Coach Bill Sanford, who has led the boys lacrosse program at Saint Viator for the last 11 years, found himself front and center last month, drawing a standing ovation as the first recipient of the Pat Mahoney Dedication to Coaching Award.
His recognition came during the Saint Viator/Sacred Heart of Mary High School Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which drew more than twice as many people as the last ceremony in 2015. The coaching award was designed to recognize a current Saint Viator coach for their commitment to the sport, the student-athletes and the values of Saint Viator High School.
Since Coach Sanford took over the lacrosse team in 2008, the program has won nine conference championships, played in four final four tournaments and advanced seven consecutive years to the Elite Eight. Just last spring, the boys’ team won the East Suburban Catholic Conference title and ranked fifth in the state out of 89 teams, after advancing to the Elite Eight.
Coach Sanford has had five players go on to play on Division I lacrosse teams, as well as countless all-conference players, three players of the year, two U.S. Lacrosse academic all-Americans and two U.S. Lacrosse all-Americans.
Many of his former players surprised their coach by attending the ceremony, and he posed with them after the inductions ended.
Jim Bristol ’73 heads up the Hall of Fame committee and he always enjoys watching the mini-reunions between coaches and players that take place. The highlight, he says, are the speeches.
“The speeches are heartfelt, family-centric, often emotional and always thankful to Saint Viator High School,” Bristol says, “for the many friendships, great memories and positive impact on their lives.”
One of those speeches was given by former head football coach, Chris Kirkpatrick, who accepted the induction of the 2006 football team, which went 9-2 that season and were co-champions of the ESCC before bowing out in the second round of the playoffs.
“That was a special team,” Kirkpatrick said. “They played for something larger than themselves. They played for one another and for the school. They wanted to represent their school well.”
The team produced several college players, among them was Br. Peter Lamick, CSV, ’07, who played at Benedictine University and was on hand for the induction. Another Viatorian, Fr. Dan Hall, CSV, was among the coaching ranks.
The other team induction that took place was the 2004 girls’ soccer team, which posted a 19-4-3 season and the ESCC conference championship, en route to winning the IHSA regional and sectional titles. The team also produced several Division I college players, including Elise Weber Addis ’05, who started her college career at Wisconsin before transferring to the University of Notre Dame, where she was a second-team Academic All-American and was selected in the inaugural Women’s Professional Soccer Draft. Elise was inducted Saturday as an individual.
Lou Capizzi ’99 was inducted for his achievements in football and baseball, including serving as captain of the 1998 football team that was champion of the Catholic Metropolitan Conference, as well as captain of the baseball team. He went on to have a successful football career at Butler University.
Frank Cirone ’02 was the only three-sport athlete to be inducted. He was a three-year starter in football, a two-year starter in hockey and three-year starter in baseball. Frank went on to play baseball at Villanova University.
Jeff Glass ’84 was a four-year varsity tennis player, earning ESCC champion honors in 1981 at second singles and in 1983 and 1984 as first singles. He also was a state qualifier for three years and in 1984 was the IHSA singles champion.
Brian Hare ’02 was a standout in football and basketball. On the gridiron, he played both wide receiver and was a cornerback on defense. His senior year, Brian helped the team become the Catholic Metro Conference championship. In basketball, he won multiple awards for his scoring ability. In fact, during a game against Prospect High School during his senior year he was named Daily Herald player of the week for scoring 42 points.
Jack Halpin was the only coach to be inducted on Saturday. As the varsity boys’ golf coach, he has guided his teams to 11 ESCC conference championships, as well three state championships and three individual state champions. He has been named ESCC golf coach of the year multiple times and he was named IHSA boys’ golf coach of the year for the 2007-2008 school year.
Dan and JoAnn Murphy received the Robert C. Artman Award as “Sportspeople of the Year.” The couple was unable to attend the ceremony but they have been constant supporters since their son, Dan, ’04, began his freshman year in 2000. Beyond their interest in promoting student-athletes, both have served on Saint Viator’s board of trustees, and on the steering committees for the Night of the Lion and Million Dollar Classic events. The Murphy Wellness Center was named in their honor in 2005.
Bristol always finds the evening to be a powerful one.
“It is a celebration of talent, effort and teamwork,” he says, “and great memories.”