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Goforth a good fit for ESCC Hall
By Dave Oberhelman | Daily Herald Columnist

Benet athletic director Gary Goforth


Daily Herald photo

Bryan Glover


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Published: 2/27/2013 10:01 PM

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Benet athletic director Gary Goforth ran down a long list of Redwings athletes and coaches who, one day, will be inducted into the East Suburban Catholic Conference Hall of Fame.

He’s on the ESCC Hall’s selection committee. When the time comes he and his peers will weigh the accomplishments of Benet coaches such as Peter Paul, athletes like Goforth’s own son, Phil, against those of past Redwings recipients like Henry Wind, Joe Fedinek and last year’s inductee from Benet, basketball and volleyball star Jordan Wilson.

And he will be comfortable doing so. But Goforth may not have been ready for what he saw on this year’s list of nominees.

“I opened up the envelope and I was on it,” he said.

Benet’s athletic director for 22 years, its varsity football coach from 1988-2009 and a biology teacher for 30 of his 34 years at Benet, Goforth will join St. Patrick’s Dan Santucci and Notre Dame’s Mark Yanule, both football players, as they are inducted into the ESCC Hall March 7 at Crystal Sky Banquet Hall in McCook.

“It’s really a nice honor,” said Goforth, nominated by Benet Principal Stephen Marth and assistant athletic director and baseball coach Scott Lawler.

There used to be guidelines that limited nominees to coaches and administrators retired for five years, or athletes who have been out of high school a decade. Due to considerations about potential inductees moving away or suffering ill health later in life, those restrictions have been lifted. Goforth will join active coaches such as St. Joseph’s Gene Pingatore and Fenwick’s Dave Power.

As football coach Goforth led Benet to six playoff appearances and a berth in the 2003 Class 6A quarterfinals. When asked his memories as athletic director, among others he listed Wind’s boys soccer teams winning the 2000 and 2001 Class A championships, Brad Baker’s girls volleyball team winning Class 4A this season and last, and Taylor Kramer’s girls diving title in November.

“It’s just fun to watch the kids compete. And what a cool year to go in. We’ve had such a great year,” Goforth said.

Retirement is not in the near future, he said. When that time comes it’s not trophies Goforth will reflect on but the personalities and relationships.

“I’ll forget all the championships and I’ll just remember the kids and the coaches,” he said. “That’s what I’ll remember.”

Dishing it out

Mike Avallone is a 2007 Neuqua Valley graduate who went on to play guard for Augustana College’s men’s basketball team. He was a three-time Academic All-Conference honoree in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin and graduated in 2011 with a double major in mathematics and computer science. Avallone graduated cum laude.

Does that mean “extra cheese”? When we caught Avallone on the phone Tuesday he was creating his signature deep-dish pizza crust at the Jet’s Pizza franchise he and his father, Mario, opened Oct. 4, 2012, in Wheaton. Mike’s favorite is the barbecued chicken pizza.

A cum laude grad steeped in math and information technology, elbow deep in pizza dough. Hmm.

“I was in insurance for almost a year, doing computer configurations for an insurance company,” he said. “It was a great job. I was learning a lot and definitely using my math and computer science degrees there. I just didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk all day long. And I had a pretty long commute.”

The drive between the Avallones’ Naperville home and Wheaton isn’t as bad. Mario Avallone, who grew up in Detroit near where Jet’s is based, had long wanted to open a pizza parlor. He became friends with the owner of a Jet’s franchise in Naperville, and father and son seized upon a spot on Roosevelt Road in Wheaton. Among their first customers was one of Mike Avallone’s Neuqua basketball teammates and best buddies dating to their time at Crone Middle School, Mitch Kunkes.

Avallone said while business has been growing, competition is fierce. In Detroit and its suburbs Jet’s is all over; here, he’s trying to break into an area where alliances with familiar brands have long been established.

As he did on the basketball court, Avallone will challenge any competition.

“When people try our product, they fall in love with it,” he said.

Welcome aboard

Robert Lathrop, athletic director at Reed-Custer High School in Braidwood, was approved Monday by the Indian Prairie School District 204 as new athletic director at Metea Valley. Lathrop will succeed Tom Schweer, the veteran athletic director and former swimming coach who will retire after this school year.

Lathrop, a West Aurora High graduate, has been at Reed-Custer since 2010. Prior to that he was an assistant athletic director and dean of students at Bolingbrook. He got his start in administration as athletic director at Jane Addams Middle School in Bolingbrook from 1995-2004.

Metea principal Jim Schmid also notes Lathrop married a former Waubonsie Valley gal, Karen Bruck.

Timothy Christian will also be welcoming a new athletic director, one from afar.

Bryan Glover, wrapping up his term at Orange Lutheran High School in Orange, Calif., will be Timothy’s director of Athletics and Performance, effective June 1. He will succeed the Trojans’ current athletic director, Jim Woudstra, who also is Timothy’s dean of students. Woudstra will retain that role.

Glover is Orange Lutheran’s associate athletic director and director of Performance. At Timothy he’ll initiate the Performance role to address strength and conditioning in athletics.

Glover also is an adjunct professor for Master of Arts in Coaching and Athletic Administration at Concordia University in California. Owning professional certificates in speed and strength training, Glover has served in strength and conditioning positions at Oregon State, Colgate and Bacone College in Oklahoma.

“Bryan is a visionary leader with a commitment to excellence,” Timothy superintendent Matt Davidson noted in a statement emailed to the Daily Herald.

Follow Dave on Twitter@doberhelman1