Chicago Mendel Catholic High School “Monarchs”

Chicago Mendel Catholic High School 1951 – 1988
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Courtesy of Anthony Johnson (Mendel HS, Class of 1979)

The History of Chicago Mendel Catholic High School

Chicago (population 2.7 million) is located in northeastern Illinois in eastern Cook County. Lake Michigan, the Chicago and Des Plaines Rivers are the main waterways to and from town. Interstates 90, 94, 55, and 57 will all lead you to the “Windy City,” as will numerous US and state routes, which at one time included the legendary Route 66. From what started as a small village in the early 1800’s, Chicago has grown to the nation’s third largest city and one of the most famous places in the world.

Alumni and friends to those that remember Mendel can still find that the school is still alive and well in the memories of most that remember the school at as well as .

The following excellent history of Mendel High School and the Roseland neighborhood in Chicago that it served was provided by Anthony Johnson, MCHS Class of 1979:

“Let me first give you a brief history of the Roseland Community that I hope will go a long way in explaining what a great school Mendel was, and became again after some very trying times racially and economically.

The village of Roseland had its origins in 1849, when a band of recently arrived Dutch families built their homes along the Chicago–Thornton Road. Perched on the ridge west of Lake Calumet between what is now 103rd and 111th Streets, High Prairie, as it was then known, took shape around the Reformed Church, the small truck farms, and the stores located on the road later known as Michigan Avenue. High Prairie prospered, its farms made profitable by Chicago to its north and the stockyards to the west. Its population grew, most often by additional Dutch settlers who, after 1852, arrived from the east at the Michigan Central Railroad station in nearby Kensington.

After 35 years, the endowment that supported “Pullman Tech,” as it was called, could no longer sustain the rising costs of the school’s operation as it grew to a student enrollment of 600. Pullman Tech had always educated the children of the residents of the Roseland community. By George Pullman’s will, the school was prohibited from charging tuition.  Also, by this time vocational training had increasingly become part of the offerings of the Chicago public school system.  In the late 1940’s, after careful consideration of the options, the Board decided that the only practicable means of carrying out Pullman’s intention was to close the school and create an educational foundation.  Such a step required approval by the Superior Court of Cook County, which granted the request.

Enter Mendel Catholic High School in 1951.  At the invitation of Samuel Cardinal Stritch, the Augustinian Order opened Mendel Catholic Prep High School in September 1951. The original building and 40-acre campus located at 250 East 111th Street, Chicago had been the site of the Pullman Free School, named for George Mortimer Pullman who was an American inventor and industrialist. He is known as the inventor of the Pullman Sleeping car.

Cardinal Stritch saw the opportunity for a high school that was needed for the Catholic young men in the Roseland community on the far south side of Chicago. In 1950, the Augustinian Provincial, Father Clement C. McHale, O.S.A., was invited to purchase the property with substantial financial help from Cardinal Stritch. Extensive renovation was required before the school could be opened under the leadership of Father John L. Seary, O.S.A. and eight Augustinian priests.

The new school was named “Mendel” in honor of an Augustinian monk, Gregor Mendel, O.S.A., the father of Genetics, whose laws of heredity are world famous, and world-renowned.

New housing development on Roseland’s vacant edges brought a short-lived growth spurt in the 1950s and early 1960s. Changing industrial patterns, however, led to a decline in the community’s economic fortunes. Production at Pullman and other local industries slowed. As jobs disappeared, workers followed their jobs to the suburbs.

The inflation of the 1970s followed by the collapse of the steel and automotive industries in the 1980s left many of Roseland’s newest families without jobs. The virtually complete turnover of population meant that community institutions that had helped residents in earlier times no longer existed or were not established enough to carry the burden. Roseland has only started to recover from the effects of those decades of economic decline.

However, the Augustinian order that operated Mendel didn’t give up on the school. The many successes listed below in the athletic portion helps to explain why.

Submitted by Anthony Johnson
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Article from Chicago Defender Newspaper – 1979

Footnote: The Pullman Free School building (Pullman Tech) has remained in constant operation as a high school, continuing to serve the Pullman and Roseland communities. Chartered in 1951, Mendel Catholic High School (an all-male institution named in 1979 as one of the top ten schools in the U.S.) was housed in the original building for 37 years.

In 1979 Mendel was recognized as one of the top high schools in the country by Illinois Institute of Technology by the director of funding for all minority-engineering programs in the big 10. Out of 12,200 high schools that participate in the program the director ranked Mendel as on of the top ten. (See Chicago Defender newspaper article to your right.)

Michael Schultz (Class of 1962) tells us that at that time there was an unofficial school motto the boys were asked to live by. “Mendel men are gentlemen.”



Year Opened:             1951

Year Closed:              1988

Academic Objective: College Prep High School

Known on the South Side as

the “high school with the college campus”

School Colors:           Navy Blue & White

School Nickname:     the “Monarchs”

School Song:             “Go You Men of Mendel”

Sung at most events at the school.

School Fight Song:    “Roar Mendel Monarchs Roar”

Sung to “Anchors Away”



The following athletic history of Mendel Catholic High School was written and researched by Anthony Johnson:

“The Chicago Catholic League was formed in 1912 as way to give the all-male Catholic schools of the Chicago area interscholastic competition. The move to form the Catholic league was precipitated when the dominant high school league in the metropolitan area, the Cook County High School League, rejected the application of two Catholic high schools. Early in the fall of 1912 St. Ignatius Academy and DePaul Academy applied to join the Cook County League and found that their application was denied. The Catholic schools felt a whiff of anti-Catholicism in the league rejection and the official Chicago Catholic League was officially born.

The Order of Saint Augustine (OSA) got its start in Chicago in 1905 when Rev. James F. Green O.S.A. was sent to Chicago at the invitation of Archbishop James F. Quigley to help establish a catholic presence in the Chicago Area. That presence in Chicago was started with the building of a church, school and monastery. These buildings served the newly established St. Rita Parish and St. Rita College (now called St. Rita High School). The Augustinians operated several schools in the Midwest, and these schools competed against each other in some athletic competitions. They even had their own basketball league called the Order of St. Augustine Conference where Augustinians schools would compete against each other.

Mendel Catholic joined the Catholic League in 1953, two years after its opening in the fall of 1951. Mendel athletic promise was seen early by winning the 1957 Chicago Prep Bowl, only 6 years after opening and only 4 years after joining the catholic league. This accomplishment is a part of Chicago High School history because this is the fastest that any Catholic High School rose to the Prep Bowl title and winning the game. The Prep Bowl had been around since 1931 but no Catholic school had gotten to the championship game faster after opening than Mendel. It should be noted that Mendel followed the other Chicago Catholic schools into the IHSA around 1973.

Before joining the IHSA, there were four teams at each Catholic League school, varsity heavyweight, and lightweight, sophomore bantamweight, and flyweight. The schools were divided into 2 sections, the Catholic League South and the Catholic League North. It is in the Catholic League South where Mendel excelled in track, basketball, wrestling and winning another Prep Bowl in 1968. Another early Mendel accomplishment was winning the Catholic League Baseball Championship in 1959.”

Several athletic highlights attained by athletes and teams of Mendel Catholic High School were provided through the following research conducted by Anthony Johnson.



This sport is were the Monarchs excelled on a consistant basis. Mendel had a number of medalists place at the state AA meet, and even show up in the top 10 of the final team standings four times out of 12 years.

1975         Chicago Catholic League Champions – Indoor & Outdoor Seasons

                *Eric Rouse set the 800 Meter Record that stands still today!

1975AA    Individual State Meet Medalists

Bob James                         220-yd dash—8th place
Steve Simington                 Triple Jump—3rd place

               *Team Won the Indoor and Outdoor Championships

               for the Catholic League

1976AA    Individual Medalist

               Steve Simington                Long Jump—3rd place
Triple Jump—4th place

               *Team won the Chicago Catholic League Championship

1977AA  IHSA Class ‘AA’ State Finals Meet – Tied for 7TH Place  

*Mendel Track team is ranked 2nd in the state of Illinois by Track and Field News early this season.

*Team won the Chicago Catholic League Championship.

*Mendel won the Class AA District competition held at Richards High School on May 21st 1977.

               STATE FINAL STANDINGS – 1977

1  East St. Louis Senior                       46

Chicago Heights Bloom Township     46

                7  Chicago Mendel                            15

Springfield Southeast                       15

9  Lockport Township                           14

            Individual and Relay Medalists

             440-yd relay—STATE CHAMPIONS!!! (Time was :42.27)
(Bob James, Kevin McKinley, Al Palmer, Tony Salas)

             Bob James                             220-yd dash—4th place

*Mendel Catholic Prep Frosh-Soph Team won second place in the Catholic league track finals held at Hanson Stadium.

1978AA Relay and Individual Medalists

               2-mile relay—8th place
Alvin Palmar                        220-yd dash—6th place

*Team placed 3RD at the Chicago Catholic League Championship Meet

*Mendel took third in Catholic league indoor Relay Championship Meet.

1979AA Relay and Individual Medalist

              1-mile relay—7th place
2-mile relay—6th place
440-yd relay—8th place
Tom Driver                            Triple Jump—8th place

*Mendel won both indoor and outdoor Catholic League Track Championships.

1980AA Relay Medalist

              400-meter relay—4th place

*Frosh-Soph Team won Catholic League Championship

1981AA Individual Medalist

             Jim McGriff                           100-meter dash—4th place
200-meter dash—4th place

*Mendel places 3RD in the Catholic League Track Championships.

1982AA  IHSA Class ‘AA’ State Finals Meet – 4TH Place


1   East St. Louis Lincoln                77

2   Chicago Dunbar                         36

3   North Chicago                           30

              4   Chicago Mendel                      27

5   Elmhurst York                           23

Relay and Individual Medalists

              400-meter relay—5th place
Steve Tyson                       100-meter dash—2nd place
200-meter dash—2nd place
Jim McGriff                        100-meter dash—6th place
200-meter dash—6th place
Charles Dunn                     300-meter hurdles—8th place

*Mendel wins both indoor and outdoor Catholic League Track Championships.

*Mendel track team finishes in 4th place in Class AA Boys IHSA Track state finals placing the highest of any Catholic League team entered. Track Coach Ed Adams was named coach of the year for the second straight year.

1983AA Relay Medalists

             800-meter relay—7th place
1600-meter relay—7th place

1985AA Relay and Individual Medalists

             800-meter relay—3rd place
Rodney Chambers              1600-meter run—5th place
Malcolm Davis                     200-meter dash—6th place

1986AA IHSA Class ‘AA’ State Finals Meet – 7TH Place


1  North Chicago                            39

               7  Chicago Mendel                       27

8  Naperville North                          26

Relay and Individual Medalists

800-meter relay—8th place
Rodney Chambers                 1600-meter run—3rd place
3200-meter run—3rd place
Charles Collins                      Shotput—6th place
David Moore                          100-meter dash—5th place
(Moore owns one of the top five times in IHSA history at :10.2, set in 1986)
Malcolm Davis                       100-meter dash—7th place
200-meter dash—4th place

*Rodney Chambers wins the Tony Lawless Award.

1987AA   IHSA Class ‘AA’ State Finals Meet – 8TH Place


1   Oak Park-River Forest               43

5   Harvey Thornton                        25

6   North Chicago                          24

7   Evanston Township                   23

              8   Chicago Mendel                     22

Relay and Individual Medalists

       400-meter relay—4th place
3200-meter relay—4th place
Charles Collins                   Shotput—4th place
Tony Daniel                        3200-meter run—4th place
Malcolm Davis                    200-meter dash—7th place

*Tony Daniel wins the Tony Lawless Award.

1988AA Relay and Individual Medalists

 400-meter relay—3rd place
Brian Thomas                     400-meter dash—4th place
Robert Thorns                     1600-meter run—8th place




It may have been one season that Mendel was remembered for by Illinois prep basketball fans, but what a season it was in 1981-82. The Monarchs made it to the finals of the state AA finals by defeating defending state champ Quincy on a 24-foot jumper by Mike Hampton with two seconds to play in the semifinals, ending a 64-game winning streak by Quincy. Thanks to coaches Michael Flaherty and Mike Mandarino, Mendel compiled a record of 247-157 for a winning percentage of .611 in the school’s final 13 seasons.

In regards to the Chicago Catholic League basketball agenda:

Before the Catholic League joined the IHSA there were four teams at each Catholic League school;  varsity heavyweight, lightweight, sophomore bantonweight, and flyweight.

The “Heavy’s” and the “Lights” played on Friday and Saturday evenings with the other divisions playing on Saturday mornings.  To participate on the lightweight team you had to be under 5′ 09″ which was measured each year by the Catholic League.

During this time, if your team won the championship, you were rewarded with a white sweater displaying your school’s athletic letters and patches with the year written on them.  The Catholic League was divided into two divisions; North and South. Inter-divisional games were played during the pre-season and in Holiday Tournaments.

1957-58              Order of St. Augustine Conf. Champs

1958-59              Order of St. Augustine Conf. Champs

                           Catholic League Junior Champions

1959-60              Chicago Catholic League Champions

1964-65              Freshmen Won Catholic League Champ.

1967-68             Catholic League Junior Champs

1972-73              Lightweight – Catholic League Champions

                         Catholic League South Division Champs 

1976-77  17-  9                                                                 Coach Michael Flaherty

1977-78  21-  6   AA Regional Champions                        Coach Michael Flaherty

                         Catholic League Co-Champions

*Seniors Shane Price, and Ray Collins selected to all Catholic League Basketball in 1978.

*Basketball game between St. Laurence, which boasted Jim Stack, and Kevin Boyle was the most anticipated basketball game in the Catholic League. Both teams were 10-0 in Catholic league. In a controversial game, St. Laurence won.

1978-79  14-13                                                                 Coach Michael Flaherty

*Freshman basketball team wins Catholic League basketball championship. This team featured future all-staters Mike Hampton, and Andre Banks who led Mendel to 2nd place in IHSA tournament in 1982.

1979-80  22-  7   AA Regional Champions      Coach Michael Flaherty

1980-81  23-  7   AA Regional Champions      Coach Michael Flaherty

                           Catholic League Champions

1981-82  30-  3   IHSA Class ‘AA’ State Finals – 2ND PLACE!      Coach Michael Flaherty

                          Catholic League Champions

                          Regional Champions

                          Sectional Champions

                          Hinsdale Central Supersectional Champs

                          Beat Elmhurst York, 59-47

                          Elite 8 Finalist

                          Beat Peoria Manual 53-51

                          Final 4 Finalist

                          Beat Quincy Senior 53-52

                          State Championship Game

                          Lost to East St. Louis Lincoln 56-50

Mike Hampton & Andre Banks were all-tournament choices

      Team was ranked 7th in final regular season Class AA AP Poll

*This team was the first Catholic League team to go this deep into the state tournament    

1982-83 22-  7    AA Regional Champions      Coach Michael Flaherty

1983-84 24-  7    AA Regional Champions      Coach Michael Flaherty

1984-85 17-  9                                                 Coach Mike Manderino

1985-86 18-10                                                 Coach Mike Manderino

1986-87 17-11                                                 Coach Mike Manderino

1987-88 17-10                                                 Coach Mike Manderino



Mendel’s running prowess over hill and dale helped the track team in the distance events at the state meets, plus it gathered some attention to the school during the fall as the school qualified for the state AA meet the last four years the school was open, and it placed two harriers in the top 10 of the state individually.

1976        Catholic League Finals – 3RD Place

1979        Catholic League Champions

1984AA   IHSA State Meet Qualifier                               Coach Mike Garcia

1985AA   IHSA CLass ‘AA’ State Finals – 7TH Place        Coach Mike Garcia

              IHSA Sectional Champs


1  Schaumburg                                116

6  Rockford Guilford                          241

                 7  Chicago Mendel                         244


Individual Medalists

Rodney Chambers       5th   (14:47.4—winning time was 14:28)
Tony Daniel                 24th (14:58)

                *Catholic League Champions (1st Catholic League Team to win 3 League titles and 3 Sectional titles.)

                *Frosh-Soph won City Championship

1986AA   IHSA State Meet Qualifier                               Coach Mike Garcia

Individual Medalist — Tony Daniel  6th (14:34—winning time 14:08)

1987AA   IHSA State Meet Qualifier                               Coach Mike Garcia

               Catholic League Champions

               *Rodney Chambers and Tony Damiel earn All-State recognition – named winners of the Tony Lawless Award.   



Mendel built its gridiron program from the ground up and within two years of graduating its first class, the Monarchs were representing the Catholic League in the Prep Bowl, a championship game that featured the champs of the Catholic and Public League, at spacious Soldier Field. Some of these battles brought over 75,000 fans thru the gates to watch the two champs do battle in a winner-take-all game. Mendel won the Chicago Prep Bowl title in 1957 and 1968.

1956   3- 4                                                                              Coach Joe (Red) Gleason

1957  11- 2    Prep Bowl Champs!!! (shutout Calumet 6-0)  Coach Joe Magee

                         South Section Catholic League Champions

*After opening in the fall of 1951, and joining the Chicago Catholic League in 1953, Mendel won the Chicago Prep Bowl in 1957, which is the fastest that any Catholic League team reached that level of success. In 1957 Public League Champion Calumet High School was a football powerhouse with a 12-0 record when they met!

1958  5- 3                                                                               Coach Joe Magee

1960             South Section Catholic League Champions                      

1964             South Section Catholic League Champions

1968             Prep Bowl Champs!!! (beat Chicago Vocational 41-19)

                        Knute Rockne Memorial Trophy Winners

                        South Section Catholic League Champions

1969            South Section Catholic League – 2ND Place

1971             South Section Catholic League – 3RD Place                    

1972            South Section Catholic League – 2ND Place

*Tracy Campbell was recognized as one of the best running backs in Catholic League history in 1972.

1973            South Section Catholic League – 2ND Place

*All Catholic League: Nick Vukolich, Jack Gavin, Eric James            

1974   4-4                                                                Coach Mike McDonough

*Eric Rouse, Mendel Class of 1975, was recognized by legendary sports writer Taylor Bell as one of the all-time receivers in the state of Illinois.

*All Catholic League/All State in Football – Tom Boskey, Mike Burt

1975   0-8                                                               Coach William McDonough

1976   2-7                                                               Coach William Yarborough

In 1976, Mr. William Yarborough, who holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education and master’s degree in guidance from the University of Wisconsin, where he played defensive back and lettered for three years, took over as Mendel Varsity football coach.

1977   2-6                                                               Coach William Yarborough

*In 1977, Ben McCall, Kerwin Hudson, Emil Lovely, and Greg Smith were named All Catholic League in football, and played in Catholic Public league all-star game in the summer of 1977.

^In 1977, John Harris joined the varsity football staff as an assistant. He attended the University of Kansas where he played Middle Linebacker. He attended Mt. Carmel High School and is quoted as saying that “Mendel is academically superior to Mt. Carmel and Mendel’s athletic department is getting back to when it once was as a Southside powerhouse

1978   4-3                                                               Coach William Yarborough

*Pete Thanos is named assistant varsity football coach in 1978. He previously taught and coached at St. Barnabas School in Chicago.

*1978-79 Mendel football team posts a record of 4 wins and 3 losses. However, while St Rita in 1976 was the Prep Bowl representative with the same record, Mendel is denied entrance into Catholic League playoffs by IHSA.

*1978-79 Seniors Jeff Cohn, Steve Wilburn, Darius Richardson, and Greg McGowan named all Catholic in football. Jeff attended Northwestern University and joined Northwestern notable Chris Winston from Phillips High School. Steve Wilburn went to Illinois State, and played football in the Canadian League after graduation. Steve then joined the National Football League, and played for the Minnesota Vikings and the New England Patriots. Steve died prematurely in 2005 at the age of 43. Greg McGowan becaome a one of the best players at the College of Dupage, and then became the starting cornerback for the West Virginia Mountaineers in the NCAA. Darious enjoyed a productive career at Southeast Missouri State

1979   2-7                                                               Coach William Yarborough

1980   1-8                                                               Coach William Yarborough

1981   2-7                                                               Coach William Yarborough

1982   4-5                                                               Coach Pete Thanos

*Sidney Green was named to the Catholic League All-Star Team as a representative of Mendel High School.  Green played tight end in the Catholic League/Public League All-Star game at Soldier Field .

1983   2-7                                                               Coach Pete Thanos

1984   1-8                                                               Coach John Wilson

1985   1-6                                                               Coach John Wilson

1986   2-7                                                               Coach John Wilson

*In 1986 Mendel boasts high school All-American Charles Collins. He is expected to help Mendel return to its football prominence. Sadly he is injured and the season is a losing one

1987   1-8   Final season as Mendel                          Coach John Wilson

**Mendel alums that played professional football:

Jim Andreotti (56) – A two-way player at Northwestern as center-linebacker, all-Big 10, All-American, team co-captain, played Hula and East-West Shrine Bowls, then eight seasons professionally in Canada with Toronto (1960-62, 1967) and Montreal (1963-66). He was drafted out of college by the Detroit Lions in 1960, but chose to play in Canada.


Greg Smith (77) – Defensive tackle for the University of Kansas. Drafted by the Kansas Chiefs and played for the Minnesota Vikings.


Steve Wilburn (79) – Defensive left end at Illinois State University, Began his professional football career in the Canadian Football League, playing for Calgary 1983-85,  Saskatchewan 1985-86, Also played for the New England Patriots in 1987, ended in pro career with British Columbia in 1989.(R.I.P.)


Bill Windauer (68) – Defensive left tackle at Iowa, played in NFL with Baltimore Colts in 1973-74, Miami in 1975 and 1977, along with one season in Atlanta in 1976.


Mike Wolfe (59) – Junior college player at Bakersfield JC, transferred to Colorado University. Played with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1962 at linebacker.


Ben McCall (77) – Purdue University Played in Blue Bonner Bowl for the Boilermakers. Invited to the Cincinnati Bengal’s training camp and makes the practice squad. Ben was Catholic League rushing champion in 1976 and 1977.

Ed Burke (59) – Member of 1957 Mendel Prep Bowl Championship Team. Played his college football at Notre Dame University Played for the Houston Oilers 1964-1965

Eric Rouse (75) – Played his college football at the University of Illinois. Played wide receiver for the Chicago Rush of the original Arena Football League in the early 80s.

J.C Crane (85) graduated from Drake University in 1989. Went on to the Oakland Raiders Football camp. Also played for the Dallas Cowboys Rookie Combine Team during 1989 season.

Tom Purcell (70) Became an All CCIW defensive back at North Central College in the 70s, was an assistant football coach, then coached the school’s baseball team to over 300 victories and a 1987 Division III World Series berth.



1971 Conference Wrestling Champs

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Thank you to Anthony Johnson

Two Monarch grapplers made their mark on the mats while the school offered wrestling. Greg Smith and Ed Coleman provided Mendel with individual medals at their respective state finals.  As a team, the Monarch grapplers excelled many times on the local level in the Chicago area.

One of the most incredible accomplishments in IHSA history for dual match winning streaks came via the Monarch wrestling program.  From 1964 through 1968 the Mendel Monarchs went 99 straight matches without a defeat!! This is verified by a Chicago Sun-Times Newpaper article declaring the streak had ended on January 19, 1969 when Brother Rice defeated Mendel 22 – 20.  The streak included four Catholic League Championships in 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1968.

1965 – Catholic League Champions – Undefeated Season          

1966 – Catholic League Champions – Undefeated Season 

1967 – Catholic League Champions – Undefeated Season

1968 – Catholic League Champions – Undefeated Season

          National Catholic HS Invitational Champions

          Milwaukee National HS Invitational Champions

The Mendel Monarchs of 1967-68
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Submitted by Bruce Bugajski

1971 – Catholic League Champions

1977 – Individual Medalist – State Meet:      Greg Smith     Heavyweight–3rd Place  

The 1977 wrestling has its place in the history of the Chicago Catholic League as the only all African American team to win a Catholic League Wresting championship. This record still stands today.

1985AA  Individual Medalist – State Meet:   Ed Coleman   185 lbs. class–5th Place

Bruce & Dennis Bugajski in Mexico
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Chicago Sun Times Article

The following additional information on Mendal High School wrestling was provided to us:

*Bruce Bugajski,  Class of 1968, wrestling and football.  Bruce won the National Freestyle Championship of Mexico in 1969 and was the Outstanding Wrestler of this tournament in Mexico City.  Bruce was also crowned the Chicago Catholic Leauge Champion for his weight class in 1968. Bruce also competed in the Olympic Trials in 1972.

*Dennis Bugajski, Class of 1969, wrestling and football.  Dennis went 27 – 0 in his senior year, helped the team of 1968 win the national title, and also wrestled in the AAU National Championships with his brother Bruce in 1970.  Both boys earned 4th Place honors. Dennis also competed in the Olympic Trials in 1972 but had to withdraw due to a serious knee injury incurred in the first match.

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Thank You to Anthony Johnson

*Greg Smith, at 6-3 270 lbs., not only earned his status as an All-Catholic League Football player, he led the Mendel Wrestling team to its first Catholic League Wrestling Championship since 1971 as evidenced in the Chicago Defender newspaper article written in 1977 and viewed to your right. In 1977 Greg Smith becomes 1st Mendel wrestler to make state quarterfinals.

*Senior Larry Moore places second in Catholic League Wrestling Championship losing by 1 point on a technicality to a St. Laurence wrestler. His resilience pushes him to become a district champion in the Thornton Fractional North District Competition. He completes his career under Don Ledin at 35-3

Also, Mendel HS grapplers were the Chicago Catholic League Wrestling Champions in 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968 and 1969 under coach Lou Guida and had a 99 match win streak going until Brother Rice stopped it in 1969.”



*In 1959 Mendel won the Catholic League Baseball Championship.

*Baseball team coached by Mendel Graduate 1970 Mike Manderino

*Senior Frank Anderson, and Junior Ray Collins were named to All-Catholic League varsity baseball team in 1977.

1957  12- 4                                                                                 Coach Rev. J. Gavin

1959             Catholic League Champions

1963             Catholic League Champions

1987             Catholic League South Section Co-Champions

Professional Baseball Players:

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Submitted by Anthony Johnson

**Ernie Young (Class of 1987)  Played on the Mendel Baseball team. He went on to play professionally for the Chicago White Sox, Oakland A’s, Kansas City Royals, and the Arizona Diamondbacks! He was also a member of the USA Gold Medal baseball team of the 2000 Olympics. Check out more information on Ernie at the Wikipedia web address of

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**Richard Stelmaszek (Class of 1967) – played professional baseball. Mr. Stelmaszek is the current (2010) Minnesota Twins bullpen coach. Richard was drafted in the 11th round of the 1967 major league draft by the Washington Senators.  He also player for the Chicago Cubs, California Angels, and the Texas Rangers.



Mendel Bowling Team boasts four All-Catholic League bowlers in 1979!  Mendel Bowling team takes third place in 1979 Illinois State Bowling Tournament for Graduating Seniors at Antioch Bowling Lanes in Antioch Illinois. Seniors Steven Stewart, Fred Young, and Michael Domer were named All-Catholic League performers.

1961          Catholic League Champions

1962          Catholic League Senior Champions

                 South Section Senior Champions – Catholic League

                 Catholic League Junior Champions

                 South Section Junior Champions – Catholic League

1963          Catholic League Junior Champions

1964          Catholic League Senior Champions

1965          Catholic League Senior Champions

1976          Catholic League Varsity – 4th Place

1977          Catholic League Varsity – 4th Place

1978          Catholic League Varsity – 4th Place

1979          Catholic League Varsity – 4th Place



The Mendel Fencing Team was revived in 1978.

1978          Catholic League Varsity Fencing Championships – 3rd Place

1979          Catholic League Varsity Fencing Championships – 1ST PLACE!    


The Mendel Monarchs won two Catholic League Championships in Tennis in the late 1970s.

1978          Catholic League Champions – Varsity

1979          Catholic League Champions – Varsity


Mendel High School also won three Catholic League Championships in golf!

1962          Catholic League Champions – South Section – Varsity

1963          Catholic League Champions – Junior

1965          Catholic League Champions – Senior



In its first season Mendel Soccer team posted a 5-1 record.



**From Thomas Dranger, Class of 1962:

“Not mentioned are the Mendel Band, which marched at football games, and its pep band at other contests, and the concert band. Our loyal cheerleaders, the Mendelets, came from Mother of Sorrows HS and other Catholic girls HS in the area.

Also not mentioned are the Radio Club quartered upstairs in the Annes, its short wave radio shack and electronics lab the incubator of many future engineers and technicians.  A short lived unofficial rocket club inspired by the space race was deemed too dangerous to continue after some accidents resulting in injuries.”



Mendel High School produced some very successful alumni outside of athletics, as was suggested to us by our good fan, George Weber.  Several Mendel alumni of note can be viewed on the web address of .

**Bill Callaghan, Class of 1975:

Bill Callaghan became an All-American quarterback at Illinois Benedictine College upon graduating from Mendel HS. He would enter the coaching ranks and eventually became the head football coach of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders in 2002, leading them to the Super Bowl where they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Coach Callaghan remained at Oakland for a less successful 2003 season. Coach Callaghan would become the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 2004 and would stay there for four seasons. He has since remained at the NFL level with stints at the New York Jets, Washington Redskins, and is currently (2017) the assistant head coach with the Dallas Cowboys.

Other Notable Accomplishments at Mendel Catholic High School

*Mendel’s student newspaper, “The Mendelian”, won the award as first class school newspaper.

*Mike Spragins, a senior at Mendel in 1977, become Illinois State bull riding champ. He becomes the first African American high school student to win the riding championship and earns a scholarship to the University of Wyoming.

*Several seniors in 1979 won full academic and athletic awards, Jeff Cohn, football (Northwestern) Julian Hudson, basketball (Valparaiso), Stephen Wilburn, football (Illinois State).

*Academic Scholarships went to Lester McCarrol by IIT Bell Laboratories, David Dyer, earned an academic scholarship to Air Force reserve. Dyer entered MIT-Massachuserrs Institute of Technology.

*Four Editors of Mendel’s school newspapers are national academic achievement scholars.


Do You Have Anything You Can Add To The Story…

…regarding Mendel Catholic High School? Then send in your information to us by clicking on this link to the CONTACT US page on this site, or by emailing us at Regular mail is always accepted at:

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Neva Ave.

Chicago, IL  60631

Chicago Mendel Catholic Music Festival Announcement – Submitted by Vic Harris
Chicago Mendel Catholic Music Festival Advertisement – Submitted by Vic Harris

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