Howie Fagan had a tremendous impact on the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame, as well as a member of the 16 inch softball Hall of Fame, and The Catholic League Hall of Fame. Coach Fagan died earlier this year. Howie grew up in St. Bride’s parish and attended Mt. Carmel HS, a decision he called one of the greatest he ever made. He was a basketball and baseball star, (where he is also a member of the Mt. Carmel Hall of Fame) graduating in 1951, and then played football at Northern Illinois University from 1957 to 1959. In 1960 Howie coached the Caravan as assistant to head football coach Tom Carey for the city championship, one of the greatest teams in Chicago history.
As head coach of Mt. Carmel’s varsity basketball squad from 1961-1967, he was the winningest coach in Catholic League history for basketball. He led the Caravan to the 1965 City Championship at The Chicago Stadium over Marshall, in an unprecedented upset victory for a Catholic League team. His Mount Carmel basketball teams were 145-43, including three consecutive 30- victory seasons.
After taking Carmel to the city championship, he enjoyed a stellar career as a basketball coach at the University of Detroit, where Chuck Daly was his assistant. Howie ran basketball clinics with Al McGuire, Ray Meyer, and Bobby Knight. When he left Mt. Carmel, Coach Howie took most of his Caravan starters to St. Leo College where he was the new head coach. In the ‘60’s the crackers weren’t crazy about the idea of black basketball players in their sleepy Florida town. The KKK burned a cross on Howie’s lawn and the ol’ coach stood firm, staring them down with his bloodhound eyes. Those young men all got college degrees thanks to Howie Fagan.
Howie had a brief MLB career with the St. Louis Browns before successful runs in business with McGregor Sporting Goods and Medalist Industries. He then joined his old friend Tom Carey as Marketing Director of Hawthorne Racecourse, where he was instrumental in welcoming the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame to their new home.
Pat Ryan, a widely respected global insurance leader, served as the Chairman and CEO of the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid committee.
Mr. Ryan formed Ryan Specialty Group (RSG) in 2010. Today, RSG is a global organization consisting of a wholesale brokerage, a select group of underwriting managers, and other specialty services to agents, brokers and carriers. Prior to launching RSG, Mr. Ryan was the founder, retired chairman and CEO of Aon Corporation – one of the world's largest insurance and reinsurance brokers. As an entrepreneur, he founded the company, which traces its origins to a small insurance agency organized in 1964. When he retired from Aon, the company had more than 500 offices in 120 countries, generating revenues then in excess of $7 billion.
Mr. Ryan has received a number of accolades throughout his extensive career. In 2009 he was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from his alma mater, Northwestern University. He served as a member and former chairman of the Board of Trustees of Northwestern University. Both major athletic facilities –the Welsh-Ryan Arena and Ryan Field – are named after him. In 2008, Mr. Ryan was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and independent research centers. Also in 2008, he was elected to the International Insurance Society Hall of Fame and received the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award. Select career tributes include: Insurance Leader of the Year by the College of Insurance; the Insurance Federation of New York's Free Enterprise Award.
In 2004, Ryan hosted President George W. Bush during a political fundraising dinner at his home in Winnetka, Illinois. Later that year, he hosted another fundraiser with President Bush's wife and daughters as special guests. In November 2008, Ryan was named one of five co-chairs for Barack Obama's inaugural committee. He is also a leading benefactor of the Art Institute of Chicago Building's Modern wing addition.
In 1990, he bought 10% of the Chicago Bears. Ryan is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He is married to Shirley Ryan.
Don Wilson founded the Chicago Match Race Center in 2009 to bring world-class match race sailing to shores of Lake Michigan. Chicago quickly became one of the world’s top training and competition centers for up-and-coming match racing and Olympic sailing talent. With a strong foundation for stadium sailing in place, the Windy City caught the attention of America’s Cup organizers. As chairman of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Chicago, Wilson was instrumental in bringing an America’s Cup qualifying event to the city’s Navy Pier in June 2016 – the first freshwater venue in America’s Cup history. The event further raises the profile of competitive sailing in Chicago and leaves a legacy through Endeavour Chicago, a community boating and educational initiative for the city’s youth.
An avid sailor himself, Wilson has earned prestigious match race victories, including the 2010 & 2011 Richardson Trophy and 2010 Canada’s Cup. Wilson and his Convexity Racing Team have applied these skills in fleet racing as well, winning many local contests and two national championships. Wilson was born in Washington DC and raised in St Louis. His family moved to Switzerland when he was 11 where he developed an interest in sailing and financial markets. He started sailing as a youngster at his grandparents' home in Maine, and is ranked No. 25 in match racing. While his Swedish-designed M32 catamaran can often be seen skimming Lake Michigan, he has sailed all over the world.
Wilson is a longtime Chicago business owner and influential leader in the financial futures industry. He is founder and CEO of DRW, a principal trading and real estate development firm with more than 700 employees in Chicago, London, Montreal, New York, San Francisco and Singapore. He is also co-founder and board member of two other innovative companies in the financial industry, Eris Exchange and Digital Asset Holdings.
Wilson holds an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Chicago, where he is now a trustee. He also sits on the board of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation. He lives with his four children in Chicago.
Ryne Sandberg played 2,151 games for the Cubs and 13 for the Phillies, who brought him to the big leagues in 1981. He garnered one of his 2,386 hits in a Phillies uniform. Following the 1981 season, they traded him to the Cubs.
In his rookie season, third baseman Sandberg hit .271 with 33 doubles and 32 stolen bases, finishing sixth in the league for Rookie of the Year honors. The following season, the Cubs moved him to second base, where his career blossomed.
In 1984, Sandberg led the Cubs to their first postseason play since the 1945 World Series, hitting .314 with 114 RBI’s. He also chipped in with 19 homers on his way to the NL MVP award. He made his first of 10 consecutive All-Star appearances, and won his second of nine consecutive Gold Glove Awards.
In 1990, Sandberg led the NL in homers with 40, while also leading the league in runs and total bases, driving in 100 runs and stealing 25 bases. He was the first second baseman since Rogers Hornsby in 1925 to lead the NL in homers.
Sandberg finished his career with the highest fielding percentage at second base with .989. He had 15 streaks of 30 or more consecutive errorless games.
At the time of his retirement after the 1997 season, he held the all-time record of 123 consecutive errorless games by a second baseman and also had hit more home runs than any second baseman in baseball history.
“Ryne Sandberg worked harder than any player I’ve ever seen. A lot of guys with his athletic ability get by on that and have a nice career. Sandberg worked his butt off because he knew it was wrong not to,” said Pete Rose.
When Charlie Hustle says you worked harder than anyone else he’s seen in a half century in the game, that means you’re a pretty hard worker. People may not know that about Sandberg, though, because he was also one to keep his head down and not have much to say. He let his glove, bat, and wheels do the talking.
Nick Anderson spent thirteen years in the NBA beginning in 1989, most of them with the Orlando Magic. A solidly built swingman, Anderson honed his game in Chicago. As a high school senior at Simeon, he was named "Mr. Basketball" in Illinois, after leading his team to the city championship and a No. 1 national ranking in USA Today.
Upon graduation, Nick continued his exploits at the University of Illinois. After sitting out his freshman year, he turned in two outstanding seasons, teaming with future NBA players Kendall Gill and Marcus Liberty. As a junior, Anderson averaged 18.0 points and 7.9 rebounds to help lead the Illini to a 31-5 record and a berth in the 1989 NCAA Final Four.
Anderson entered the NBA Draft in 1989, and was selected as the eleventh pick of the first round by the Orlando Magic. Nick went on to be the Magic’s all-time leader in many categories, such as games played (692), minutes played (22,400), points (10,650), steals (1,004) and second in rebounds to Shaquille O’Neal with 3,667. He ended his career in 2002.
Anderson scored more than 10,000 points in a Magic uniform but he’ll be remembered just as much for the assists he gave off the court. During his career, Nick was involved in numerous contributions in his community. He founded 'Nickels for Nick', a program that raises money to support Meals on Wheels and provided financial assistance to Asia Akins and her daughter after their apartment burnt down in the fall of 2000. Some around the Orlando community dubbed him “Saint Nick” for his generosity that earned him the inaugural Rich and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award in 1996. Anderson displayed an especially heartfelt touch around the holidays, planning Thanksgiving dinners for senior citizens and leading Christmas toy drives for kids who otherwise might have been forgotten.
Anderson recently accepted a job with the Magic in the team's community relations department. Nick recently got married and keeps very busy with his three children, including a 16-year-old son, Joshua, who’s following nicely in the family business of basketball.
Nadia Edwards is in her sixth season as the DePaul head volleyball coach. She became the fifth head coach in program history after joining the Blue Demon staff in February of 2010. Edwards boasts a high level of experience as a student-athlete at Penn State before a professional playing career overseas along with assistant coaching experience at Ohio State and Ohio University.
In 2013, Edwards led the Blue Demons to a 13-0 start which was the best in program history. The season ended with a 16-14 record, marking the first winning season DePaul has had since 2001.
Since arriving in Lincoln Park, Edwards has seen the program improve its RPI by over 100 spots, have multiple players recognized as BIG EAST All-Conference performers and be a five-time recipient of the AVCA Team Academic Award.
Prior to DePaul, Edwards served as an assistant at Ohio State for two seasons. With the Buckeyes, she helped the program reach the second round of the 2009 NCAA Championship after finishing fourth in the Big Ten.
After a stint as a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech, Edwards joined the Ohio University volleyball staff in May 2005. The Bobcats claimed three straight Mid-American Conference titles and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the 2005 NCAA Championship. Ohio made three straight NCAA appearances and was ranked in the AVCA top 25 for 42 consecutive weeks.
Edwards played volleyball professionally for three years, in the United State and overseas. She competed in the A1 European League for two years as a team captain and starting outside hitter for the Glarus (Switzerland) squad in 2004-05 after playing the opposite position for the Granada (Spain) team in 2003-04. Edwards also played in the United States Professional Volleyball League in 2001-02 for the St. Louis Quest.
Edwards graduated from Penn State, where she lettered four years in volleyball for the Nittany Lions. She was a middle hitter on a squad that won four Big Ten championships and competed in the NCAA Final Four three years in a row. Her team compiled a 71-2 record and won a national championship in 1999.
Michael O’Neill has supervised coaching staffs that produced 50 Division 1 Offensive linemen, 23 All-State players and 5 high school All-Americans. Coach Mike O’Neill has been honored as a member of the Leo Hall of Fame, the St. Laurence Hall of Fame, the Illinois Coaches Hall of Fame, and the Andrew High School Hall of Fame.
Mike was raised on the South Side of Chicago and attended St. Bede’s grammar school. He was a 2-year letterman on powerhouse Leo H.S football teams in 1965-66, attended Iowa State University from 1967-69 and then transferred to Western Illinois; where he was a two-year letterman in 1970-71.
O’Neill was the head football coach of the St. Laurence Vikings from 1978-85: winning 5 Chicago Catholic League championships, State Champion runner up in 1979 and Chicago City Champs in 1978.
He was the head football coach at Andrew H.S from 1986-2005. During his time at Andrew, Mike took a program that was lacking in success and developed it into one of the most respected and feared teams of the 90’s and early 00’s.
With his 130 wins, ranking him first all time in Andrew history, Coach O’Neill also captured 4 SICA West championships and 7 SICA Grey conference championships. He brought 11 Andrew teams into the playoffs, twice went undefeated in the regular season and had two IHSA State semi-final teams in class 6A and 8A respectively.
Coach O’Neill has won numerous awards during his coaching career, winning the Notre Dame Frank Leahy award in 1979 and University of Illinois Coach of the year award in 1985 and was honored with a COA coach’s award in 2010. Coach O’Neill has not only coached thousands of young men, he has influenced and impacted them in a positive way. He has 5 former players who are now head coaches in high school football, as well as 5 former assistants who are also head coaches. Mike O’Neill has mentored and influenced numerous players to become successful men and leaders.
Mike has been married to his wife, Sheila for 43 years: and they have three sons and 7 grandchildren.
Lance Briggs played his entire NFL career with The Chicago Bears, from 2003-2015. A Sacramento, California native, Briggs attended Elk Grove High School in California. A three-year letterman, Lance was named Sacramento Bee Player-of-the-Year as a senior with 100 tackles, including 5 sacks. He was also a two-year track letterman in the 200-meters, 4×100 relay and shot put.
While at the University of Arizona, he was a two-time first team All-Pac 10 selection as a linebacker with the Arizona Wildcats football team. Briggs finished his college career with 308 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 36 tackles for losses, three interceptions, 10 passes deflected, five forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries in 33 games at strong side linebacker.
He was drafted by the Bears in the 3rd round in 2003. In 2004 he made 126 tackles and was elected as a second alternate to the Pro Bowl. Named one of the Top Five Outside Linebackers of the 2000s by USA Today and Co-Defensive Captain of his team, Lance has been selected for 5 consecutive Pro Bowls (2004-2009), becoming the fourth linebacker in franchise history to be selected to five straight Pro Bowls. In Week 3 of 2009, Lance was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for 8 tackles, a sack and interception in one game. In 2007 he helped lead his team to the Super Bowl XLI, and earned them the title, bringing in 13 tackles. He was awarded the First-Team All-Pro honor and has topped the 100-tackle mark for the 6th consecutive year, with 135 tackles in 2009. He made the 2012 Pro Bowl team but was unable to play due to an ankle injury.
Lance is well known for his philanthropic efforts, raising awareness and funds for at-risk youth through his Foundation, Briggs4Kidz.
Aside from continuing his charity work, he has also embarked on many creative ventures, recently launching his comic book social networking site, Lance’s Comic World. Lance, a comic book enthusiast since childhood created LCW to provide a platform connecting football and comic book fans, while providing them with the latest in comic book interviews, reviews and news.
James “Papa” Brewer was born and raised in Maywood, Illinois and was the first notable player to come out of Proviso East High School, one of the most successful high school basketball programs in the country. He led his team to the state championship in 1969 and was unanimously selected as a first-team All-State player and selected as "Mr. Basketball" in Illinois.
At the University of Minnesota, he was a three-time MVP and voted Most Valuable Player of the Big Ten Conference in 1972, and was selected to the 1972 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team, where he co-captained and established a US Olympic team record for total rebounds that stood for more than 20 years. At the Olympics in Munich, The U.S. lost to the Soviet Union in a gold medal game that ended in controversy. Brewer and his teammates opted not to accept the silver medals then, and no participant has asked for his medal to this day.
"We hadn't earned the silver medal," Brewer told national reporters after the game. "We won the gold medal. That's the medal we earned, so why accept something else?"
Brewer was selected as the second overall pick in the 1973 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, spending six season with the Cavs, where he co-captained and helped them win the Central Division Championship in 1976.
Jim played 12 seasons in the professional ranks, including nine years in the NBA and three years in Italy. Jim earned an NBA World Championship ring as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1982 along with teammates ”Kareem” Abdul Jabbar and Ervin ”Magic” Johnson.
Jim also had a successful career as an assistant coach, spanning over 20 seasons, starting at Northwestern University, and as a talent scout for the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he advanced to Director of Player Personnel.
Jim also coached with the Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors, and Boston Celtics.
Upon his retirement, Jim returned to Maywood to spend time with his extended family, and to be a part of the community that shaped him.
Jim and his wife Patsy have two adult children.
Jerome “The Bus” Bettis’ is one of the best running backs in NFL history. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2015. A three-year standout at University of Notre Dame, under legendary coach Lou Holtz, he was drafted in 1993, and selected 10th overall pick by the Los Angeles Rams. Bettis had a successful rookie season by winning co-rookie of the year, Rams MVP, and the Sporting News Rookie of the Year.
In 1996, in what has been called the “Trade of the Decade”, Bettis was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Throughout his 10 years he was named Steelers MVP in 1996 & 1997. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2005.
In 1997, “The Bus Stops Here Foundation” was established, to help underprivileged children, improving the overall quality of life through programs like The Cyber Bus computer engineering program, Asthma and Sports Camp, and mentoring and tutoring for at risk kids. This nonprofit organization has a partnership with Pittsburgh’s Children Hospital, the United Way, Boys and Girls Clubs, and NFL Charities. In 2001 He was acknowledged by the league for his work and named “NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year”.
Since retiring Jerome has started a new career as an NFL analyst where he appears on numerous ESPN shows like NFL Live and SportsCenter, First Take. He also contributes to ESPN Radio. Before joining ESPN as a full-time analyst, Bettis appeared as a guest on various shows throughout the years, as an analyst for NBC Sports and the NFL Network.
In 2005 Bettis capped his legendary career by helping the Steelers win Super Bowl XL in his hometown of Detroit. While hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after the game, he announced his retirement from professional football. When asked by Mike Tirico of ABC sports if it was over, Jerome said "It's been an incredible ride and there's always a time when you have to call it quits. I played this game to win a championship. I'm a champion and I think the Bus’s last stop is here in Detroit."