The Purple and Gold gave their followers some thrills during the fall, including three outstanding seasons in the 1920’s, and eventually it carried over to Joliet Catholic after the change in name and operating order, where the school would win seven state titles and countless conference titles as an all-boys’ school. An excellent source of information about the history of the DeLaSalle and Catholic High football program is www.jolietcatholicfootball.com, which is operated by JCHS alumnus Mike Menozzi.
1920 First season Coach Earl Gilfillan
1924 5-1-1 Coach Barney Grogan
1926 5-0 Coach John Carroll
1927 5-2 Coach John Carroll
A good fan of the Glory Days website, Mark Jurenga, has provided the following information on the DLS football program from the book “Hilltopper Pride: The Triumph & Tradition of Joliet Catholic Football,” 2005. Mojo Media, Inc.
1920, first season opponents Chicago (St. Patrick), Chicago (St. Rita), Chicago???? (DeLaSalle), Lockport.
1921 coach Martin Gleason; First year in the Chicago Catholic League
1922 ” ” ”
1923 coach Fred Larson
1924 coach Barney Grogan 5-1-1 (First winning season).
1925 coach Francis Dailey
1926-1934 coach John Carroll 22-39-1 record
-1926 5-0 (First undefeated season). JCHS shut out each of their opponents that season.
-1928 first meeting between JCHS and Chicago (Mt. Carmel), JCHS 12-0 winner.
MEMORIES & FACTS
**From a well-informed local historian who wishes to remain anonymous:
“The Christian Brothers, who founded the boys’ Catholic high school in Joliet in 1918 as De La Salle High School, are an Order of lay, teaching Brothers only; they have no priests in their ranks. They must always bring in a local priest when they want a Mass or the Sacraments performed in their schools and monasteries.
By the 1930s, Joliet had developed into a city with an extremely high Catholic population and many priests were needed. In addition to parish work, chaplains were needed at the prisons, the jail, the police and fire departments, the two hospitals, the three Catholic high schools, teaching and chaplaincy work at what was then called the College of Saint Francis, the orphanage, the two Motherhouses of Sisters and their accompanying novitiates that were in Joliet at the time, and to help the overburdened parish priests in the city’s numerous Catholic churches that were growing larger by the year. The only monastery of priests in Joliet at that time was the Franciscan friary at Saint John’s, and although they filled most of the roles just listed, they too had their limits. The Cardinal needed to find more priests for Joliet.
As a result, he searched for an Order of priests who could take over the high school and in doing so, establish another monastery of priests in Joliet who could join forces with the Franciscans from Saint John’s in assisting in the priestly, sacramental needs of the churches and the other institutions throughout the city. Many of us remember Carmelites from Catholic High saying some of the early morning Masses and helping with the weekend Masses and Confessions at the various Joliet parishes in past years. The Carmelites also assumed responsibility at that time for the pastoring of the parishes of Saint Mary’s Irish (which became known thereafter as Saint Mary’s Carmelite), Mt. Carmel and Saint Bernard’s. The arrival of the Carmelites in Joliet has been a very great thing for the city in many ways.
Unfortunately, in his desperation to find adequate priests for Joliet and in his enthusiasm for this plan, the Cardinal was less than gracious in his treatment of the Christian Brothers, whom he “urged” to leave. The whole process constituted a betrayal of the Brothers after they had served Joliet so generously. The Carmelites were surely unaware of these circumstances or they probably would have resisted getting involved in a dynamic that placed a parallel religious Order at a disadvantage. What is noteworthy (and frankly, surprising) is how loyal and generous the Christian Brothers always remained to Joliet thereafter. While the new co-educational Providence High School eventually opened with a New Lenox address, it was originally planned to be Joliet’s new east side Catholic high school and the Christian Brothers assumed the responsibility for running that school for as long as they could. Also, the Christian Brothers sponsor neighboring Lewis University, which has been an invaluable ingredient in the greater-Joliet community for decades.”
FACTS ARE FUN TO READ ABOUT…..
but we’re also interested in stories about the history of Joliet DeLaSalle High School. We’re hopeful that a couple of alumni are still around to provide information about their school days at DLS, and we welcome it by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the USPS at:
Illinois High School Glory Days
6439 North Neva
Chicago, IL 60631