of player he was, and that says something that his legacy, from 1939 and 1940, still lasts to this day.”

Click Here to view Madarik’s Hall of Champions Induction.

Liz Tortorello-Nelson (’88) –

Liz Tortorello-Nelson (‘88) was the first star of the volleyball program. She took consecutive Angel teams downstate, led Wisconsin to the Big Ten title and Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, and coached at Loyola University for 11 years. She’s an athletic director at Latin and works for the Big Ten Network.

“When you look at the history and the tremendous job Christine Scheibe is doing with the program, it all started with Liz getting things going as a player,” Sharp said of Tortorello-Nelson, JCA’s first female winner of the Paddy McGowan Award. “The Tortorello name is synonymous with Angel volleyball.”

Click Here to view Tortorello-Nelson’s Hall of Champions Induction.

The JCA administration would would like to offer a special thanks to our 2015 Hall of Champions Event Sponsors:

Athletico Physical Therapy

Brown & Brown Insurance– Manner & Wagner Famililes

CarCare Collision Centers– Diana & Jim Missig

D’Arcy Motors– Terry D’Arcy

Edward Jones- Gloria & Ed Dollinger

Minarich Graphics- Bill Minarich

Providence Bank & Trust

Rathbun, Cservenyak & Kozol, LLC- Frank Cservenyak

Traditions Restaurant & Pub- Chris Adler & Mike Sheppard

Law Office of Vincent F. Cornelius

Class of 2014

Click Here to view the entire Class of 2014 Induction Ceremony broadcast by Joliet TV.

Gordie Gillespie (Coach) –

Gillespie coached football at Joliet Catholic from 1959-1985, compiling a 222-54-6 record (.804 winning percentage) and guiding the Hillmen to their first five state championships (1975-78, 1981). He also coached college baseball at Ripon, Lewis and St. Francis for 59 years, finishing with a 1,893-952-1 record.

“Gordie set the standard,” Sharp said of Gillespie, who’s in the College Baseball Hall of Fame, among others. “Hundreds of his players are in education as teachers, as coaches — his coaching tree is phenomenal. Every person being honored here has been touched somehow by Gordie. It’s amazing.”

Bill Gullickson (’77) –

Gullickson, a 1977 graduate, pitched the Hilltoppers to their first Final Four appearance as a senior and was drafted second overall by Montreal. He also pitched in the major leagues for Cincinnati, Detroit, Houston and the New York Yankees, ending a 14-year career with a 162-136 record and a 3.93 ERA.

“Bill was taken second behind only Harold Baines,” Sharp said of the longtime White Sox outfielder. “That says a lot in itself. We’ve had a lot of major leaguers come out of our state championship baseball program, but Bill is probably the top one, period. He’s the one who started the run of greatness.”

Allie Quigley (’04) –

Quigley, a 2004 graduate, was great in three sports, earning All-American status as an outside hitter in volleyball and as a guard in basketball. She was an All-Area shortstop in softball. She holds the school record with 515 kills as the Angels won the 2003 state title in volleyball. And her basketball numbers?

“I don’t know if anyone will touch her scoring records,” Sharp said of Quigley, who finished with 2,387 career points and scored a single-game best 49 against St. Viator. “She comes from a great Joliet family, she had a terrific college career at DePaul, and continues to shine with the Chicago Sky of the WNBA.”

Jim Stefanich (’59) –

Stefanich, a 1959 graduate, joined the PBA Tour in 1965 and bowled a 300 game in the 1974 Midas Open, which was televised live. He won the first of seven ABC titles at the age of 22, won 14 titles in a 24-year career, and was named to the PBA Hall of Fame in 1980. He went on to golf on the Senior Tour.

“He’s an icon in Joliet,” Sharp of Stefanich, who made the cut in 20 of 24 PGA events over a seven-year period from 1992-2001. “When I was growing up, I remember watching that 300 on national TV. It put the PBA on the map. And he had a second career, a second act, in golf. Not many people can say that.”

Tom Thayer (’79) –

Thayer, a 1979 graduate, is a household name in Chicago because of his association with the Bears, winning the 1985 Super Bowl as an offensive lineman before becoming a color commentator for their games on WBBM-AM. He also played in the NFL for Miami and in the USFL with the Blitz and Arizona.

“Tom won a state championship for Gordie, played for the national championship (1981 Sugar Bowl) at Notre Dame and won a Super Bowl with the Bears,” Sharp said. “Few people can claim that. He always has been very positive in promoting JCA, through his role in the media or by attending football games.”

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