Franklin Park East Leyden H.S. “Eagles”

(*School remains open, athletics combined with Northlake West Leyden.)

East Leyden Township High School
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Franklin Park, Illinois

The History of Franklin Park East Leyden Township High School

Franklin Park (population: 19,800) is located in western Cook County in northeastern Illinois, less than 15 miles west of downtown Chicago. The town can be reached by Mannheim Road (which is also designated as US Routes 12 & 45) along with Franklin and Belmont Avenues. Franklin Park is also bordered by Interstate 294 (aka Tri-State Tollway), and is only three miles from O’Hare International Airport. Metra also provides train service to and from Chicago.

Although the area was settled as early as the 1840’s, it wasn’t until around 1890 that Lesser Franklin gave the community its name. His vision for the community was to intergrate residential areas with industry, and as it turned out, a number of manufacturers came to Franklin Park to set up shop. Franklin Park was incorporated in 1892, and brought a number of Slavic, Italian, and Polish immigrants to settle down and raise their families.

With the advent of the interstate highways during the 1950’s and ’60s, the village was considered an ideal location for industry and had many spur routes for railcars, which was a key ingridient to moving business along to the American public logistically, and the nearby O’Hare also took advantage of Franklin Park for its cargo terminals at the airport.

East Leyden High School was formed in the fall of 1958 after there was only one school, Leyden Community High School, serving both Franklin Park, Northlake, Rosemont, and other nearby communities. The original high school opened in 1911 and expanded from a one-year to three-year curriculum within two years. A fourth year was not added until 1924 when the district was formed. The school was built in 1926-27, adding on four times before deciding to build a campus in Northlake, which was to be called West Leyden, and the remaining school would be known as East Leyden. The split took place in 1958 and both schools had their own extracurricular activities.

However, due to a poor ecomony and a possible downturn in students enrolled in each school, it was decided with the beginning of the 1981-82 school year that both schools would remain open, but the athletics and possibly other extra-curricular activities would be combined as one school. That arrangement still exists today as the schools compete together as Leyden High School, located in both Franklin Park & Northlake.


Year original school opened:                                            1911

Year East Leyden split:                                                   1958

Year East Leyden & West Leyden combined their teams:  1981

School colors:                                                                 Blue & White

School nickname:                                                           Eagles

School song:                                                                  unknown


The Eagles were competitive in wrestling, basketball, and football, in addition to track, swimming, golf, gymastics, and on the girls’ side, the school won titles in girls’ basketball, softball, and track. It is believed that the school could have offered other sports, but the IHSA website ( does not have a listing in baseball, volleyball, or other sports that would be offered at East Leyden. Anyone who has more details about these sports and others at the school is invited to contact us at


Without question, the Eagles were kings of the mat during the winter months. Under their legendary coach Chuck Farina, East Leyden won two state titles, and had an winning streak of 88 consecutive dual meets during the 1970’s which was later broken by Mahomet-Seymour. There were a total of eight seasons where the Eagles went undefeated, three of them in succession while racking up the 88 dual wins. Fifteen grapplers won state titles for East Leyden, four of which came during the 1978 AA State Finals. Here’s a rundown of those teams:

1958-59  14-0         State Qualifiers              Coach Chuck Farina

                              District Champs

                               Sectional Champs

                             Individual Placer

                              Ronald Vonesh—3rd at 127 pounds

1959-60  17-0         STATE CHAMPS!!!!         Coach Chuck Farina

                              District Champs

                               Sectional Champs

                             State Final Team Standings

                              1 Franklin Park East Leyden   58

                              2 Pekin                                    38

3 Waukegan                             36

4 Harvey Thornton                     27

5 Evergreen Park                      25

                             Individual Placers

                              Robert Foster—-3rd at 95 pounds

                              Sal Fuscone—-STATE CHAMPION at 103 pounds!!!

                              Don Coffman—2nd at 112 pounds

                              Dennis Owens—STATE CHAMPION at 138 pounds!!!

                              Lason Monroe—3rd at 165 pounds

1960-61     7-6                                            Coach Chuck Farina

1961-62   14-5-1    District Champions        Coach Chuck Farina

                             Individual Finalist

                              Larry Foster—-STATE CHAMPION AT 138 pounds!!!

1962-63   15-1-1    District Champions        Coach Chuck Farina

                             Individual Finalist

                              Tim Murphy—-4th at 154 pounds

1963-64   14-1       District Champions       Coach Chuck Farina

1964-65   13-1       10th in State                 Coach Chuck Farina

                             District Champions

                              Sectional Champions

                            State Final Team Standings

                              1 (tie) Burbank Reavis          31

Granite City HS           31

                            10 (tie) Rockford East           16

                                      East Leyden               16

                            Individual Placers

                             Terry Artman—3rd at 112 pounds

                             Bill Laursen—3rd at 138 pounds

1965-66   14-4     7th in State                Coach Chuck Farina

                           District Champions

                            Sectional Champions

                          State Final Team Standings

                            1  Waukegan HS                 65

                            7  East Leyden                   19

                            8  (tie) Evanston                  18

Skokie Niles East             18

Individual Placer

                            Bill Laursen—STATE CHAMPION at 145 pounds!!!

1966-67 18-0-1 State Qualifiers                  Coach Chuck Farina

                        District Champions

                         Sectional Champions           

Individual Placers

Tom Gervais—5th at 95

                          Bruce Laursen—6th at 127

                          Bill Ott—4th at 165

1967-68 15-1-1  2nd IN STATE!!!!                    Coach Chuck Farina

                         District Champions

                          Sectional Champions 

State Final Team Standings (top 5 schools)

1 DeKalb                                       27

2 Franklin Park East Leyden        26

3 Decatur Stephen Decatur             23

4 Savanna                                     19

5 Sterling HS                                 18

Individual Placers

                          Gary Drury—STATE CHAMPION at 138!!!

                          Ken Monroe—STATE CHAMPION at 165!!!

1968-69 14-3     Tied for 8th in State            Coach Chuck Farina

                         District Champions

                          Sectional Champions

                        State Final Team Standings

1 Moline                                        33

2 North Chicago                             32

8 Franklin Park East Leyden        17

Fox Lake Grant                           17

Tinley Park HS                            17

Individual Placer

                         Ken Monroe—STATE CHAMPION at 165!!!

1969-70 16-1   District Champions                  Coach Chuck Farina

                       Individual State Placer

                        Jim Harder—4th at 115

1970-71 17-0   State Qualifers                          Coach Chuck Farina

District Champions

                        Sectional Champions

                      Individual State Placers

                       Brian Castle—4th at 138

                       Dave Froelich—3rd at 155

1971-72 21-1  2ND IN STATE!!!                     Coach Chuck Farina

                      District Champions

                       Sectional Champions  

                     State Final Team Standings (top five schools)

                      1 Arlington Heights Hersey              42.5

2 Franklin Park East Leyden        31.5

3 Waukegan                                  26

4 East Moline United Township        25.5

5 Bloomington HS                          22.5

Individual Placers

                     Brian Castle—STATE CHAMPION at 138!!!

                     Bob Holland—STATE CHAMPION at 145!!!

1972-73 21-0  Tied for 7th in State                    Coach Chuck Farina

 District Champions

                       Sectional Champions

                     State Final Team Standings

1 Bensonville Fenton                     29.5

6 Moline                                       19

                      7 Franklin Park East Leyden       18.5

Dixon                                        18.5

9 Granite City HS                          17.5

10 Bloomington HS                         17

West Chicago HS                       17

Individual Placers

                      Ed Parkinson—6th at 112

                      Bob Holland—STATE CHAMPION at 155!!!

1973-74 20-0  5th in AA State!!!                       Coach Chuck Farina

                      District Champions

                       Sectional Champions

                     State Final Team Standings (top 5 schools)

                      1 Olympia Fields Rich Central        41

2 Oak Lawn Community                31

3 Joliet West                                30.5

4 Elk Grove Village Elk Grove           30

5 Franklin Park East Leyden      28.5

                    Individual Placers

                     Ed Riccomini—3rd at 126

                     Ernie Krist—STATE CHAMPION at 132!!!

1974-75 21-1 3rd in AA STATE!!!                    Coach Chuck Farina

                     District Champions

                      Sectional Champions

                    State Final Team Standings

                     1 (tie) Chicago Hts. Bloom              33

Oak Lawn Richards                     33

3 Franklin Park East Leyden        32.5

4 Romeoville                                  31.5

5 Rockford East                             27.5

1975-76 20-0  AA State Qualifiers                    Coach Chuck Farina

District Champions

                       Sectional Champions

                    Individual State Placer

                     Randy Conrad—3rd at 112

1976-77 20-0  3rd in AA STATE!!!                  Coach Chuck Farina

State Final Team Standings

1 Oak Lawn Richards                65

2 Joliet West                            62.5

3 Franklin Park East Leyden   55.5

4 West Chicago HS                  47

5 Barrington                             46

Individual Placers

                     Rich Brown—3rd at 126

                     Dave Krist—2nd at 132

                     Jeff Hoss—4th at 138

                     Ben Rodriguez—5th at 167

1977-78 20-0 AA STATE CHAMPIONS!!!        Coach Chuck Farina

                     Sectional Champions

                    State Final Team Standings

                     1 Franklin Park East Leyden    129.5

2 Joliet West                               67

3 Oak Lawn Richards                   64

4 Midlothian Bremen                    52.5

5 Orland Park Sandburg               47

Individual Placers

                    Randy Conrad—STATE CHAMPION at 126!!!

                    Dave Krist—STATE CHAMPION at 132!!!

                    Jim Farina—STATE CHAMPION at 138!!!

                    Mike “Andy” Garrett—3rd at 167

                    Kurt Bankson—STATE CHAMPION AT HEAVYWEIGHT!!!

1978-79 18-1 District Champions                    Coach Chuck Farina

                     Individual State Placer

                      Jim Farina—STATE CHAMPION AT 145!!!

1979-80 19-2 District Champions                    Coach Chuck Farina

1980-81 15-5 Last season as East Leyden        Coach Chuck Farina

Coach Farina went on to win a total of 644 duals, 364 of them at East Leyden (with 33 losses and four ties). His win-loss percentage was an outstanding 91.27% in the 23 years that the school had its own wrestling program!!!

In addition, the 592 victories he gained at Leyden and East Leyden between 1954-90 are the most by a coach at one school in Illinois. He was inducted into the National Federation of State High School Association’s Hall of Fame in 1987.



After a slow start, the Eagles took off and soared under coach Lou Granzin, then later with Norm Goodman. East Leyden won five regionals, two sectionals, and had an impressive 104-4 record in four seasons, three of them with all-stater Glen Grunwald. East Leyden won 108 regular season contests in a row at one point and 71 consecutive conference games.

1958-59     5-18                                       Coach Lou Granzin

1959-60   20-  3                                       Coach Lou Granzin

1960-61   16-  6                                       Coach Lou Granzin

1961-62   13-  9                                       Coach Norm Goodman

1962-63   16-  9                                       Coach Norm Goodman

1963-64   19-  6                                       Coach Norm Goodman

1964-65   21-  6    Sweet 16 Finalists!!    Coach Norm Goodman

                           Regional Champs

                           Beat Elmwood Park 72-64

                           Hinsdale Central Sectional Champs

                           Beat Glenbard East 62-49

Beat Batavia 77-74 (O/T)

                           Aurora East Supersectional

                           Lost to Harvey Thornton 64-57

Harvey Thornton would place 4th in tourney.

East Leyden Elite 8 Team of 1964-65
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IHSA 1964-65 State Championship Program

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East Leyden HS 1964-65 Action Photo
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IHSA 1964-65 State Championship Program Cover
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1965-66   23-  2                                       Coach Norm Goodman

1966-67   21-  5    Regional Champs       Coach Norm Goodman

                                   Proviao West Regional

                          Beat Holy Cross 77-54

Beat West Leyden 64-63

Beat Proviso East 76-70 (O/T)

Hinsdale Sectional

Lost to York 81-56

York lost in Elite 8 game.

1967-68     9-12                                       Coach Norm Goodman

1968-69   14-  8                                       Coach Norm Goodman

1969-70   16-  6                                       Coach Norm Goodman

1970-71   16-  8                                       Coach Norm Goodman

1971-72   18-  4                                       Coach Norm Goodman

1972-73   20-  3                                       Coach Norm Goodman

1973-74   21-  4                                       Coach Norm Goodman

1974-75   28-  1   AA Sweet 16 Finalists!!    Coach Norm Goodman

                          Regional Champs

                          Elgin Sectional Champs

                          Beat St. Charles 75-52

Beat Elgin Larkin 67-54

Aurora East Supersectional

                                   Lost to Maywood Proviso East 72-60

Proviso East lost in Elite 8 round.

1975-76   25-  1                                       Coach Norm Goodman

1976-77   24-  1                                       Coach Norm Goodman

1977-78   27-  1   AA Regional Champs  Coach Norm Goodman

                          Hinsdale Sectional

                          Beat Fenwick 68-64

                          Lost to Westchester St. Joseph 73-67

St. Joseph lost in title game of tourney.

1978-79   22-  4                                       Coach Norm Goodman

1979-80   17-11   AA Regional Champs   Coach Norm Goodman

                          Hinsdale Sectional

Lost to Lyons Township HS 68-50

Lyons lost Sectional title game.


1980-81   12-13   Final season                  Coach Norm Goodman

More about Glen Grunwald: The 6-9 center was all-state all four years at ELHS (which makes him the only player to have achieved this mark), and helped him earn a scholarship to Indiana University, where he later captained the 1981 NCAA Champions to a title over North Carolina for coach Bob Knight’s Hoosiers. Grunwald scored 2,355 points in his East Leyden career, and later went on to become general manager of the Toronto Raptors of the NBA, and now serves as an assistant general manager for the New York Knicks.


The Eagles made a name for themselves during the 1970’s by winning the state title in what was the largest IHSA football class at that time (5A) under coach Jack Leese in 1977. They also qualified for the 5A playoffs on two other occasions during the same decade.

1974 RNA   IHSA Class 5A Playoff Qualifier                Coach Jack Leese

                    Beat Schaumburg 14-8 in first round

Lost 13-0 to Northbrook Glenbrook North in quarterfinals

(Glenbrook North eventual state champs)

1977 13–0   IHSA CLASS 5A STATE CHAMPIONS!       Coach Jack Leese

                    Edged Glen Ellyn Glenbard West 8-7 in first round

                    Defeated Elgin HS 26-6 in quarterfinals

                    Beat East St. Louis Senior 36-13 in semifinals

                    Shutout Deerfield 8-0 in title game

1978   3–6                                                                    Coach Len Janik


1979   6–4   IHSA Class 5A Playoff Qualifier                Coach Len Janik

Lost to Elgin Larkin in first round 15-8

1980   5–4   Last season as E. Leyden                           Coach Len Janik

Notable alumnus: Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan graduated from East Leyden HS in 1970. He was a quarterback for the Eagles during the late ’60’s and attended Eastern Illinois University before an injury ended his career. From there, he became an assistant coach and worked his way up to the head coaching spot with the former Los Angeles (now Oakland) Raiders before taking over at Denver and guiding them to back-to-back Super Bowl victories in 1998-99 .


Starting out in the first school year when both East & West Leyden opened, the Eagles had a strong boys’ gymnastics squad. ELHS went to the state finals for three consecutive years and came away with a top five finish each time, not to mention that that the school also three individuals come home with medals for taking a top-five finish in their events. The head coaches’ name is unknown for these teams.

1958-59     5th in State                     coach unknown

                 State Final Team Standings (top 5 schools)

1 Arlington Heights Arlington      111.5

2 Elmhurst York                         97

3 Maywood Proviso East             94.5

4 Winnetka New Trier                  24

5 Franklin Park East Leyden     20

                Individual Placer

                 Jim LaBianco—2nd in tumbling

1959-60    5th in State                     coach unknown

                State Final Team Standings (top 5 schools)

                  1 Arlington Heights Arlington    102.5

2 Maywood Proviso East           97

3 Elmhurst York                       52

4 Villa Park Willowbrook           35.5

                  5 Franklin Park East Leyden  33

 Individual Placer

                 Dave Bertram—2nd in rings

1960-61    4th in State                    coach unknown

                 State Final Team Standings (top 5 schools)

                  1 Elmhurst York                      75.5

2 Maywood Proviso East          75

3 Arlington Heights Arlington    47.5

                  4 Franklin Park East Leyden 32.5

                  5 Villa Park Willowbrook          31

Individual Placer

                  Dave Bertram—3rd in rings

1977-78     Individual State Finalist

                  Mark Gunnells—5tth in floor exercise


During the 1970’s, football and basketball weren’t the only boys’ sports doing well. The golfers took the links and represented East Leyden well, sending an individual to the finals three straight years, and also picking up a tenth place finish as a team along with two district titles. Here’s a look at those teams:

1975-76  District Champions                 coach unknown

State Individual Finalist

Mark Esposito—tied for 6th with 158 (13 strokes behind)

1976-77  District Champions                 coach unknown

              State Qualifiers

               State Individual Finalist

                Roy Biancalana—tied for 10th with 158 (six strokes back)

1977-78   10th in State                         coach unknown

                State Final Team Standings

1 Winnetka New Trier East        616

9 Northfield New Trier West       639

10 Franklin Park East Leyden   645

              State Individual Placer

                Roy Biancalana—12tth place at 153 (seven strokes back) 


In its final year of having its own softball program, East Leyden rolled to the state AA finals to give its fans a season to remember before losing in the quarterfinals under coach Pat Owen.

1981  19-8  Elite Eight Finalists           Coach Pat Owen

                  Regional Champions

                   Sectional Champions

Lost to Herrin in quarterfinals, 8-0


In keeping up with Title IX reforms in Illinois high schools in the 1970’s, East Leyden also offered track to its female athletes. A pair of Lady Eagle track stars came home from the state finals with medals to show their top-four or better finishes in Charleston on three occasions, as listed below.

1973       Anne Danhoff             3rd in 80-yd hurdles

1979AA  Diane Doles                4th in high jump

1980AA  Diane Doles                3rd in high jump


Just like the girls, the Eagles’ boys’ thinclad team also produced a couple of top five finishes at the state meet. More information about this program would be greatly appreciated.

1959-60      Individual Finalist

                  Harold Palishen–3rd in pole vault

1974-75AA­ Individual Finalist

                  Ken Gatz–5th in 100yd dash


We do know that East Leyden’s girls could also hoop it up as well as the boys’ team. In the school’s final year of offering athletics as ELHS, they were regional champions. We are hopeful that an alumnus may know more about this sport and can offer more information, such as win-loss records and names of head coaches.

1980-81AA   Regional Champions           coach unknown


The Eagles were represented at the state meet at least once as William Elder came home with a medal for his efforts in the 200 Individual Medley event.

1960-61  Individual Finalist

               William Elder–6th in 200 IM


–Tom Dore–All-State & All-American basketball player with Glen Grunwald and later a broadcaster for the Chicago Bulls;

–Ned Colletti–currently general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has also served in the front office with both the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs;

–Brenda Barnes—CEO of Sara Lee Foods…also was CEO for PepsiCo, becoming the first female to head that company; and,

–Jonathon Cain–keyboard player and songwriter for the rock groups The Babys and Journey. Wrote the song “Faithfully” for Journey, which became a big hit about life on the road for a rock band while touring the country.


The alumni of East Leyden High School remember their sports program very well. One alumni group has its own website and its own newletter. The newsletter and website are operated by members of the class of 1965. The website can be viewed at the web address of . A copy of the group’s March of 2013 newsletter is available below.

East Leyden Class of 1965 Newsletter
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then please let us know. As you can tell, there are plenty of gaps to fill in, and there can be more details about more than just sports at East Leyden High School, such as activities, alumni, and more. Please contact us at or thru the USPS at the following address.

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL  60631

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