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.
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. Joining them there were residents who feared integration. Despite sporadic efforts to create an integrated community and the commitment of several European ethnic communities to stay in place, the racial composition of the community area changed dramatically between 1965 and 1975. Its economic geography changed even more dramatically as evidenced by the following graph:
South End Reporter
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. As African Americans moved to Roseland, the dramatic change in the neighborhood’s make-up occurred in the Roseland Community as evidenced by the Racial Population in the above mentioned graph. Mendel which average 1,500 students since the early 70’s saw its student population go from 1,200 young men in 1974-1975 to just under 500 students in the fall of 1975. This drop not only affected the financial resources of Mendel, but also literally destroyed its sports teams. Mendel, a regular winner of South Side Championships in football, wrestling, and other sports prior to 1975 had to field teams where African American kids had no prior experience in wrestling, football or the other intercollegiate sports. Mendel lost its prominence in sports as the Roseland area went from white to black. The white residents of Roseland left for the suburbs as the industrial base left the Roseland area. By the mid-1980s, Roseland had become known for its high rates of HUD repossessions and was designated an Urban Homestead area. 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
Article from Chicago Defender Newspaper – 1979 (“Left Click” pointer on article for enlarged view)
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.”
FACTS ABOUT CHICAGO MENDEL CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL
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 “Mighty 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.
TRACK & FIELD
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!
1975AAIndividual 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
STATE FINAL STANDINGS – 1982
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.
800-meter relay—7th place
1600-meter relay—7th place
1985AARelay and Individual Medalists
800-meter relay—3rd place
Rodney Chambers 1600-meter run—5th place
Malcolm Davis 200-meter dash—6th place
1986AAIHSA Class ‘AA’ State Finals Meet – 7TH Place
STATE FINAL STANDINGS – 1986
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
STATE FINAL STANDINGS – 1987
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.
1988AARelay and Individual Medalists
400-meter relay—3rd place
Brian Thomas 400-meter dash—4th place
Robert Thorns 1600-meter run—8th place
OUTSTANDING JOB BY THE MENDEL THINCLADS!!!!
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
Hinsdale Central Supersectional Champs
Beat Elmhurst York, 59-47
Elite 8 Finalist
BeatPeoria 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
STATE FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
1 Schaumburg 116
6 Rockford Guilford 241
7 Chicago Mendel 244
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.
*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
“Left Click” on Picture to Enlarge / 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
Submitted by Bruce Bugajski (Click on Photo For Enlarged Version)
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
Chicago Sun Times Article (Click on photo for enlarged view)
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.
“Left Click” Pointer on Article for Enlargement
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:
Left Click on Photo for Larger Version
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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernie_Young
Submitted by Anthony Johnson
**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 Mighty 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 arethe 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.”
NOTABLE MENDEL ALUMNI
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 http://www.mendelalumni.com/notable_alumni.html .
**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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Regular mail is always accepted at: