Published on Monday, 20 May 2013 16:16
This year, there will be as many as 18 new entries into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame when it holds its 17th annual ceremony later this year. Among the inductees will be a pair of local media stars: Chicago Blackhawks television announcer Eddie Olczyk, along with Chicago radio and television broadcasting legend Chet Coppock.
The Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame (CLSHF) pays tribute to the sports legends who are from the Chicago area or whose sports careers achieved greatness in Chicago. To date, over 475 individuals have been inducted to this Hall of Fame
When the CLSHF humbly began in 1979, it was housed in a trailer at Soldier Field. From 1988-1991, the HOF displays were located at Mike Ditka's downtown restaurant. After being nowhere for a while, the CLSHF reopened at the Maryville Academy in Des Plaines in 1996. In 2008, the sports displays moved to the CLSHF's current home, located inside Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney/Cicero.
On Wednesday, September 18th, the 17th Annual CLWSHF Induction Awards Dinner will be held. It will take place at the Gold Cup Dining Room, located within Hawthorne Race Course (3501 S. Laramie, Cicero), with the doors opening at 5:30pm. The host of the event will be WFLD-TV's former sports anchor and current morning show host Corey McPherrin.
Included in the Class of 2013 inductees is sports media legend Chet Coppock. He will be awarded the Jack Brickhouse Lifetime Achievement Media Award.
Coppock has been a sports broadcasting fixture on the Chicagoland media scene since he was just 17 years old in 1966, announcing basketball and football games on Winnetka's New Trier High School radio station, WNTH-FM. He began his professional career right out of graduation from Columbia College Chicago in 1970, producing the Milwaukee Bucks' radio network programming. Although he did spend a few years working in Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and New York, Coppock has spent the bulk of his 40+ year career working in the Chicago market. Among the great many outlets he has worked locally include: WSNS-TV, WFLD-TV, WMAQ-TV, SportsChannel, Fox Sports Net Chicago, WMAQ-AM, WLUP-AM, Sporting News Radio, WMVP-AM, and WLS-AM.
While at WMAQ-AM, he began the sports talk show "Coppock on Sports," becoming one of the first sports talks shows in the country and in Chicago. Chet Coppock has been nicknamed "The Godfather of Sports Talk Radio" for his pioneering sports-themed radio talk shows, which have now become commonplace all over the radio dial.
He has also been an author, writing a column for the Chicago Sun-Times,blogging for the Chicago Tribune's ChicagoNow website, and publishing a book, "Fat Guys Shouldn't be Dancin' at Halftime
Although he does not currently have a full-time job, Coppock keeps extremely busy working numerous part-time jobs, including hosting the pre- and post-game shows for Notre Dame Football on WLS-AM, hosting the Heritage Series
videos for the Chicago Blackhawks, providing "Coppock on Sports" podcasts
, delivering video commentaries for NoozeBox.com
, hosting live events around town, and much more.
Among the numerous awards and honors he has previously received include: a UPI Award for Best Sports in Illinois Broadcasting for his WMAQ-AM radio show (1981), a Chicago Emmy Award (1992), and a Peter Lisagor Award for Journalistic Excellence (1999).
a very young Chet Coppock,
and "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks
His latest honor will be receiving the CLSHF's Jack Brickhouse Award. This is a double honor for Coppock. In addition to saluting Chet Coppock for nearly 50 years of sports media excellence, the award is named after one of the greatest sportscasters of all time, Jack Brickhouse, who happens to be a lifelong friend of the Coppock family. Chet Coppock's father and Brickhouse were great friends. Chet Coppock and Brickhouse also formed an extremely close bond that lasted until the Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster passed away in 1998.
In a recent interview
with American Sportscasters Online, Coppock said of this new honor named after his friend: "There is no broadcaster I've ever admired as much as Jack. His versatility was boundless... baseball, football, basketball, talk shows, political conventions. boxing, professional wrestling, big bands and Shakespearian Theater. To be mentioned in the same phrase with 'Brick' is truly an honor. Jack taught me at an early age that Verne Gagne vs. Hans Schmidt could be every bit as enjoyable as Casey and the Yanks vs. Al Lopez and the White Sox. His trademark 'Hey-Hey' is still the essence of Chicago sports."
Coppock expands on that even more today, telling CRM: "Jack Brickhouse is the greatest announcer in Chicago history. His versatility was unmatched. 'Brick' was also a family friend and the godfather of my daughter, Lyndsey. To receive an honor that carries Jack's name is a thrill that actually - this is unheard of - leaves me speechless. It is beyond humbling."
Another Chicago media star being honored with a Hall of Fame induction is Chicago Blackhawks announcer Eddie Olczyk. A graduate of Chicago's Brother Rice High School, "Eddie O" went on to become an U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame player, NHL coach, and NHL broadcaster. As a player, Olczyk played for six NHL teams, including his hometown Chicago Blackhawks, who picked him in the first round of the 1984 draft. Olczyk began, and eventually ended, his NHL career with the Blackhawks. For a short time, he also played with the Chicago Wolves. Olczyk is still with the Blackhawks, only now as the hugely popular color analyst, working alongside Pat Foley calling the local television broadcasts. He also works nationally for NBC Sports, calling games for the "NHL on NBC."
In addition to Chet Coppock and Eddie Olczyk, others being honored by CLSHF this year include: Chicago high school/college basketball standouts Mark Aguirre and Antoine Walker, college basketball coach Rick Pitino (Ray Meyer College Coach of the Year Award), NFL quarterback great Donovan McNabb, former NFL halfback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lattner (George Connor Lifetime Achievement Award), speedy former NFL receiver Don Beebe, former NFL defensive end Renaldo Wynn, former NFL linebacker turned radio broadcaster Pete Bercich, NFL assistant coach Jim Johnson (posthumous), Chicago's former Leo High School Head Football Coach and Principal Bob Foster (Humanitarian Award), MLB manager Tony LaRussa*, former MLB player/manager/broadcaster Frank Quilici, former MLB pitcher Tommy John, former Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler Kevin Bracken, North Central College head men's cross country coach and associate head track and field coach Al Carius, and the entire 1963 Loyola Ramblers men's basketball team, recognizing the 50th Anniversary of their NCAA Final Four Championship.
(*Note: Tony LaRussa's induction into the Hall of Fame is dependent upon his availability next September. If unavailable, he may not be inducted this year.)
Tickets to attend the 17th Annual CLSHF Induction Awards Dinner are $125 each. Those interested in purchasing tickets can download more information at this link HERE
. As the CLSHF is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the ticket cost can be used as a tax deduction for the purchaser. A portion of the proceeds that evening will go toward scholarships for the underprivileged, as well as the organization Standing Tall
, a school that helps children with neuromotor disorders.