Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook: Court Marshall: SXU names hoops court after Oak Lawn’s Hallberg

  • Written by Jeff Vorva


jeff column  Bob Hallberg gave his own eulogy last week.
  The Oak Lawn resident and legendary basketball coach was honored by St. Xavier University on Nov. 13 when the school dedicated the court at the Shannon Center in his name before his Cougars women’s team went out and beat Trinity International University 87-46.
  “This is a very memorable occasion for me,” Hallberg told the crowd after the game. “It’s a fantastic night for me and my family. And what makes it so memorable for me is that I always thought when they name a court after you, you would have to be dead. But I am still around here to enjoy it.”

  He then joked that he would give his own PAGE-3-2-col-HallbergCoach Bob Hallberg addresses the crowd last Wednesday, Nov. 13, the night St. Xavier University named the basketball court in the Shannon Center in his honor. Photo by Jeff Vorva.eulogy and proceeded to take the several hundred fans who stayed after the game down memory lane.
  The guy opened this season with 905 wins on the high school and college level and that’s special itself. But what is really cool is that every one of those 905 wins, coupled with 390 losses came while coaching schools in Chicago.
  He is truly a stay-at-home coach.
  He started his career at Kennedy High School in 1966 and since then he started up the men’s program at St. Xavier in 1971 and added stops at Chicago State University and the University of Illinois-Chicago before coming back to SXU where he started up the women’s team in 1999 and has remained there ever since.
  Hallberg was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame last year, which is a huge honor, but he said that the Nov. 13 dedication “tops them all.”
  He was gracious and thanked a bunch of people but he was also able to make a few more funnies about what people in the future will think when they see his name on the court.
  “People will ask ‘who is Bob Hallberg?’ ’’ Hallberg said. “And someone will answer that question like they knew me and say ‘I know who that guy was. When Sister Catherine McAuley came over in 1843 to start the Sisters of Mercy, Bob was the captain of the ship.’’
  He may have not captained that particular ship but has captained some winning teams and mentored thousands of athletes over the years. One of his early hires as an athletic director was of baseball coach John Boles in 1973. Since then, Boles has had a long career, including stints of managing the Florida Marlins in 1996 and 1999-2001. Boles was one of several people from Hallberg’s past to attend the event.
  Hallberg and his wife, Linda, have three sons — Bob, Bill and Brian. They have eight grandchildren — Nathan, Grace, Ben, Sofia, Gavin, Evan, Jason and Jake.

  Hallberg turns 70 in February and still has a few more years of coaching ahead of him if he wants to reach that 1,000-victory milestone. Last year he told me he didn’t feel his age but he will know when to retire — “The day I can walk in that locker room and not be upset anymore after a loss — that’s the time I retire.”
Hall of Fame writing?
  I love music and good lyrical writing but I’ve often said that writing lyrics is overrated because most of these people have months and years to come up with a clever turn of the phrase. Not like us newspaper hacks, who have days and sometimes just hours and minutes to be creative.

  That said…
  There are some brilliant and unforgettable lyricsout there. Here is a six-pack of some of my favorite rock lyrics:
  • “With these vulgar fractions of the terrible clef. I wish you luck with a capital ‘F.’ ’’ Elvis Costello from the song “Love Went Mad.”
  • “And then the lightning streaks across the room. You smell like something fresh from the tomb.” Richard Thompson from his tune “I Can’t Wake Up To Save My Life.”
  • “She said that she was working for the ABC News. It was as much of the alphabet as she knew how to use.” Costello again from his song “Brilliant Mistake.”
  • “That’s one more kid that will never go to school/never get to fall in love/never get to be cool,” Neil Young in his tune “Rockin’ in the Free World.’’
  • “I wish I was in Tijuana, eating barbequed iguana,” Stan Ridgway and Marc Moreland from Wall of Voodoo’s “Mexican Radio.”
  • “Just get me to the airport/put me on a plane/hurry, hurry, hurry/before I go insane/I can’t control my fingers/I can’t control my brain.’’ Joey Ramone in the Ramones tune “I Wanna Be Sedated.”
  Great stuff, to be sure. But again, they had a long time to come up with that brilliance.
  That said…
  Harry Wayne Casey, also known as KC from KC and the Sunshine Band, was nominated for the 2014 songwriter’s Hall of Fame.
  You mean a guy who can write “Do a little dance/make a little love/get down tonight” and “I wanna be your/your rubber ball’’ is up for Hall of Fame status? Man, did I get the wrong writing business.