Marist High School's Hall of Fame recognizes graduates who made a profound impact on Marist athletics. He or she must be at least seven years removed from high school graduation and during his or her time as a Marist athlete would have displayed exceptional talent and ability, incredible work ethic, dedication to the team, and exemplary leadership and sportsmanship.
PETE BILECKI '91
Peter Bilecki ‘91 got into golf before golf was “cool.” Since very few kids played golf in the 1980s, Peter said almost all of his early play was with his late dad George. They spent summer evenings at the driving range and many hours on the greens. “He was pushing me and I was pushing him,” Peter recalled. “He didn't like to lose, so our matches were intense and prepped me for competition.” Peter said he would not be a Marist Hall of Fame inductee without his dad's influence and all the sacrifices his parents made to support him.
Peter found success from the start with Marist golf. As a freshman, he won the ESCC freshman individual title and the team won the ESCC freshman/sophomore team title. During his sophomore and junior seasons, the varsity team won the ESCC title and Peter won the varsity individual title. Senior year, the varsity team won the ESCC title and Peter finished in third place. Peter garnered ESCC honors all four seasons and was all-conference first team in 1990.
As captain, he led the 1990 team to the conference championship. He was a regional and sectional medalist during his senior season, an IHSA state qualifier in 1990, and an IHSA summer state championship placer.
“When I think of Marist golf, I think of Coach Jerry Sullivan,” Peter said. “He had the perfect demeanor for a golf coach: He was calm, approachable, and funny.” Peter credits Coach Sullivan for creating a strong culture that helped build success. Additionally, Peter recalled the great teams and times they had together. Older teammates such as Jim Walsh, Phil Levoy, Ryan Kelly, and Bob Heniff were very supportive of Peter and classmate Jim Arvanetes ‘91. “We practiced together frequently, fed off each other, and became dominant,” Peter said.
While at Marist, Peter also played on the baseball team for four years and on the basketball team for one year.
Peter went on to attend and play for Northwestern University. He was a multi-year starter and a captain. He won the Ohio State Invitational, was a NCAA Tournament Qualifier, and earned All-Big10 honors in 1994. He set the single-season men’s golf record at Northwestern for most rounds with more than 60 played.
“Golf is fair, challenging, and unpredictable,” Peter said. “It's spending time with friends, being outdoors, and exploring new places. I love the mental challenge and how much you can learn about a playing partner after just a few holes. Golf has given me so much happiness and opportunity. It's introduced me to many of my closest friends, helped my career, and taken me places I never dreamed of…from playing in Big Ten Championships to the 150th Open at St. Andrews to becoming a Founding Member at Sand Valley, golf has and always will play a significant role in my life.”
Today, Peter lives in La Grange with his wife, Larissa, and their three children Ben, Elizabeth, and William. He recently celebrated twenty years with Deutsche Bank. While he no longer golfs competitively, Peter enjoys getting out on the greens with family and friends. He serves on La Grange Little League and Chicago Hawks Hockey Club boards, and co-created La Grange Tigers Baseball Club which had 13 teams across five ages in 2023. Peter is also a member of Northwestern N Club.
MAUREEN MULCHRONE GRIFFIN '08
For Maureen “MoMo” Mulchrone Griffin ‘08, basketball is all about family. She started playing the game against her older brothers and sister in their backyard as a young kid and joined her first team at Christ the King in first grade. She credits her late mom Judy Mulchrone for instilling a love of the game.”My mom was my first basketball coach and helped start the Marist program,” Maureen said. “Without her, I wouldn’t be getting inducted into the Hall of Fame, so this is for her and her dedication to this sport.”
Maureen was a four-year varsity player at Marist and helped lead the team to a 104-29 career record. Her time included advancing to the sectionals in her first three seasons and an appearance in the 2008 IHSA state tournament–a first for the program. Maureen recalls the super-sectional game that season against Edwardsville. With Marist trailing, Maureen admitted she was losing hope but teammate Aileen Gorman ‘08 said had words of inspiration for the team, and the RedHawks rallied to win 48-44 and punched their ticket to state.
Maureen racked up records during her days as a RedHawk, including fourth as an all-time career rebounder with 642, sixth in single-season scoring with 465 points during the 2006-07 season, seventh as leading high scorer with a career total of 1,259 points, and ninth in single-season scoring with 407 points during the 2007-08 season. But Maureen’s impact goes beyond the numbers. “MoMo’s stats and awards, although impressive, only tell part of her story,” explained retired Marist girls’ basketball coach Mary Pat Connolly. “She actually was a courageous and resilient young lady with a strong will to win with an over-achieving work ethic.“
For Maureen, it was all about the team and that is in part why she loves the sport. “I think the thing I love most about Marist basketball is the sense of pride that we had for our school and for each other,” she recalled. “Each trip down the court, whether it was offense or defense, took commitment from each team member, and that resulted in success for the whole team. We never wanted to let each other down and that sense of camaraderie is what made me love playing basketball.”
After Marist, Maureen went on to DePaul University. As a Blue Demon, she played in ten games as a freshman and more than 20 during each of the next three seasons. She led DePaul in scoring against Arkansas during the 2009-10 season, had a career-high 11-points versus Arkansas, and a career-best five rebounds at then-No. 19/18 Georgetown. DePaul made the NCAA tournament all four seasons and finished with a Sweet 16 appearance during her junior year. Maureen earned BIG EAST All-Academic honors all four years along with the University’s Shirley Becker Academic Award.
Maureen earned her Bachelor of Science degree and began teaching. She returned to school for a master’s degree in 2021 and recently received her Real Estate License. She teaches at Chicago High School for Agricultural Science in Mt. Greenwood where she is also the head girls’ basketball coach. “The advice I would give players today would be to be about the team, not the individual. Our team was successful because we all understood our roles and whether they were big roles or small roles, they were ALL important roles,” Maureen said. “We had a successful program because each member of the team put their individual desires last, and put the goal of a state title first. Many athletes have the goal of playing in college, the advice I have for them is to change that goal to win a state title. I bet the college coaches will come and I guarantee you will have a lot more fun accomplishing it.”
Maureen lives in Beverly with her husband John ‘03 and their kids Jude and Gwen. She and her family support Project Purple, an organization that helps fund research for pancreatic cancer which her mom battled until 2015.
DAN PIKO '10
Football is a family tradition for Hall of Fame Inductee Dan Piko ‘10. His dad and brother were his first coaches at St. Catherine of Alexandria and the Piko boys made their mark on Marist football.
“I Idolized my brothers growing up and dreamed of the day I would have my chance to follow in their footsteps,” Dan recalled. “I was fortunate to be the youngest of five boys, so I got a first-hand look at what it took to be a Marist athlete and football player. When my time came to put on the Marist No. 1 jersey, just like my brothers before me, I carried with me all the lessons they taught me and all I wanted was to make them proud.”
And that he did. Among Dan’s accolades, are back-to-back East Suburban Catholic Conference honors as a junior and senior, being named all-state and all-area during his senior year, and being voted captain for the 2009 season. He was named ESPN’s Prep Athlete of the Week during his senior season. In his senior year alone, he had more than 85 receptions, 1,300 yards, and 17 touchdowns at wide receiver. He had 66 tackles and five interceptions going both ways as a defensive back.
A favorite memory for Dan is the state semifinal against Glenbard North during his senior year. “We won on a last-second field goal,” he said. “I will never forget the feeling of walking off the field to what seemed like a sea of Marist fans. It took about an hour to get from the field to the locker room! It was one of the coolest experiences I had in football.” Among those fans were three of his older brothers–John ‘07, Joe ‘99, and Matt ‘96. They met mid-field to celebrate Marist’s first trip downstate since 1986.
Teammate Mike Skalitzky ‘11 commends not only Dan’s athletic ability but also his work ethic and passion. “Dan was a teammate that you never wanted to let down because of how much the team, winning, and Marist meant to him,” Mike said. “He had a natural aura around him that was contagious and elevated the entire team to a higher standard.”
Dan said being a captain was not overly demanding because of the caliber of players on the team. “Our team was filled with guys who gave everything they had every day,” Dan recalled. “There was never much that had to be said; we all just wanted to play as long as we possibly could.”
Dan was also a two-year varsity basketball player while at Marist.
After Marist, Dan went to Ashland University in Ohio. He was a four-year starter and two-year captain. His skill as wide receiver earned him All-Great Lakes Conference honors twice. In four seasons with the Eagles, he racked up 152 receptions for 2,088 yards and 15 touchdowns. As a freshman, he had a touchdown in the team’s four-overtime win against Indianapolis. In his sophomore season, Dan tied his career, single-game high for receptions when he had six receptions for 142 yards at Ferris State where he also returned a kick-off 43 yards for a score. In the 2013 season, he proved to be a versatile player, going 3-for-3 for 120 yards as a passer, running three times for seven yards, returning eight punts for 82 yards, and returning a kickoff for 22 yards. Dan credits former Marist head football coach Pat Dunne ‘98 and the Marist program for preparing him for college ball, noting that not all players are ready for the demands of the next level.
Along with his gratitude for his Marist coaches and teammates, Dan is thankful for the sacrifice of his parents Mary and Jim who he witnessed “working endlessly to send six children to Catholic schools and giving us the opportunity to succeed.”
Today, Dan works alongside his brothers at Marathon Sportswear in Midlothian, the company their dad started in 1979. He lives on the South Side of Chicago with his wife Colleen and their kids Danny and Maeve. He hopes to one day coach football.
CLAIRE SMALZER WOLFE '07
For Claire Smalzer Wolfe ‘07, volleyball provides the best of both worlds: physicality and finesse. “[Volleyball] is rewarding and unforgiving” she explained. “Physical prep can only get you so far. The remainder is controlling your emotions.” The first female volleyball player to be inducted into the Marist Hall of Fame, Claire started playing the sport in fifth grade and was hooked immediately.
Marist went coed in 2002, so the girls’ volleyball program was only in its second year of existence when Claire enrolled but it was quick to make a name for itself. Claire believes the Marist program was an anomaly. “Most new programs take years to develop,” she said. ”I think that quick success is attributed to the coaches, staff, players, and Marist Athletics Department overall for holding such a high bar. I still remember the intensity of tryouts as a freshman. I showed up and thought, ‘Wow, this is the real deal.’ Those high expectations remained during my four years and continue to be upheld to this day.”
As a RedHawk, Claire was a three-year varsity player and was an outside hitter and right-side hitter with a short stint at libero. Her senior stats include 151 kills, 224 digs, 27 blocks, 26 aces, and 21 assists, earning her all-conference honors. That season she tied the state record with 24 consecutive service points in a game. Claire recorded 95 digs, 67 kills, 18 blocks, and 14 aces during her junior year to earn all-area recognition. As a sophomore, she had 174 kills, 150 digs, 29 blocks, 22 aces, 18 assists, and all-conference honors. Claire helped lead her club team Celtic Force VBC to a national title as a sophomore and to a fifth-place finish as a junior.
Claire’s three years on varsity were incredible regular seasons that included three consecutive ESCC championships. “Our teams were stacked with D1 talent including Abby Nelson ‘06 (University of Illinois), Megan Eskew ‘07 (University of Iowa), Ellen Miller ‘07 (Western Illinois University), Elise Crnjak ‘06 (Western Illinois University), and Monica Lang ‘06 (Northern Illinois University), to name a few. “I loved being a player my teammates could count on when matches were tight because as [tennis legend] Billie Jean King says, ‘pressure is a privilege,’ Claire explained.
Natalie Holder, who was the founding coach of the Marist program, is not surprised Claire is a Hall of Fame inductee. “She was a consistent and well-rounded volleyball player who had so many weapons in her arsenal as an attacker, Holder said. “She was always team-oriented with a tremendous attitude and work ethic and her maturity was always beyond her peers both mentally and physically.”
She competed on the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) sand volleyball tour from 2014 to 2019, making two appearances in the Main Draw with the top sand pros in the country. This fall, she will coach her 8-year-old niece’s volleyball team. She encourages young players to play every chance they get and credits her dad’s wise words, “When you’re not working, the competition is.”
Today, Claire is a senior business development manager with Amazon. She and her husband Tommy, an All-American decathlete himself, live in San Antonio, Texas with their children, Patrick (4) and Olive “Ollie” (2).
Claire is thankful for her Marist coaches Natalie Holder, Alison Frasor, and Kelly Colangelo Dorn for the opportunity to represent Marist and for preparing her for the next level. She acknowledges President Larry Tucker’s ‘79 unwavering support of Marist athletics and commitment to enhancing the school and student experience. She also fondly recalls retired Marist teacher Randy Coe as the best game announcer and thanks Br. Rich Grenier, FMS for his “unrivaled school spirit, sense of humor, and the hall of fame nomination.”
NIC WEISHAR '14
“Football is the greatest game in the world,” said Hall of Fame inductee Nic Weishar ‘14. “It is the ultimate teacher of teamwork, trust, and accountability.”
In three varsity seasons, Nic wracked up impressive stats. During his senior season alone, he made 86 catches for 1,044 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also had 48 tackles, three sacks, three forced fumbles, and three interceptions on defense. Nic helped Marist to a 9-4 record and a 2013 Illinois Class 8A semifinal appearance. He had nine catches for 155 yards in Marist’s 55-14 win over Brother Rice in 2013, including touchdown grabs of 31, 27, and four yards. His senior season also featured 11 receptions for 170 yards and three touchdowns against Notre Dame (Niles). As a junior, he caught 89 passes for 1,100 yards and five touchdowns for a Marist team that went 8-2. He caught 77 passes for 1,160 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore with the team finishing 7-3. Nic is the all-time leading receiver in Illinois high school football history with 237 catches. His 3,050 career receiving yards rank eighth in Illinois history.
Among the many memorable games, Nic recalled the playoff game against top-ranked Bolingbrook in 2013. “We ran the same run play probably ten times in a row during one drive,” he said. “We didn't even have to pass because our game plan was so great and our offensive line and running backs dominated. It’s a game that I'll always remember because it was the epitome of grit and toughness and a total team effort.” Marist won 21-7.
Nic was a decorated athlete on the national level even as a high school player. He played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio during his senior year. He was named to MaxPreps Junior All-America first team in 2012 and was named to MaxPreps U.S. Air Force Sophomore All-America second team. Nic was the first-team tight end on Parade’s Prep All-America squad and was a first-team MaxPreps All-America selection. He was a first-team all-state tight end pick by the Chicago Tribune and a two-time Class 8A pick by Illinois High School Football Coaches Association. Nic was ranked as 212th player nationally by 247Sports and 274th by ESPN. He was a two-time East Suburban Catholic Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013 and was named to the Illinois Class 8A Academic All-State team by IHSFCA as both a junior and senior along with other accolades.
While at Marist, Nic was also a four-year varsity basketball player, including his sophomore season which was the program’s most historic playoff run.
His performance on the field garnered attention from programs across the country. In all, Nic received 21 offers from college programs. “It certainly seemed like a crazy process at the time, but as I look back now it was a lot of fun,” Nic recalled. “Coaches were coming in every day and I was able to hear about some of the best schools in the country. I was able to visit dozens of schools with my brother Andrew before he passed. Those were some of my best memories with him as he gave me his unbiased opinions.”
Nic ultimately chose to play for the revered program at the University of Notre Dame and considers it a privilege to have played for the Irish. “I got the chills every single time I was able to put on the gold helmet, slap the sign, and run out of that tunnel in front of the most passionate fans in college football,” he said. Nic was a four-year tight end. As a sophomore, he played in 12 games and started against Clemson and Stanford, registering his first catch career catch against Georgia Tech. He recorded an eight-yard reception against UMass and a five-yard grab against Navy. As a junior, he played all twelve games and started against Navy. As a senior, he played in all 13 games and started against Wake Forest. He registered nine catches for 52 yards and two touchdowns. During his graduate season, he had two touchdowns. While at Notre Dame he was named to the Wuerffel Trophy Watch List (2018, 2017), was selected to the All-State AFCA Good Works Team (2018), and received the Irish Around the Bend Award (2017).
Looking back on his high school days, Nic is thankful for his time at Marist. “It's where I met some of my lifelong best friends and the love of my life (Danielle Geraty Weishar ‘13),” Nic said. “It's where I learned how to handle adversity. It's where I learned how to be a man. Thank you to my family for their sacrifices, and thank you to all of the coaches, staff, teachers, classmates, and teammates who helped make it so special.”
Today Nic works in private equity at West Monroe Capital. He directs much of his time and energy to The Andrew Weishar Foundation (Weish4Ever), a non-profit that provides direct financial assistance to families with adolescents and young adults battling cancer. Weish4Ever started in 2013 after his brother Andrew passed following a battle with colorectal cancer. “The mission is simple,” Nic explained. “We raise as much money as we can and gift it to families in need.” He serves as a board member and member of the beneficiary committee.
1983 WRESTLING TEAM STATE CHAMPIONS
“Hustle beats muscle while a smart wrestler beats them all.” Those words close out the 1983 Marist wrestling team’s banquet program and define the hard work put into the program that ultimately captured the 1983 IHSA State Title–the first for the program and the second for the school. Marist was the first private school to win the Class AA state wrestling title.
It was an impressive program turnaround from a team that went 1-11 in 1978, and continually improved year after year. By the 1981-82 season, the team went 17-5 and Mike O’Brien ‘84 and Tony Evensen ‘83 placed third and fourth, respectively, at state–Marist’s first state place winners.
By the 1982-1983 season, the team and coaches knew just how successful they could be and they got to work. Ranked number two in the state during the preseason by the Chicago Tribune, Marist was unstoppable. They went 20-1 on the season. Their only loss was by two points. They were the undefeated ESCC champions and captured the regional title.
As the state tournament neared, the pressure mounted. “We knew we had a good chance to win if we stayed healthy,” recalled former Head Coach Bill Stevenson. “But the tournament is a grueling two days with lots of upsets and Antioch [High School]–who was undefeated and ranked number one–finished in seventh place. Our guys all wrestled great at state.” That they did, bringing home the state title for Marist. At the tournament, Tony Evensen was the state champ at 138 pounds and Mike O’Brien was the state champ at 105 pounds. They were the first individual state champs for Marist. Dan Evensen ‘85, who set a state record for the most state tournament wins—a record that still stands, took third place at 98 pounds while Ted Karamanos ‘83 made the podium at fifth in the heavyweight division.
“The feeling that year was electrifying,” Tony Evensen recalled. “We had such great momentum as a team.” He credits Coach Stevenson for building the program in just five years along with Mark Gervais–a varsity assistant at the time–and the other coaches for cultivating a well-bonded team with a positive focus.
The excitement over the program’s success reverberated beyond the team. “I'll never forget the good energy at the school that season,” Tony Evensen said. “Br. Anthony Iazzetti, our principal that year, was calling constantly for updates and, after we won [state], he gave a day off to celebrate. Talk about the student body loving you! People still say that: ‘and they got us a day off school.” Coach Stevenson credits Br. Anthony, too. “[He] took a chance when he hired me–a 23-year-old kid with zero head coaching experience at the high school level,” he said.
Family was a cornerstone of the program with parents being a considerable piece of the team’s success. Coach Stevenson was grateful for the Evensen and O’Brien families, explaining that once they chose Marist, other wrestling families from all over the southwest side started enrolling at Marist, helping build the program. Coach Stevenson left the program after the 1983 season and Coach Gervais took over and led it from 1983 until retiring in 2007. Marist wrestling has become one of the most decorated programs in the state.
Head Coach Bill Stevenson
Assistant Coaches Mark Gervais and Dan Caufield
Pete Andreotti '86
Chris Beaudin '83
Ron Bednarczyk '85
Jim D’Angelo '85
Bob Dieringer '85
Dan Evensen '85
Tony Evensen '83 *
Don Florek '85
Rob Flynn '84
Pat Hanlon '83
Mike Houston '84
Ted Karamanos '83 *
Mike Kilroe '83
Kevin Krasowski '83
Dennis Nolan '84
Mike O’Brien '84 *
Eric Phillips '85
Mark Phillips '83
Ed Potts '86
Bob Ryan '83
Bob Scheid '83
Brian Shannahan '81
Tom Trinley '83 *
Mike Walsh '85