Goss: Minooka making plans for Athletic Hall of Fame
September 5, 2012 7:44PM
Members of Minooka's 2010 Class 3A state champion wrestling team admire their trophy. That was the first team state championship for the school. | File photo
Updated: October 7, 2012 7:07AM
Former Joliet Township wide receiver Paul Forsythe was impressed when he attended last spring’s annual JT Night of Champions.
Forsythe, the first-year head football coach at Minooka after several years on former coach Bert Kooi’s staff, began thinking, “Why not us?”
“Paul came back and said he didn’t see why we couldn’t do something like that here at Minooka,” said Kooi, president of the steering committee in charge of getting the Minooka Athletic Hall of Fame off the ground. If all goes as planned, the first class will be inducted in the spring.
The steering committee is composed mainly of former coaches, administrators and athletes at Minooka.
“When coach Forsythe came up with the idea, the first person we went to was Wayne Greenbeck,” Kooi said of the former athlete, teacher, coach and athletic director at the school. “He thought it was long overdue and helped recruit guys for our steering committee.”
Joining Kooi, an instructional leader in physical education, health and driver education at Minooka, and Greenbeck on the committee are former principal Ron Lehman, current athletic director Bob Tyrell, community member Dan Friant, current coach Ray Liberatore (the committee treasurer), former coach Norm Miller, former coach and teacher Rick Beeler and former counselor and coach Patricia Grawey-Beeler.
“We met a couple of times,” Kooi said. “We got Bob Tyrell’s blessing to approach other school districts to see what they had done with their halls of fame. We established our own bylaws that since have been approved by the school board.”
The steering committee believes it received valuable input from athletic directors Dave Stephens at Plainfield Central, Doug Ternik at Providence, Jim Schmidt at Plano and also from administrators at Quincy, Lemont and Wheaton Warrenville South.
“I attended the Providence Hall of Fame banquet a couple of years ago when my wife (Kaye) was inducted,” Kooi said. “That was a great night. They do so many things first-class at Providence.
“We’re hoping to do the same kinds of things at Minooka. We have had some tremendous athletes and teams who have experienced success on the playing field, and many have gone on to accomplish more great feats in college athletics and in their chosen professions. We feel it’s about time that we recognize their accomplishments and bring some of that history back to our current kids. That can’t help but add to the pride that comes with wearing the orange-and-black uniform.”
Kooi said the plan for Year 1 is to induct 10 athletes, two coaches and three teams, plus award two individuals awards of merit. The steering committee has invited and received confirmation from 11 other individuals to act as the selection committee.
To make the Minooka Hall of Fame a reality, however, funding is needed. Anyone interested in contributing can mail checks payable to MCHS Hall of Fame, 301 S. Wabena, Minooka, IL 60447. Or, you can visit www.mchs.net, click on the Web Store under Quick Links on the left side of the page, then click on MCHS Athletic Hall of Fame to make a donation.
For more information, contact Kooi at (815) 521-2338.
“We are shooting for the spring of 2013 to induct our first class,” Kooi said. “We hope to raise the money we need for this first year by the end of January.
“We have long-term ideas for funding this for years to come, pending school board approval. But we need initial funding to get it started.”
Cingrani gets call
Former Lincoln-Way Central left-handed pitcher Tony Cingrani was in a hurry to get to the big leagues, and by golly, he got there in a hurry.
The Cincinnati Reds announced they’ve promoted Cingrani, 23, from Double-A Pensacola as one of their September call-ups. Cingrani was a combined 10-4 with a 1.73 ERA in 26 games, including 25 starts, at A-Advanced Bakersfield and Pensacola this season. His ERA was second-lowest among minor leaguers who pitched at least 100 innings, and he also ranked among the leaders in strikeouts.
The thing is, Cingrani was a third-round pick of the Reds in 2011. Not many reach the majors this quickly, although a 15-strikeout performance earlier this season for Pensacola on a night when he had a no-hitter into the seventh inning helped bring attention his way.
“It’s my first full season. It’s been a little unbelievable,” Cingrani was quoted in a story on the Reds official website. “I’ve been working. I guess it’s paid off.”
Cingrani played at South Suburban for former University of St. Francis standout and Joliet resident Steve Ruzich before moving on to Rice University.
“When Tony got drafted out of Rice in the third round in 2011 he had an agent and was negotiating right away,” Ruzich said. “He said the faster he got that done and got started the faster he would get to the big leagues.
“Him making it doesn’t surprise me, but it is a shock it happened so fast.”
Incidentally, the Reds will visit the Cubs at Sept. 18 to 20 at Wrigley Field. The first two in the three-game series are night games.