Taking a look back

  • Written by Ken Karrson






Taking a look back

Choosing the best can sometimes be interesting


By Jeff Vorva

Reporter Editor

Since the Reporter and Regional News merged their sports sections in 1988, 28 boys' basketball Player of the Year selections have been made.

With Richards’ Jaylan Catledge filling that role in 2014-15, something new has occurred as he is the first sophomore among the honorees. After compiling the long list of area individuals who’ve been chosen as either top player or coach for a season -- beginning in 1994 that also included girls’ teams -- a few interesting tidbits were unearthed.

SUBHEAD: Super Sarah

Sandburg’s Sarah Kustok was the first sophomore Player of the Year and remains the only athlete of either sex to be recognized three times. Her brother Zak, a former quarterback with the Eagles and at Northwestern University, was tabbed as the football Player of the Year once during the mid-1990s.

Kustok, who went on to play four years of basketball at DePaul University, entered the broadcasting field after graduating college. She was a sports television reporter in Chicago and is currently on the YES Network in New York. Kustok recently got a chance to do color commentary as a member of the announcing team at a Brooklyn Nets-Philadelphia 76ers game.

SUBHEAD: Double-winners

Sandburg’s Dave Rettker (1989-90), Shepard’s Steve Payne (1990-91), Brother Rice’s Jim Sexton (1993-94) and Marist’s Nick Valla (2009-10) were picked as either Player of the Year or co-Player of the Year in back-to-back campaigns. For good measure Valla also achieved all-area status in football as a receiver.

While they couldn’t equal Kustok’s trifecta, Mother McAuley’s Anne McDonald (1994-95) and Stagg’s Heather King (2003-04) did manage to repeat as girls’ Player of the Year.

SUBHEAD: Wade-ing in success

The player who enjoyed the greatest hoops success beyond high school was 2000 winner Dwyane Wade of Richards, who played a couple of years at Marquette University before beginning a lengthy NBA career with the Miami Heat that continues today. The Heat have won three world championships since Wade’s arrival (2006, 2012, 2013) and reached the NBA Finals five times.

SUBHEAD: Top player, top coach

The only person to gain both Player of the Year and Coach of the Year status is current Marist skipper Gene Nolan, who collected his third coaching award this season. He was also named the top basketball boss in 2012 and 2004.

Twelve years prior to that initial Coach of the Year designation, Nolan was tabbed as Player of the Year following his junior campaign at Marist.

SUBHEAD: He can coach anybody

Evergreen Park’s Bruce Scaduto has proved to be an equal-opportunity hoops leader. While heading up the Mustangs boys’ squad Scaduto was chosen as Coach of the Year in 2009. Four years later he received the same honor, this time after guiding Evergreen’s girls to a regional title. The female Mustangs have claimed two more regional championships since then.

SUBHEAD: Three wise men

The 1988-89 season saw not one, not two but three men share Coach of the Year honors: Richards’ Jerry Tokars, Sandburg’s Bill Reynolds and Marist’s Ken Styler. Tokars was in his first year with the Bulldogs after coaching more than two decades at De La Salle Institute.

SUBHEAD: Mondo Mundo

Rick Mundo became the first three-time Coach of the Year on the girls’ side as he was recognized in 2000, 2001 and 2002 while guiding Mother McAuley. He also coached the Macs softball team and later returned to the court as the girls’ basketball coach at Shepard.

Not long after Mundo’s three-peat came one by Sandburg’s Christine Bochnak, who was named the area’s top girls’ coach in 2004, 2005 and 2006. On the boys’ side Reynolds and Shepard’s Kurt Enzminger were a part of six straight Coach of the Year awards between them.

Besides his one-third slice in 1989, Reynolds also shared the honor with Tokars in 1988 before winning it outright in 1990. Enzminger also went solo in 1991 and then settled for being co-Coach of the Year with Sandburg’s Randy Voels and Evergreen Park’s Tom O’Malley in 1992 and ’93, respectively.

Back-to-back winners from the coaching ranks include Stagg’s Al Biancalana (1996-97), Richards’ Jack Fitzgerald (1998-99), Shepard’s Tony Chiuccariello (2001-02), Richards’ John Chappetto (2007-08) and Stagg’s John Daniels (2013-14). Chappetto is the only coach to have won a state championship.

McAuley’s Karen Ade was girls’ Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2009.

SUBHEAD: Still waiting

Queen of Peace has not had either a player or coach snare the top award and Chicago Christian’s girls team has been similarly blanked. Evergreen Park is absent a Player of the Year for both its boys and girls teams.

Former St. Laurence coach Tom Pallardy was feted in 2003, but no Vikings athlete has yet been chosen as Player of the Year.

GRAPHIC HEADLINE: Blast from the past



1988 -- Ray Thompson (Argo)

1989 -- Dave Rettker (Sandburg) and Cleveland Anderson (Richards)

1990 -- Steve Payne (Shepard) and Dave Rettker (Sandburg)

1991 -- Steve Payne (Shepard)

1992 -- Gene Nolan (Marist)                                

1993 -- Jim Sexton (Brother Rice)

1994 -- Jim Sexton (Brother Rice)

1995 -- John Economous (Shepard)

1996 -- Chad Harris (Chicago Christian)

1997 -- Wayne Plowman (Marist)

1998 -- Demetrius McDaniel (Richards)

1999 -- Joe Scott (Stagg)

2000 -- Dwayne Wade (Richards)

2001 -- Cory Cummens (Sandburg)

2002 -- Rick Harrigan (Brother Rice)

2003 -- Don Hackstock (Oak Lawn)

2004 -- Dave Telander (Brother Rice)

2005 -- Ross Stuursma (Chicago Christian)

2006 -- Cordelro Yelder (Richards)

2007 -- Jeff Miller (Stagg)

2008 -- Joel Kamp (Chicago Christian)

2009 -- Nick Valla (Marist)

2010 -- Nick Valla (Marist)

2011 -- Darius Draper (Stagg)

2012 -- Michael Kamp (Chicago Christian)

2013 -- Alex Majewski (Brother Rice)

2014 -- Max Strus (Stagg)

2015 -- Jaylan Catledge (Richards)


1988 -- Jerry Tokars (Richards) and Bill Reynolds (Sandburg)

1989 -- Jerry Tokars (Richards), Bill Reynolds (Sandburg) and Ken Styler (Marist)

1990 -- Bill Reynolds (Sandburg)

1991 -- Kurt Enzminger (Shepard)

1992 -- Kurt Enzminger (Shepard) and Randy Voels (Sandburg)

1993 -- Kurt Enzminger (Shepard) and Tom O’Malley (Evergreen Park)

1994 -- Pat Richardson (Brother Rice)

1995 -- Jack Fitzgerald (Richards) and Kurt Enzminger (Shepard)

1996 -- Al Biancalana (Stagg) and Ken Styler (Richards)

1997 -- Al Biancalana (Stagg)

1998 -- Jack Fitzgerald (Richards)

1999 -- Jack Fitzgerald (Richards)

2000 -- Pat Richardson (Brother Rice)

2001 -- Tony Chiuccariello (Shepard)

2002 -- Tony Chiuccariello (Shepard)

2003 -- Tom Pallardy (St. Laurence)

2004 -- Gene Nolan (Marist)

2005 -- John Daniels (Stagg)

2006 -- Ross Douma (Chicago Christian)

2007 -- John Chappetto (Richards)

2008 -- John Chappetto (Richards)

2009 -- Bruce Scaduto (Evergreen Park)

2010 -- Scott Atkins (Oak Lawn)

2011 -- Kevin Pittman (Chicago Christian)

2012 -- Gene Nolan (Marist)

2013 -- John Daniels (Stagg)

2014 -- John Daniels (Stagg)

2015 -- Gene Nolan (Marist)


1994 -- Anne McDonald (Mother McAuley)

1995 -- Anne McDonald (Mother McAuley)

1996 -- Ann Mullins (Sandburg)

1997 -- Katie Schumacher (Mother McAuley)

1998 -- Sarah Kustok (Sandburg)

1999 -- Sarah Kustok (Sandburg)

2000 -- Sarah Kustok (Sandburg)

2001 -- Emily Heikes (Stagg)

2002 -- Tina Hill (Richards)

2003 -- Heather King (Stagg)

2004 -- Heather King (Stagg)

2005 -- Erin Cattell (Sandburg)

2006 -- Maureen Downs (Marist)

2007 -- Kelsey James (Marist)

2008 -- Maureen Mulchrone (Mother McAuley)

2009 -- Haley Stercic (Marist)

2010 -- Jessica Contant (Stagg)

2011 -- None named

2012 -- None named

2013 -- JaTuan Rouse (Marist)

2014 -- LaTondra Brooks (Oak Lawn)

2015 -- Brianna Markusic (Oak Lawn)


1994 -- Gary Bonk (Sandburg)

1995 -- Barb Edwards (Mother McAuley) and Missy Mason (Stagg)

1996 -- Gary Bonk (Sandburg) and Tom Rekruciak (Richards)

1997 -- Barb Edwards (Mother McAuley)

1998 -- Gary Bonk (Sandburg)

1999 -- Brandy Zion (Evergreen Park)

2000 -- Rick Mundo (Mother McAuley)

2001 -- Rick Mundo (Mother McAuley)

2002 -- Rick Mundo (Mother McAuley)

2003 -- Janet Haubenreiser (Oak Lawn)

2004 -- Christine Bochnak (Sandburg)

2005 -- Christine Bochnak (Sandburg)

2006 -- Christine Bochnak (Sandburg)

2007 -- Mary Pat Connolly (Marist)

2008 -- Karen Ade (Mother McAuley)

2009 -- Karen Ade (Mother McAuley)

2010 -- Bill Turner (Stagg)

2011 -- None named

2012 -- Bill Turner (Stagg)

2013 -- Bruce Scaduto (Evergreen Park)

2014 -- Janet Meyers (nee Haubenreiser) (Oak Lawn)

2015 -- Chris Hellrung