Chicago St. Martin de Porres HS “Eagles”

St. Martin de Porres High School
A large building with trees in front of it

Description automatically generated with medium confidence
Courtesy of Mary Coogan

The History of Chicago St. Martin de Porres High School

Chicago (population 2.8 million) is in northeastern Illinois in eastern Cook County. Lake Michigan, along with the Chicago and Des Plaines Rivers are the main waterways in the city. Interstates 55, 57, 90, & 94 will all lead you to the “Windy City.” From what started as a small village in the early 1800’s along the banks of Lake Michigan, Chicago has grown to the nation’s third largest city and one of the most famous places in the world, as the result of an ethnically diverse community that adopted the city.

St. Martin de Porres was established in 1988 by the Archdiocese of Chicago.  The school was located at the Mendel High School campus (250 East 111th Street…where Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy is now located), which first started out as the campus for Pullman Technical High School.

The school’s namesake was a South American priest that was known for educating and helping the poor during the 16th century. More about St. Martin de Porres’ biography can be found here:

Unfortunately, St. Martin de Porres did not stay open beyond 1997 when it closed to due to declining enrollment. By IHSA enrollment standards, it started out as a Class AA school but quickly fell into Class A, even as its basketball program qualified for the Class A state finals, the enrollment dropped from 586 to 329 in two years (see below).

As you can tell above, the school building is still a school today, having been renamed for a famous poet and is part of the Chicago Public School system.


Year opened:                       1988

Year closed:                         1997

School used as today:       Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy

School colors:                      Navy Blue & Silver

School nickname:               “Eagles”

School song:                        unknown


It is known the school offered several sports for its student body in the short time that the school was open. Basketball, football, baseball, and track were available to the boys, and the girls could choose from volleyball, basketball, and track. We are not certain if other sports might have been offered, and we are requesting assistance from anyone who may know whether or not other interscholastic sports were represented at St. Martin dePorres.


The Eagles were successful on the hardwood, as four teams reached the Class A Sweet 16 in the 1990’s during a five-year period. Led by all-staters Jerry Gee and Tryon Tripplett, St. Martin dePorres was successful in getting thru a tough bracket that had most of the state’s parochial (or private) schools from regional to supersectional in order to play in the finals at the University of Illinois’ Assembly Hall, or Carver Arena in Peoria. Coach Mike Manderino was the only head coach in school history, compiling a record of 166-100 in nine seasons, which was good for a winning percentage of .624.

1988-89   17-11                                                           Coach Mike Manderino

1989-90   13-12                                                           Coach Mike Manderino

1990-91   19-  9                                                            Coach Mike Manderino

1991-92   15-17        Elite 8 in Class A                     Coach Mike Manderino (enrollment 586)

                              Regional Champions

                              Sectional Champions

                              K’kee Supersectional Winners

                              (beat Addison Driscoll, 71-54)

                              Elite 8 Finalist

Lost to Benton 64-50               

                              Benton finished 3rd

1992-93   21-10       Class A Sweet 16 Qualifier   Coach Mike Manderino (enrollment 427)

                             Regional Champions

                             Sectional Champions

                             K’kee Supersectional Finalist

                             lost to Hales Franciscan, 59-56 in OT

Hales Franciscan finished 2nd in Class A

** Team was ranked 4th in final regular season Class A AP Poll

**Jerry Gee named All-State

1993-94   31-  4       Team Placed 3rd in Class A!!!     Coach Mike Manderino (enrollment 329)

                              Regional Champions

                              Sectional Champions

                              K’kee Supersectional Winners

                              (bested Aurora Christian, 64-45)

                              Elite 8 Finalist

                              Defeated Kewanee HS 73-60

                              Final 4 Finalist

                              Lost to Eureka 58-50

IHSA Class ‘A’ Third Place Game

                              Beat Rockford Lutheran 63-45

**Team was ranked 2nd in final regular season Class ‘A’ AP Poll.

**Jerry Gee & Tryon Tripplett named to all-tournament team.

**Jerry Gee was named Illinois’ Mr Basketball and received numerous all-state honors.

1994-95   14-15                                                            Coach Mike Manderino

1995-96   17-14       Class A Sweet 16 Qualifier!  Coach Mike Manderino (enrollment 371)

                              Regional Champions

                              Sectional Champions

                              Super-Sectional Finalist 

                              Lost Providence-St. Mel, 62-51

**Tryon Tripplett named All-State.


1996-97   19-  8       Regional Champions               Coach Mike Manderino

(Final year of school’s existence)


Picking up where Mendel left off, the Eagle cross-country program got the school off in the right foot when it had a team qualify for the state AA meet in their first semester of operation.

1988AA   State Qualifier                     Coach Mike Garcia


And to compliment the cross-country team’s success that first year, the Eagles’ track program went to the state AA meet, taking home three medals in the speed events.

1989AA  Relay and Individual Medalists

                400-meter relay team     3rd place

                Brian Thomas                200-meter dash—5th place
400-meter dash—5th place


One student represented St. Martin dePorres on the medal podium to show success in the girls’ track program. Unfortunately, this is the only piece of information that we were able to find on the IHSA website (

1991AA   LaShawn Cook               100-meter dash—5th place


The Eagles fielded a team during the spring months, and came away with a piece of IHSA post-season hardware by winning a Class A regional while the school was open.

1995      Class ‘A’ Regional Champions


From our own Tom Sikorski:

“In 1988 a consolidation changed Mendel to St Martin dePorres and this school dropped football in 1992 while it was a member of the Chicago Catholic League. They won one and lost 34 during this span before dropping the sport.”


From Demond Baine (Class of 1992):

“I hope that I can provide some insight for you as I was a student there who graduated in ’92 in addition to working there afterwards as the Dean of Students in ’97, the year that the school closed.

The full range of sports and their respective coaches included:


Football (the one team we beat was Rockford Boylan), Coach James Lick

Cross Country –Adams, Garcia

Volleyball – Kelly


Wrestling – Johnson

Basketball (b&g) – Coach Manderino and Coach Kelly

Indoor Track and Field – Adams, Lick


Outdoor Track and Field –Adams, Lick

Baseball – Manderino

Softball – Kelly

There were three Division I athletes in my time there:

*Brian Thomas – Univ. of Iowa, track.

*Daren Williams – Univ. Nebraska, football, Daren Williams also went on to play in the Arena League,

*Jerry Gee – Univ. of Illinois (1994-98), played over seas for a while and also in some regional basketball leagues.  He was named “Mr. Basketball” in the state of Illinois in 1992.

In track we held the conference title in both the indoor and outdoor championships for several years in a row in the Chicago Catholic League until 1992.  My recollection is that record continued over from Mendel.”

Another alum of St. Martin de Porres was track athlete Andre Coleman, who was named to the North Central College Athletic Hall of Fame in October 2014. NCC Sports Information Director Clark Teuscher provided this link to a press release that was issued prior to the induction:


some information about the history of St. Martin dePorres High School in Chicago? If so, please contact us with your facts and photos. We will accept them by email at or by USPS at:

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL  60631

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