A packed house of fellow classmates, teammates, coaches and family members turned out Friday, January 20, for the induction of the latest members to the Saint Viator/Sacred Heart of Mary Hall of Fame.
“As we all know, athletics has played a large role in this community,” Fr. Dan Lydon, ’73, said at the outset. “The lessons learned in victory or defeat as a player, as well as the meaningful relationships coaches have built with players and the bonds strengthened between teammates, all remain a valuable part of our athletes’ Saint Viator experience.”
The Hall of Fame was established 25 years ago, by former coach and dean of students, Pat Mahoney, in partnership with Fr. Charles Bolser, Saint Viator president at the time. Ten former athletes were inducted into the inaugural Hall of Fame Class of 1998, and recognition of teams followed the next year.
St. Viator and Sacred Heart have a combined alumni base of approximately 16,000. To date, the Hall of Fame has inducted 156 individuals and 44 teams. Additionally, 25 individuals have been honored with the Robert C. Artman Award and three individuals selected for the Patrick Mahoney Dedication to Coaching Award.
The evening began with the induction of the 1967 boys’ football team, once known as “the winningest football squad in school history.” Their senior year, they compiled a record of 7-2, but their proudest accomplishment was taking home the very first win in Saint Viator’s history against longtime rival, St. Pat’s, with a 12-0 shutout victory. The team, coached by Joe Gliwa, racked up these honors: 4 ESCC All-Conference Medalists, 2 ESCC Honorable Mentions, Daily Herald’s All-Area First Team Offensive End, 2 Co-Captains, 1 MVP, and 1 Student Council Sportsmanship Award winner.
Mariann Leahy ’88 was the first individual inducted. Mariann played volleyball, basketball and softball for three years at Sacred Heart of Mary and one year at Saint Viator after they merged in 1987. At Sacred Heart, Mariann was the assist leader on a volleyball team, that finished with a record of 19-10. She was named Most Improved Player for basketball, and North Division All-Star for softball in 1987. At Saint Viator, she earned the Varsity Lion Award, North Division All-Star, and Daily Herald "All Area" Honorable Mention for basketball. Mariann also was a part of the first girls’ softball team under Coach Bob Twardzik, that included a 13-game winning streak.
Scott Malouf ’77 was inducted next. Scott was a champion wrestler, who was named ESCC All-Conference three years in a row, was District Champ and Sectional 4th Place Finisher in 1976 and District Runner-Up and Sectional Qualifier in 1977. He also was named to the Daily Herald All-Area teams his junior and senior years, and three-time Most Valuable Wrestler at independent tournaments for Saint Viator. He went on to wrestle at North Park College, where in 1981 he was the Individual Champion in 126 pounds division.
Lauren Griebel Garcia ’04 was the next inductee introduced. Lauren was a key contributor to the girls soccer team in back-to-back Class A State Soccer Championships in 2002 and 2003 with a combined record of 44-5-4. Lauren went on to play as a defender for the U.S. Naval Academy where she received All Patriot League Honors her sophomore year while majoring in political science. After graduation, Lauren was commissioned as a Surface Warfare Officer, eventually earning the Navy Achievement medal twice, the Navy Commendation Medal three times, and the Meritorious Service Medal - which is awarded by the President of the United States. Lauren now serves as a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy. She resides in Jacksonville Beach, FL and during her remarks, she thanked her husband, Commander Michael Garcia and their three children, who were in attendance.
Jonathan Spector ’04 was inducted next. At Saint Viator, he earned honors in 2001 and 2002 including 2-time Regional, Sectional, and Super-Sectional Champions and ESCC All-Conference as a Lion. He was a part of two historic soccer teams, 2001 State 2nd place finish and 2002 Co-Conference champions and 4th place state finish. Jonathan went on to have a highly successful professional career, starting when he was the first and youngest American to play for Manchester United. He ultimately enjoyed a 16-year career in professional soccer with more than 400 game appearances, making rosters with for Manchester United, West Ham United, Birmingham City, and Orlando City. This year, Jonathan was also nominated to the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in first his year of eligibility. Jonathan now serves as Head of International Player Recruitment & Development with the Atlanta United Football Club.
Brett Kay ’09 was the next inductee introduced. He was a three-year varsity starter in baseball earning ESCC All-Conference and All-Area honors in 2008 and 2009, and Team MVP in 2009. He is the career record holder for Saint Viator for batting averages, hitting .409, triples, hits, and runs. Brett went on to play Division 1 at Illinois State University where he played shortstop and was named 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Brett’s baseball career led him to be drafted in the 20th Round of the 2013 Major League Baseball draft by the San Francisco Giants playing second base. He finished his career in the minors, with 211 at bats and a .343 on base percentage. Brett returned to Saint Viator to serve as an Assistant Baseball Coach from 2015-2017, which included the 2017 IHSA State Championship team.
Brett’s brother, Cory Kay ’11 was inducted next. Cory Kay was a force at the plate as a catcher for the Lions, earning him ESCC All Conference and All Area honors in 2010 and 2011, and ESCC Most Valuable Player Award, Chicago Tribune, and Sun Times All State honors in 2011. Cory holds career records at Saint Viator in RBIs with 110, and second best in hits, runs, and triples (next to his brother Brett) and doubles. Cory went on to accept scholarships to University of Houston in 2012 and later Missouri State University from 2014-2015. During his two seasons at Missouri State, Cory held a fielding percentage of .979 in 45 games with only 1 error. In 2015, the team went on to make a Super Regional Appearance with a 49-12 overall record, became a National Seed, and won the Springfield Missouri Regional.
Both brothers were introduced by their former coach, Mike Manno. He already is a member of the Saint Viator/Sacred Heart of Mary Hall of Fame, and he was inducted into the Illinois High School Association Baseball Hall of Fame the next night.
Brian Gallagher Jr. ‘07 was then introduced as the recipient of the Robert C. Artman Award. This award is presented to the “Sportsperson of the Year” to honor outstanding service, commitment and dedication to the Saint Viator High School Community. To date, Saint Viator/Sacred Heart of Mary has awarded 25 individuals with the Robert C. Artman Award.
As a student here, Brian was a manager for several sports teams including Boy’s Football, Boy’s and Girl’s Soccer, Boy’s Basketball, Boy’s Lacrosse, and Track and Field. He brought the skills he learned and his passion for sports to Benedictine University, where he was a football manager for 3 seasons. He was the first recipient of their “Fan of the Year” award at the Benedictine University Athletics banquet and went on to receive that award 2 more times. Most notably, Brian is now known for his work behind the scenes, helping with anything needed with the Lion football team. Primarily filming practices and games, Brian’s attention to detail and his loyalty are two skills his fellow athletes find so remarkable.
The evening concluded with the introduction of Coach Charlie Curtin, who was given the Pat Mahoney Dedication to Coaching Award. He was introduced by last year’s recipient, Head Softball Coach John Scotillo. Recipients are selected for their commitment to teaching proper skill development, promoting the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the sport, and serves as an inspiration. Charlie has been with the volleyball program – beginning with the boys and currently with the girls – for 20 years. He holds the record for most career wins for the girls volleyball program with 325, which include seven regional titles and three sectional titles. Charlie led the 2017 team to a 4th place finish at the state tournament. He also holds the most wins in a season for both boys and girls teams with a record of 33-6 in 2021. “For a long time, he coached both the boys and girls programs,” Coach Scotillo said. “In Saint Viator Girls Volleyball alone, he has been nothing short of legendary.”