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24 Proviso East Greats to Be Inducted Into Sports Hall of Fame

August 28, 2014 02:55 PM
Proviso East High School will honor 24 of its past athletics greats in two induction ceremonies for its Sports Hall of Fame at its first two home football games on August 30 and September 6.

The first group will be honored at a reception and induction ceremony at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 30, in the Proviso East Social Room, followed by a ceremony during halftime of the varsity football game versus Maine West High School. A second group will have a similar reception and ceremony at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 6, also in the Proviso East Social Room, with a ceremony to follow during halftime of the varsity football game versus York High School.

Mr. Tony Valente, principal at Proviso East, said that the 24 Hall of Fame inductees were selected by a committee of community members, former Proviso East athletes and coaches, and administrators. Each inductee had to be nominated by a member of the community or a committee member.

"We spent a year getting nominations," Mr. Valente said. "Based on the overwhelming number of candidates, the committee decided on those who attended Proviso East from 1910 to 1980."

The following will be honored on August 30:
  • D.B. "Doc" Appleton: He coached the Proviso Township High School baseball team to the state championship in 1944, 1953, and 1957.
  • James Brewer: A member of the 1969 Proviso East state basketball championship team, he had a nine-year professional playing career in the National Basketball Association (NBA), including being a member of the 1982 world champion Los Angeles Lakers. In 2007, he was named one of the 100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament.
  • Thomas Jefferson: A league champion in the high and low hurdles in 1955 and 1956, he went on to star on the Michigan State University track team before embarking on a 30-year career at General Motors.
  • Gene Mitz: He was the football team's most valuable player in 1959 as he was named to the all-suburban team and was an all-state team honorable mention. After playing his college football at Drake University, he has gone on to a long career as a coach, including his current position as an assistant coach on the Benedictine University football team in Naperville.
  • Ray Nitschke: A 1954 Proviso Township High School graduate, Nitschke went on to a long career with the five-time National Football League champion Green Bay Packers from 1958 to 1972. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1978 and the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1981.
  • Al Nuness: A member of the 1963 and 1964 Proviso West Holiday Basketball Tournament Champion Proviso East teams, he went to play basketball at the University of Minnesota before switching to coaching. He later worked as an executive with the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and Jostens.
  • Ed O’Bradovich: A 1958 Proviso Township High School graduate, he went on to a career as a defensive end in the Canadian Football League and with the Chicago Bears, including as a member of the 1963 World Champion team with the Bears.
  • Joe Ponsetto: He was a member of Suburban Basketball League champion teams from 1971 to 1974 and the state champions in 1974. He later played at DePaul University, and was named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1981 and DePaul’s Hall of Fame in 1990.
  • Glenn "Doc" Rivers: After starring in the late 1970s at Proviso East, where he was named a McDonald’s All-American, he has had a long, successful playing and coaching career in the NBA. After nine years as coach of the Boston Celtics (whom he coached to the NBA championship in 2008), he currently is the head coach and president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Clippers.
  • Bill Roetzheim: Roetzheim coached Proviso East to state gymnastics titles in 1958, 1962, and 1966. This followed a successful gymnastics career in his own right, including being a member of the U.S. Olympic team in 1948 and 1952, winning the all-around AAU gymnastics championship from 1949 to 1951, and medaling at the Pan-American Games in 1951. He was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1975.
  • Lee Stange: A member of both the state football and state baseball title teams at Proviso Township in 1953, he went to pitch in the major leagues from 1961 to 1970, including helping the Boston Red Sox win the American League pennant in 1967. He also coached in the major leagues for 12 years, and is currently the pitching coach at Florida Tech.
  • Rory Weber: A wrestler at Proviso Township High from 1954 to 1958, he went on to win Big Ten wrestling titles in 1960 and 1961 at Northwestern University, where he also was named an All-American.
Sports-HOF-IfYouGo-380The following will be honored on September 6:
  • William Cartwright: As coach of the wrestling team from 1984 to 1994, he coached Proviso East to the state wrestling championship in 1986 and 1991.
  • Greg Foster: A state track champion in the hurdles in 1975 and 1976, he went on to win NCAA titles in track in 1978 and 1979 at UCLA and later competed on the world stage. He won a silver medal in the 110-meter hurdles at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, and won world titles in 1983, 1987, and 1991, including setting a world record in the 50-meter hurdles in 1985.
  • Larry Howard: He won state titles in the hurdles in 1959 and 1960, and later won Big Ten indoor championships in the 70-meter high hurdles and 70-meter low hurdles in 1962 while attending the University of Wisconsin.
  • Fred Keys: He was named to the all-suburban football team in 1953 and 1954 and the all-state football team in 1954.
  • Jack Marino: A wrestling coach who had won a state title at 145 pounds in 1945, he coached Proviso to a state wrestling title in 1956 and 1957. He coached 23 wrestlers to gold medals in state competition during his career.
  • Tom Millikin: He won 213 games during his 11-year tenure of coach of the Proviso East basketball team. In 1969, he coached Proviso East to its first state title in 1969.
  • Andy Puplis: He coached at Proviso East from 1940 to 1972 following an All-American playing career at the University of Notre Dame. He was inducted into the IHSA Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1981.
  • Terry Ryser: During a 20-year career coaching baseball at Proviso East, he led the Pirates to the state title in 1977.
  • Jerome Sally: A 1977 graduate of Proviso East, he played his college football at the University of Missouri before embarking on a seven-year career in the NFL, winning the Super Bowl with the New York Giants in 1987. Currently an assistant middle school principal in Columbia, Missouri, he also is a member of the Missouri Tigers broadcast team. He was named to the University of Missouri Hall of Fame in 2006.
  • Louis Slimmer: Coach of the Proviso wrestling team from 1936 to 1945, he coached the Pirates to state titles in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1944, and 1945.
  • Glenn Whittenberg: He won 309 games during his 14 years as coach of the Proviso East boys’ basketball team, winning the state title in 1974.
  • Michael Woodard: A member of the 1977 state baseball champions, he was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 1978 and played four seasons in the major leagues for the San Francisco Giants and Chicago White Sox.
Nominations are now being accepted for future Hall of Fame classes, including student-athletes who attended Proviso East from 1980 to 2005. Nomination forms are available at the principal’s office at Proviso East.


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