The Circle of Champions, the Brother Rice athletic hall of fame, is welcoming its seventh class of dedicated coaches and athletes to this prestigious fraternity. Much anticipation surrounds this event after witnessing nearly 2,600 attendees honoring its first six classes. The Circle will have the induction ceremony on April 8, 2017, for the Class of 2017. Inaugural Class inductee Coach Pat Richardson commented about this event: “The Circle of Champions night was the best event I’ve ever attended at Brother Rice. Seeing alumni from five different decades reminisce and reconnect with one another was awesome… Seeing over 600 Crusader alumni, their families, and friends singing the Brother Rice Fight Song gave everyone chills and was a great way to end the evening.” Coach Bill Gleeson, Class of 2013 inductee, had this to say about the event: “A great event planned and executed by a dedicated and energetic committee, a first class operation start to finish. ‘Rice Pride’ was never better.”
The members of the class of 2016 include Dan Cleary ’74, John Duffy ’78, Mike Fazy ’05, Adam Gregoriou ’05, Scott Hayden ’05, Frank Layo ’95, Vince McAuliffe ’93, Bob McDonough ’73, Billy Mulcrone ’96, James Pembroke, Sr., Charles Richards ’67, Ed Rozell ’94, George Sefzik ’68, Brett Schaefer ’04, Mark Schmitz ’82, and the 1971 baseball team and the 1972 wrestling team.
Tickets for the event are now on sale and can be purchased online below or by contacting Susan Stanley at 773-429-4300 x307. Tickets are $95 per person or $875 per table, which seats 10 people. An adult only cocktail hour will begin at 6:00 P.M. in the north gymnasium with dinner set to start at 7:00 P.M. in the south gymnasium. Included in the cost are appetizers, four-hour top-shelf open bar, plated dinner, and dessert.
Please note that tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be available at the door.
Another way to support the event and honorees is through the souvenir ad book which will be distributed to the estimated 600 people who will be in attendance. Ads can also be purchased online below or by completing and mailing this form. The deadline for ad submissions is March 25, 2017.
The 2017 Class of the Circle of Champions, the Brother Rice Athletics Hall of Fame.
Dan Cleary ‘74 – Dan served as team captain for the football team, earning All-Catholic League recognition. Dan continued playing football at Northwestern University where he was a three-year starter and member of the All-Big Ten 2nd team.
John Duffy ‘78 – A 4-year letter winner in both cross country and track, John’s cross country race times over a 3-mile course still rank near the top of the fastest ever run by a BRHS student. John was scoring contributor on each of the 1976, 1977, and 1978 Catholic League championship teams. He continued running at the collegiate level on scholarship at Marquette University.
Mike Fazy ‘05 – Mike, a four-year member of the baseball program, was a three-time All-Catholic League selection. Mike led team in RBI’s with over 40 in each of the 2003, 2004, and 2005 seasons. In 2005, he was named The Reporter Newspaper Player of the Year and Team MVP.
Adam Gregoriou ‘05 – Adam played for fellow Circle of Champions inductee Coach Richardson in the basketball program, earning All-Catholic League recognition in 2005, as well as being named the Crusaders’ best defensive player in that same year. He finished his career as the all-time career leader in blocked shots, and he was a member of the 2005 Elite Eight team. Adam played basketball for three years at Saint Xavier University where he was a two-time All-Conference selection.
Scott Hayden ‘05 – Scott, a football standout, was a two-time All-Catholic League Blue Division selection and was named to the Chicago Sun-Times All-Area Team. He earned Chicago Catholic Blue Defensive Most Valuable Player and an All-State honoree in 2004. A member of the 2004 Prep Bowl championship team, Scott was named the team MVP for the Crusaders.
Frank Layo ‘95 – While at Brother Rice, Frank was a 4-year varsity letterman in both swimming and water polo, competing at state in both sports each year. Frank was recognized as an All American for swimming, an academic All-American, and won the Anthony R. Lawless Award Outstanding Athlete for Swimming from the Chicago Catholic League in 1995. Frank graduated fifth overall in his class prior to attending the U.S. Air Force Academy where he earned a degree in chemistry.
Vince McAuliffe ‘93 – Vinnie ran track and cross country for current member of the Circle of Champions, Coach Molenda. He was a member of 1991 state cross-country qualifying team that placed 16th, and also served as captain of 1993 Catholic League track champions. In 1992, Vinnie won the cross-country regional individual championship. After graduation, Vinnie set a DePaul University school record in 800 meters.
Bob McDonough ‘73 – Bob ran track and cross country all four of his years at Brother Rice, and, each year, those teams competed for Catholic League championships. And, for the better part of the past two decades, Bob has served as the “Voice of Crusader Sports” as the football program’s public address announcer for 21 years and the basketball program’s public address announcer for 19 years.
Bill Mulcrone ‘96 – In the mid-1990s, Bill was a four-year member of the swimming and water polo teams for the Crusaders. A multiple First-Team All-Catholic League honoree in water polo, Bill played on three state championship teams and was named the 1996 Illinois’ Most Valuable Player. He came back to serve as head water polo coach, amassing a record of 230 wins, 75 losses and 7 ties.
Jamie Pembroke, Sr. – Jamie coached the Crusader hockey team from 1997 until 2007 and was the club president from 2007 until 2014. He coached the 2001 skating Crusaders to a Catholic League championship, Kennedy Cup championship ,and a Final Four qualifier in the Illinois State Tournament. In 2001, Coach Pembroke also earned CCHL Coach of the Year in 2001 and was named the Tony Lawless winner for hockey in the CCL.
Charles Richards ‘67 – A two-sport athlete, Chuck played basketball and baseball in the Crusader programs all four years. He was All-Catholic League in baseball in 1966 and 1967, while playing on two Catholic League championship teams. He is a charter member of the Brother Rice Baseball Hall of Fame.
Ed Rozell ‘94 – Ed was a standout dual-sport athlete, participating in both track and football. In track, he won Catholic League championships in multiple events, earning him the Tony Lawless Award. He earned letters in football and track at the University of Iowa, where he was a Big Ten champion and a three-time All-American.
George Sefzik ‘68 – George, a four-year member of the swimming and water polo teams, netted Catholic League champion honors in two swimming events. In water polo, George was a key member of three city championship teams, and he received three All-American selections. He earned a scholarship to University of Nebraska for swimming where he set a pool record in the 1000 yards freestyle.
Brett Schaefer ‘04 – A two-sport standout, Brett earned All-Catholic League recognition for both sports. While playing for the UIC Flames, Brett was a two-time Horizon League All-Tournament selection and a Horizon League Championship Most Valuable Player.
Mark Schmitz ‘82 – A four-year member of the water polo team, Mark, as a goalie, played an instrumental role in the team’s winning four consecutive state championship titles. He earned a scholarship to Loyola University Chicago, where he helped the Ramblers finish in the top 7 NCAA Division I, all four years at Loyola. In 2016, Mark was inducted into the Circle as a member of the 1982 state champion water polo team.
1971 Baseball Team – Coached by the legendary George Sedlacek, a current member of the Circle of Champions, the 1971 baseball team consisted of four All-Catholic League players and finished the season as CCL Champions with a 26-4 record. This Crusader team could be spelled with a “K,” for it set a Brother Rice High School single-season record for strikeouts with 315. Some members of the team went on to play in college.
1972 Wrestling Team – Coached by 2016 Circle of Champions inductee Coach Dennis Moll, the 1972 wrestling team won the City of Chicago championship, the first and only city champion, and had an astounding 27 consecutive dual-meet victories, finishing the season undefeated. The team consisted of Catholic League champions and runner-up finishers. Of note, Jim Padden received the Lawless Award that year for the CCL, and several other grapplers went on to compete at the collegiate level.