|ATHLETICSThe Red Horde offered football, basketball, baseball, and wrestling, according to information found on the IHSA website (www.ihsa.org), but this writer feels that there may have been other sports offered to the boys over the years. Anyone who may have information about those other sports is encouraged to contact us at the addresses listed below.
John Kroll added the following information regarding Weber High School’s athletic program:
“At one time or another, Weber also had a bowling team — frequent Catholic League champs — a hockey team, a swim team, water polo, track, cross-country, and tennis (I was briefly sports editor of the Weber News in the mid-70s).”
|Home of “Red Horde” football games
Weber was well-known in Chicago’s Catholic League football wars, winning two Prep Bowls against the Chicago Public League in 1961 and 1964 at Soldier Field. The Red Horde were in a total of five Prep Bowls, two of which drew over 83,000 at the gates and are listed fourth and fifth, respectively, on the IHSA’s list for greatest attendance to an Illinois prep football game. From 1929 thru 1998, Weber won 242 games.
1929 1- 5 First season Coach John Rericha
1938 5- 1- 2 Coach Andrew PIlney
(See below for more comments
regarding the 1938 football season)
1944 8- 1- 1 Catholic League Champions Coach George LaCognata
Prep Bowl runnerup
Lost to Tilden 13-7
(attendance: 85,000—4th largest in IHSA history)
(See below for more comments regarding the 1944 football season)
1945 5- 2- 2 Coach Al McGuff
1946 9- 2 Catholic League Champions Coach Al McGuff
Prep Bowl runnerup
Lost to Fenger 14-7
1947 5- 3- 1 Coach Al McGuff
1948 5- 4- 1 Coach Al McGuff
1949 5- 2- 1 Coach Al McGuff
1952 5- 4 Coach Walter Lenczyk
1955 8- 3- 1 Catholic League Champions Coach Steve Juzwik
Prep Bowl runnerup
Lost to Chicago Vocational 6-0
1957 5- 3 Coach Ed Stelmaszek
1959 8- 3 (good record) Coach Joe Sassano
1960 5- 3- 2 Coach Joe Sassano
1961 11-0 CATHOLIC LEAGUE CHAMPIONS!!! Coach Joe Sassano
PREP BOWL CHAMPIONS!!!
Beat Lane Tech 14-12
(attendance: 83,750—5th largest in IHSA history)
1962 4- 2- 1 Coach Joe Sassano
1963 4- 3- 1 Coach Joe Sassano
1964 10-0-1 CATHOLIC LEAGUE CHAMPIONS!!! Coach Joe Sassano
PREP BOWL CHAMPIONS
Beat Chicago Vocational 34-13
1965 4- 3 Coach Joe Sassano
1966 5- 3 Coach Joe Sassano
1967 5- 3- 1 Coach Joe Sassano
1979 7- 4 Catholic League Playoff qualifier Coach David Proffitt
1982 7- 4 Catholic League Playoff qualifier Coach Jeff Hokl
1983 8- 2 STATE 5A PLAYOFF QUALIFIER Coach John Hanhauser
Lost to Glen Ellyn Glenbard West 16-0 in first round
1984 6- 4 Catholic League Playoff qualifier Coach John Hanhauser
1988 6- 4 STATE 4A PLAYOFF QUALIFIER Coach Bob Carskie
Lost to Arlington Heights St. Viator 12-3 in first round
1991 2- 7 Coach Bob Carskie
1992 2- 7 Coach Joe Sassano, Jr.
1997 Coach Mark Olson
1998 Final season Coach Mark Olson
From Irv Silchuck (Class of 1945):
“Weber High School struggled and fought hard during in its games during the 1941, ’42, and ’43 seasons, but did not produce many victories. It was obvious that the team lacked personnel depth to help carry them through the seasons. At that time Weber’s student enrollment was between 250 – 300 students. The “so-called” power teams; Mt. Carmel, St. Leo, DeLaSalle, St. Mel, St. Phillip, and Fenwick had 2 – 4 times the enrollment of Weber.
“However, something was beginning to happen. Ed Vyzral, another Notre Dame University grad, became the new head coach in 1942. He began to focus on the fundamentals of tackling and blocking. His Notre Dame motto: Let the other team know they were in a ball game, and their win wasn’t going to be easy. To further refine those skills and to assist us with proper eating habits prior to the games (there were three night games on the schedule), Ed had the school do something unheard of at Weber up to that time. In August of 1943, he took us to a monestary in Sturtevant, Wisconsin for two weeks of secluded practice. Needless to say, the group began to look like a team and a family bonding began to take place as we progressed in our two-a-day practice sessions.
“The team looked better and seemed to be much stronger as we concluded the first half of our 1943 schedule with a 3-1-1 record. However an unfortunate occurrence on October 23, the eve of our big game with St. George, place a big hole in our stalwart defensive game. Stan Wodka, a sure bet to become Weber’s first all-state selection at the guard position, was diagnosed with infantile paralysis. Although the dedication of the game to Stan provided inspiration to play extra hard, we could not upset St. George and we were defeated 13-7. St. George finished their season undefeated and was voted the best team in the state (possibly in the country). They took a trip to the east coast and beat the best team in New York by a score of 48-0.
“Unfortunately, Ed Vyzral was inducted into the U.S. Army for World War II in the Spring of 1944. This led to another coaching change; the hiring of George La Cognata. George was young, had no prior coaching experience, but had played the game. He knew what to do with the personnel he had inherited.
“George began shifting his players to positions which insured the best utilization of talent. For instance, if you were fast and a good blocker, instead of playing in the backfield you might have been placed in the line as a pulling guard to provide extra blockers on end-run plays. The same was true on defense.
“However, the most important additon to the team’s character was the extra dedication and committment provided by the naming of Stan Wodka as co-captain for the 1944 season. Stan would be in his wheelchair at mid-field for each and every game.
|Submitted by Ira Silchuck
“When the 1944 season began, we were encouraged by what was happening. We were winning every game (by close scores, however, still winning) and were developing fans to an overflow capacity at the stadiums. The Chicago newpapers began giving us the name of “Little Davids.” Yes, we beat the big schools on our tough schedule; Mt. Carmel, St. Leo, DeLasalle, Joliet Catholic, Loyola, St. Philip, St. Mel, Fenwick, and we tied St. Rita. We lost our only game that year in the City Championship game to Tilden 13-7.
“As one reflects on the 1944 season, you are proud of the accomplishments of that small school from the near-northwest side of Chicago. World War II ended before the beginning of the 1945 season. With that the returning G.I.s began to catch up on all the clippings that their families saved on the previous season. This resulted in Weber building a strong presence on the northwest side of Chicago. This led to an ever-increasing enrollment that eclipsed 2,000 students by 1952, when the new school opened on Long Avenue on the city’s northwest side. These football achievements speak of the Glory……and now you know the rest of the story.”
|Weber High School Gym Entrance
|Chicago Weber HS Gym 2012
|Courtesy of Henry Henderson
|Chicago Weber HS Gym 2012
|Courtesy of Henry Henderson
|Chicago Weber HS Gym Interior 2012
|Courtesy of Henry Henderson
During the final 25 years of the school’s existence, basketball vied for the spotlight at Weber as nine teams won Class AA regionals and three of those teams won sectionals and had a chance to advance to the state AA tournament.
1938-39 Coach Frank McGrath
1939-40 Coach Frank McGrath
1940-41 Coach Frank McGrath
1941-42 Coach Frank McGrath
1942-43 Coach Frank McGrath
1943-44 Junior Division – Cath. League Coach Frank McGrath
AND City Champions!!
Senior Division – Catholic League
(See below for comments on this season)
1944-45 Catholic League Hwt. Champs Coach Frank McGrath
1945-46 Catholic League Lwt. Champs
1946-47 Catholic League Lwt. Champs
1947-48 Coach Al McGuff
1975-76 Regional Champions
1976-77 20- 9 IHSA Sweet 16 Qualifier Coach Tom Yore
SWEET 16 Qualifier
Lost to Chicago DeLaSalle 83-71
at Aurora East Supersectional
1978-79 15-10 Coach Jim Harrington
1979-80 14-11 Coach Jim Harrington
1980-81 13-15 Regional Champions Coach Jim Harrington
1982-83 20- 7 Regional Champions Coach Jim Harrington
Shared Catholic League Title
w/Gordon Tech & De LaSalle
1983-84 21- 7 IHSA Sweet 16 Qualifier Coach Jim Harrington
Catholic League Champions
SWEET 16 Qualifier
Lost to Harvey Thornton 63-42
at Hinsdale Central Supersectional
1984-85 19- 6 Coach Jim Harrington
1985-86 19-10 Regional Champions Coach John Bonk
1990-91 23- 5 Regional Champions Coach John Bonk
Chicago Catholic League South Division Champions
1991-92 25- 4 Regional Champions Coach John Bonk
Chicago Catholic League South Division Champions
1993-94 20-10 IHSA Sweet 16 Qualifier Coach John Bonk
Sweet 16 Qualifier
Lost to Libertyville 61-52
in Evanston Supersectional
1997-98 Coach John Brogan
1998-99 Final season Coach Leroy Jarka
From Coach John Bonk:
“I taught and coached at Chicago Weber from 1980-1996. Some of my best memories and years were spent at Weber High School. I am currently at Nazareth Academy in LaGrange Park, Il. Frequently, I think back to those glory days I spent at Weber.”
From Irv Silchuck, Class of 1945:
From 1938-1945 both the catholic and public high schools had two divisions in basketball. The Senior Division had no height requirement for the players. The Junior Division had a height limit of 5′ 08″.
“Weber High School’s good fortune began in 1938 when Frank McGrath became the coach. Under Coach McGrath’s leadership neither team would have a losing record. The Senior Division teams would have a combined record of 111-54. The Junior Division teams had a combined record of 125-43.
“The 1943-44 season was the most successful of these years for both teams. The “Seniors” were acclaimed the North Section Champions. They then lost to Mt. Carmel for the Catholic League Championship. The Junior team continued their winning ways repeating as North Sector Champions for the third consecutive year. They then defeated Joliet Catholic for the Junior Division Catholic League Championship. This victory gave them the right to face Marshall High School (the Public League representative) at Chicago Stadium. The Red Horde proved themselves champions by winning the City Championshiop by a score of 45-36.
“The 1944-45 season was a disappointment for two reasons. Although both teams had winning records, neither team made the Catholic League playoffs. This also was the final year that Frank McGrath coached at Weber High School. Coach McGrath is well-remembered by those who played for him and knew him for his fine coaching ability and his winning attitude that continued on at Weber for many years.”
From Darren Howard, CAA, Class of 1983,
Athletic Director, Boys Basketball Head Coach,
Immaculate Conception HS in Elmhurst:
“I played basketball at Weber in the 80’s. Clarence McGee was class of ’83. Our ’83 team was the first basketball champs at Weber since 1944. Weber was a great school that taught the whole person and allowed one to develop in all aspects. I am in Catholic education now as well as being an athletic director and I live and pass on to my students what I learned at Weber every day. RED PRIDE!”
|Joe Mrowczynski (Murrow) leads Weber to victory
|courtesy of Dave Murrow
|1947-48 Red Horde scrimmage
|courtesy of Dave Murrow
|1947-48 Weber varsity basketball
|Notables: #57 Moose Skowron (second row w/ball), #30 Capt. Joe Murrow (courtesy of Dave Murrow)
|Joe Murrow in action (class of 1948)
|courtesy of Dave Murrow
|Weber High School Gymnasium
The Red Horde hit the mats and pinned a few people while in operation, winning one regional and having three wrestlers come home from the state tournament with medals, two of which were crowned state champions.
1993 Individual Medalist—-Antonio Sims Coach Dan Carroll
5th at 112 lbs in AA
1994 Individual Medalist—-Antonio Sims Coach Dan Carroll
6th at 112 lbs in AA
1997 AA Regional Champions Coach Dan Carroll
Individual Medalist—-Alexis Rivera
STATE CHAMPION at 112 lbs in AA
Individual Medalist—-Lovell Houston
STATE CHAMPION at 140 lbs in AA
From Cedric Atkins regarding the Regional Championship Team:
“I attended Weber High School (93-97). I played football and wrestled all four years. I was also a member of the only Wrestling Regional Championship team. We had a great group of guys that laid it all out there on the mat. Coaches Dan Carroll and Joe Joyce were excellent mentors!”
|Wrestling Regional Championship Banner 1997
|Courtesy of Cedric Atkins
Weber’s baseball program had its share of successes, and won one State AA Regional. The win-loss record and name of the coach are unknown.
1978 Chicago Catholic League Champs
Team members included the following:
Chuck Shearer (drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 78’)
Dave Dyrek (signed with the Houston Astros out of college)
Tim Peraino (played professionally in Melbourne Australia from 1986 to 1988 with the
Sunshine Eagles, won the Australian Grand Final for Baseball in 1988).
1980 AA Regional Champions Coach Paul Camastro
FAMOUS ALUMNI OF WEBER
William Walter Bednarz (class of 1960) – William Bednarz is the post-mortem recipient of the military’s second highest award, the Silver Star. Upon graduating from Weber High in 1960, William entered the military during the Viet Nam War. He was killed in the line of duty performing a brave and courageous act for his country. William’s place on the Virtual Wall website can be viewed at http://www.virtualwall.org/db/BednarzWW01a.htm .
William Bednarz’ Silver Star Medal document reads as follows:
|“For gallantry in action involving close combat against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: PFC. Bednarz distinguished himself by heroic actions on 16 May 1967 near Ap Rach Gau (2), RVN, while serving as a machine gunner when his company was engaged in a night assault against a numerically superior Viet Cong force. Immediately upon debarking the aircraft, Private Bednarz’s platoon became separated from the rest of the company and came under heavy enemy machine gun and automatic weapons fire from the front and left flank. Private Bednarz demonstrated great personal courage as he assaulted the enemy positions and delivered a continuous and effective volume of fire. At one point, Private Bednarz engaged a sniper who had stopped the movement of the company and had the company commander and his radio operator pinned down in a open field. After killing the enemy sniper, Private Bednarz shifted his fire to an automatic weapon position threatening the company’s left flank. He took up a position on a berm and fired his weapon from the shoulder to place more effective fire on the enemy. While performing this hazardous mission, Private Bednarz was mortally wounded. Private Bednarz acted with great courage and determination in the face of intense enemy fire. His heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, the 25th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.”
|Thank you William Bednarz, a true American Hero!
Bill (Moose) Skowron (class of 1948) – Helped lead Weber to a Prep Bowl appearance as a punter and halfback, and went onto Purdue via football scholarship. Even though the Red Horde did not offer baseball when he attended, Skowron did play at Purdue, hitting .500 as a sophomore and it led to a 14-year major league career with the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Senators, Chicago White Sox, and Los Angeles Angels. Moose hit .293 in his career, played in nine World Series and was in six All-Star games. He has been inducted into five Hall of Fames, including the National Polish-American Hall of Fame in 1980.
Mike Krzyzewski (class of 1965) – After graduating from Weber, “Coach K” went onto play at the U.S. Military Academy, where he was a three-year letter winner for then-coach Bobby Knight. Mike wound up serving out his military obligation, earning the rank of captain before resigning in 1974. Krzyzewski wound up as an assistant at Indiana, then became head coach at Army for five seasons before taking the job at Duke in 1981. Thru March 2018, his teams have won 1100 games with a winning percentage of .765, and have brought home five National titles (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, and 2015). Like Skowron, Mike is a member of the National Polish-American Hall of Fame along with the Basketball Hall of Fame. One statistic that Krzyzewski certainly takes pride in is that more than 90% of his scholarship players have graduated, which is one of the highest in the country, in light of the tough academic standards set at Duke.
Joe Krupa (class of 1952) — Once his Red Horde days were over, Krupa continued playing football at Purdue and continued at the professional level with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1956-64. Joe was named all-NFL in 1963 as a defensive lineman.
Chico Kurzawski (class of 1965) — football great and later a star halfback at Northwestern University (see question 125 here, http://hailtopurple.com/features/trivia03.html) who was drafted in the last round of 1969 by the New Orleans Saints.
Clarence McGee (Class of 1983) – basketball – received a scholarship to Ohio State University.
Art Michalik (class of 1949) — In his rookie season as a member of the San Francisco 49ers in 1953, this Weber grad was all-NFL as a linebacker. Art’s pro career was short after leaving St. Ambrose College in Davenport, where he was a two-way player (guard on offense, linebacker on defense). Michalik played two seasons in San Francicsco, before playing another two in Pittsburgh (including one season with Joe Krupa) and finishing with Calgary in the Canadian Football League in 1958.
Bob Niziolek (class of 1976) — Bob suited up for one season with the Detroit Lions (1981) as a backup tight end, but spent the majority of his professional career with the Denver Gold and Orlando Breakers of the United States Football League between 1983-85.
Chet Ostrowski (class of 1950) — Ostrowski played at Notre Dame once his Weber days were over, and then had a five-year pro career with the Washington Redskins from 1954-59. Ostrowski was a mainstay in the Redskins’ defensive line during those years, playing both the tackle and end spots.
From “Pete” and Bridgette Koziol “Tim Marshall was the (Chicago) Sun-Times football player of the year (in) 1979. (He attended) Notre Dame University.”
Tim Radtke (class of 1984) – football – Tim Radtke played football at Weber and as captain of the team led the Red Horde to their first ever state playoff berth. The Red Horde lost to eventual State Champion Glenbard West in a battle that was much closer than the final score of 16-0 would lead you to believe. Tim was named a first team All-State selection, was captain of the All Catholic League Team that defeated the Public League All Stars 44-0. After his final season at Weber, Tim received a full scholarship to Indiana University. He started at offensive guard for 4 straight years, totaling 45 games. While at Indiana, his teams went from perennial loser to competing in three bowl games and winning the last one, the Liberty Bowl against the South Carolina Gamecocks 34-10. His Indiana teams also accomplished feats never done before. In 1987, they beat Michigan 14-10 and Ohio State 34-10, and in 1988 beat Ohio State for the second straight year 41-0. Tim received all-conference honors starting after his sophomore season including being named second team All-Big Ten as a Senior. He also blocked for Anthony Thompson, who was second in the 1989 Heisman Trophy voting, broke Red Grange’s record for career rushing touchdowns and was named to the NCAA Hall of Fame.
Darrin Trieb (Class of 1986) – football – from a Purdue University website:
“Darrin Trieb had it. Trieb transferred to Purdue from Iowa State, coming to West Lafayette from Ames with defensive coordinator Phil Bennett. Trieb’s transfer was controversial in the eyes of Cyclones fans, especially since Trieb was the Big Eight’s Newcomer of the Year in 1986. Not surprisingly, Trieb made an instant impact at Purdue, making second team All-Big Ten as a sophomore in 1988. The talented middle linebacker from Chicago still ranks seventh in solo tackles in school history with 247.” (Thank you to Chris Thomas for this addition)
Kenny Redfield (class of 1986) – basketball – received a scholarship to Michigan State University.
OJ Simmons (class of 1989) – football – Simmons was an All-State Defensive Back on the 1988 playoff qualifying team. He went on to play at Jackson State University.
Tim Sanders (class of 1992) – football – Tim Sanders played football at Weber and then went on to play linebacker for the Iowa State University Cyclones where he was named captain for two of his years there. While he was at Iowa State, former Weber coach Bob Carskie joined the Cyclone football coaching staff! After graduating from Iowa State in 1996, Tim played in the European Football League for the Bologna Phoenix.
Robert Wiater (class of 1963) – basketball – upon graduating from Weber in 1963, Robert Wiater continued his basketball career at Purdue University.
Jim Phillips (Class of 1989?) – was named the athletic director of Northwestern University in 2008 after previously serving as A.D. of Northern Illinois University for four years. (http://nusports.cstv.com/school-bio/nw-athdir.html)
Steve Borowski (Class of 1965) – from Jim Eme (Class of 1963:
“I am a 59’ to 63’ graduate and grew up with Steve Borowski, who was two years behind me. As far as outstanding athletes, Steve should definitely be included. He has a lifetime swimming/coaching career that includes world masters records at age 55.” For more on Steve Borowski’s incredible career check out the following web addresses:
**From Tim Peraino (Class of 1978):
“Weber was an terrific school with great teachers who helped create and mold some outstanding students.”
**From Ted Stanko, Jr. (Class of 1962):
Regarding the request for more information on sports, I thought I would add two not on your list. I was a member of the Weber Crew team from 1959 to 1962 (Spring sport) Our coach was a ’58 graduate who had also been on the team for four years, so the activity had started no later than 1955. It ended some time in the ’60’s, most likely when the the Central States Amateur Rowing Association disbanded. There is a complete history of high school rowing in Chicago on the following site:
Another sport active for the years I attended was Golf. Sorry I can’t say how long there had been a golf team. I have attached a copy of the front page to the sports section from the 1962 yearbook (The Dolphin).” (See below for photo)
From Tom Stemm (Class of 1957):
“I went to WEBER from 1953 to 1957. I was at the 1955 Catholic League championship. We beat ST. GEORGE in a blizzard 3 to 0. By the end of the game you could barely see the players.
“My sister was with us that day. She asked who was winning. I said we are. She then said, ‘then let’s go home.’ We made a dragon, put an arrow in it. Then we tied it to the top of my dad’s car. It had a big long red tongue. By the time we got home the tongue was frozen and sticking straight up.
“The time at WEBER were the best years of my life. In fact they were the best years to be an American. They are years no one will ever see again.”
From Shay Boyle (Class of 1995):
“Hello, I noticed there are a few omissions from Weber Basketball History. Weber won the Catholic League South in 1991 and 1992. We had a tiebreaker over DLS (DeLaSalle) and we beat Gordon Tech (the North Champs), And in ’92, we beat Loyola, the North Champs, as well. Red Pride!”
|Chicago Weber High School Sports – 1962 Yearbook
|Submitted by Ted Stanko, Jr.