Jane Caliendo did it all. From varsity athletics at the high school level to collegiate victories at the University of Illinois, Jane Caliendo has left her mark across the athletic sphere. During her time at Sandburg, she participated in basketball, swimming, and track, receiving four varsity awards for each sport. After she graduated from Sandburg, she attended University of Illinois, where she excelled as both a student and an athlete. As captain of the Illini swim team, she was a natural leader.
After completing her undergraduate degree work, Caliendo returned to Sandburg, where she used her leadership and dedication to encourage young athletes. She served as a PE teacher and swimming/water polo coach for 22 years. She earned the title IHSA Coach of the Year six times for swimming and three times for water polo. In 2017, she was inducted into the Illinois Water Polo Hall of Fame.
Besides Sandburg, Caliendo also spent a lot of time helping selflessly in the community. Whether she was volunteering to help the sick through St. Michael’s Church or taking her team to a yearly fishing derby to help the handicapped, Caliendo was an active civic leader.
Caliendo truly dedicated her life to Sandburg and the community as an alumni, teacher, coach, and role model. She worked hard to create, within Sandburg, the feeling of safety and the drive to work hard to achieve goals. She constantly pushed everyone to be the best they can be by seeing the good in each and every one of them. Sandburg’s pool, rededicated as The Jane Caliendo Aquatic Center, is a space that emphasizes Jane’s Warrior spirit and attitude.
Coach and Contributor
Prior to his arrival at Sandburg, Devine served as a radioman in the Navy during World War II. He was stationed in the Pacific on a minesweeper. Upon his return, he began his educational career at Sevastopol High School in Door County, WI, and spent one year in Fulton, IL. Devine arrived at Carl Sandburg in the 1950’s, became the school’s first football coach, and quickly turned the school into a football powerhouse. According to those who knew him, “Devine put Carl Sandburg High School on the map.”
In his sixteen years as Head Coach, Devine amassed an 88-34-5 record. Those around him respected his leadership abilities. Seven of his assistant coaches went on to become head coaches in high school football. Joe Devine was a charter member and the first president of the Illinois High School Football Association where he was instrumental in establishing the State Football Championships. He was inducted into the Illinois High School Coaches Hall of Fame on April 15, 1978. In addition to being the head football coach, Devine served as the Athletic Director of Carl Sandburg High School. He is often credited for establishing many of the successful programs that we still have today.
After leaving Sandburg, he was an assistant football coach at Moraine Valley Community College. Upon retiring, Devine moved to McFarland, Wisconsin where he lived with his wife of 59 years, Jean, until his passing in 2004.
Coach and Contributor
The name Cliff Eade is synonymous with Carl Sandburg High School athletics. During his 38 year career as an Eagle, Cliff Eade contributed as a member of the baseball and football coaching staffs.
As the varsity baseball coach from 1965 - 1972, Eade guided the team to three conference championships in 1965, 1966, and 1967. Eade’s teams went on to win two Regional Titles, one in 1965 and another in 1967.
Eade’s experience and knowledge as a football player at Northern Illinois University helped him coach and lead the Sandburg football team to great success. He was the third Head Coach in the program’s history from 1972 - 1980. In 1975, he earned the SICA Football Coach of the Year Award and led the team to a Conference Championship.
The biggest impact on Sandburg came from Cliff Eade in his role as Athletic Director, a position he held for 18 years, the longest term of any Athletic Director in the history of the school. At the time Eade took over, Sandburg was known for its competitive programs; however, the school had yet to capture a State Title. By the end of Eade’s career, the drought was over. Sandburg won State Titles in boys soccer and boys and girls volleyball under his leadership. Eade also served as President of the SIW Suburban Baseball Association, Vice-President of SICA Football Coaches Association, and President of the SICA West Athletic Directors.
Now retired, Eade spends time with his wife and three grandchildren. He is an active member of the Faith United Methodist Church of Orland Park where he serves as a member of the worship committee, the choir, the athletic committee and the pastor/parish committee. Eade also finds time to tutor first through third graders at Foster Elementary. The students of Carl Sandburg High School were very fortunate to be the recipients of Cliff Eade’s leadership and passion for 38 years.
Pat Fitzgerald was a dominating force for the Eagles’ football program in the early 1990’s. Not only was he one of the best linebackers in the state, but he played both sides of the ball, serving as a tight end for the offense. Fitzgerald earned All-Conference honors in 1991 and 1992 and was named second team All-State in 1992. By the time his senior season was over, Fitzgerald became the all-time school leader in tackles, was named The Star’s Defensive Player of the Year, and was the 1993 Carl Sandburg High School Male Athlete of the Year. While Pat’s football accomplishments are well known, he was also a member of the baseball and basketball teams.
Fitzgerald earned a scholarship to play football for the Northwestern Wildcats. He was a linebacker for the Wildcats from 1993 - 1996. It was there that he lead a defense for the 1995 Wildcats that allowed more than 20 points in a game only one time all season. The Wildcats were 15-1 in Big Ten play during his junior and senior seasons, won back to back Big Ten titles and had a storied run to the Rose Bowl in 1995. Fitzgerald was an integral part of the defense. He was the first two-time winner of the Bronko Nagurski and Chuck Bednarik awards which are given to the nation’s top defensive player. By the time his playing career at Northwestern ended, Fitzgerald was a two-time All-American, Sports Illustrated Defensive Player of the Year, and four time Defensive Player of the Week honoree.
Fitzgerald currently serves as the Head Football Coach for the Northwestern Wildcats. At the time of his hiring in 2006, Fitzgerald, only 31 years of age, was the youngest head coach in D1 history. He also became the youngest member in College Football’s Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 2008. Although he his heart bleeds Wildcat purple, Fitzgerald still holds Eagle gold and blue near and dear. Fitzgerald married Carl Sandburg alumna, Stacy Mraz, and they have three sons Brendan, Ryan and Jack.
Tom Graves, Sandburg student-athlete from 1974-1978, has a list of accomplishments longer than the timeline to complete the LaGrange Road construction project. A devoted runner, Graves took the track world by storm, winning three State Championships in the 3200, one State Championship in the 1600 and two cross country State Championships. Not only did he win the most state titles in Illinois history, but also was a six-time High School All-American Athlete and the 1978 Sandburg Athlete of the Year. His fame persisted long after he graduated from Sandburg, since he held the 2 mile record from 1977 to 2001 and the cross country school record from 1976 until 2010. Even today, Sandburg runners are well-versed in Graves’s achievements.
It is one thing to excel in sports while in high school, but quite another to continue that level of achievement at the collegiate level. Graves attended Auburn University where he was a five time All-American in cross country and track.
The success Graves accumulated in athletics has been mirrored in his professional life. Graves received a BA in education, MS in Education, Counseling Psychology and School Administration and a Doctorate in Educational Foundations, Leadership and Technology Educational Improvement Specialist. He has dedicated his life to the high calling of teaching the next generation, and they have undeniably benefitted from a driven, hardworking leader.
Graves earned more state titles than conference titles, but the missing conference titles are no mistake. Being the true team player he was, Graves was known for letting the second-place runner win conference in order to share the limelight with his teammates. Cross country at Sandburg has always been a sport for the dedicated, the hard-working, and the honorable, and Graves exemplifies each and every one of those qualities.
Katie Hertz was a two sport athlete for the Eagles, participating in soccer and basketball from 1994-1998. Katie Hertz is one of the most accomplished soccer players to ever attend Carl Sandburg High School. A member of the varsity soccer team since her freshmen year, Hertz earned All-Conference and All-Sectional honors all four years. She was named All-State and All-Midwest after her Sophomore, Junior and Senior seasons. During her Senior year, she served as the team captain and was named All-American, Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year and Gatorade Circle of Champions Illinois Soccer Player of the Year. Hertz finished her career at Carl Sandburg as the Illinois all time assist leader with 110 assists. The talents that Hertz displayed for the Eagles earned her an opportunity to play for the Olympic Development State Select Team from 1994-1998 and the Olympic Development Regional Select Team from 1996-1998.
In addition to her athletic success, Hertz was an all-star in the classroom. She was an Academic All-American from 1997-1998, member of the National Honors Society, and ranked in the top ten percent of her graduating class.
Hertz went on to play soccer at Northwestern University from 1998 - 2002. She earned NU Rookie of the Year honors in 1998, named All Big Ten - 2nd team in 2001 and was named Outstanding Senior Athlete in 2002. She was a starter for the Wildcats all four years and led the team in goals for three seasons and total points for two seasons. With her athleticism and team leadership, the Wildcats reached the Sweet Sixteen in 1998.
Hertz earned a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Northwestern University. Hertz is currently employed as a physical therapist at Athletico. In her spare time, Hertz is a volunteer at local races, participates in career fairs at high schools and community colleges, is a former soccer coach and still provides personal soccer training for local community athletes.
Athlete and Coach
Mike Navarro shone brightly as a multi-faceted student athlete during his years at Carl Sandburg. As an Eagle, he participated in varsity track for three years and varsity football and wrestling for all four years. Navarro currently holds the single season touchdown record with twenty-two touchdowns in a season. He is second all-time in rushing yardage and was named All-State and Worth-Palos Reporter Player of the Year his senior year. Navarro also took second place in the wrestling state tournament his senior year earning All-State honors.
After he graduated from Sandburg, Navarro went on to excel in football as a fullback at University of Illinois. While there, he received the Bruce Chappel Award for outstanding courage and perseverance and was 10th on the all time rushing record board. Currently, Navarro is ranked 32nd all time in career yardage (1083) at U of I.
Upon graduating from college, Navarro pursued a career in education and joined the PE department at Carl Sandburg in 1976. He served as an assistant football coach from 1976 - 1992 and was named the Head Coach in 1993. He served in that capacity until 2002. He amassed 73 wins during his career and has a .723 career winning percentage. Navarro was named Coach of the Year in 2007, inducted into the Illinois High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2007 and became a member of the District 230 Legacy Hall in 2016. Navarro’s legacy continues to live on at Sandburg, as his jersey number (#43) is retired and our football team now plays in the Mike Navarro Stadium.
John Water enjoyed a long a very accomplished career as both a teacher in the Department of Physical Education and as the Head Athletic Trainer for Carl Sandburg High School. Wator, an Eagle for thirty years, is loved and respected for his astonishing and wonderful contributions to the athletic programs of Carl Sandburg High School. His involvement in athletics started long before his time at Sandburg.
In 1973, Wator earned his Bachelor of the Arts degree in Physical Education from MacMurray College. While at MacMurray, he participated in wrestling for four years, and was the co-captain of the team for two years. In 1973, Wator received the MacMurray College Dan Unruh Award for Leadership. Wator was a part of the Northwestern University Faculty Athletic Training Program in 1979, and he completed graduate work at Illinois Benedictine University, Chicago State, and Governors State University.
His time at Sandburg was marked by excellence and achievement. He was instrumental in the development of several academic programs including the strength and conditioning program, sports medicine program, and the student athletic trainer program. It has been his constant and unwavering support and care for the athletic programs, the coaches, and the athletes that make John Wator so honorable. Wator has been recognized for his contributions by earning the Carl Sandburg Teacher of the Year Award in 1992, and was inducted into the Illinois Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame in 2002.
Since retiring, Wator spends his time traveling with his wife of 41 years, Vicki, and enjoys spending time with his children and grandchildren. Although there is time for leisure in his current schedule, Wator can still be found educating individuals as a PADI master scuba diving instructor.
1993 Boys Soccer
Led by Head Coach Brian Pappa, the 1993 soccer team won the I.H.S.A. Soccer State Championship, the very first team State Championship in Carl Sandburg High School history. The Eagles finished the 1993 season with a 29-0-1 record, their lone tie of the season coming against Naperville North, a team they would later beat in the Sectional Final. At the time, Carl Sandburg was only the second team in Illinois High School Association history to go an entire season without a loss.
Prior to the 1993 season, the Eagles were defeated in the Sectional Finals three years in a row. The Eagles were able to break that losing streak when they defeated Naperville North 1-0 and advanced to the State Finals. Not only did Sandburg win the State Title, but they did so in a record setting way. The Eagles did not allow a single goal in three state-final games. The team’s last 12 games were shutouts and the Eagle defense, led by goalkeeper Chris Pope, recorded 22 shutouts on the season, 2nd most in I.H.S.A. history.
The 1993 boys soccer team ranks among the best that the state has ever produced. They have the second most team wins in I.H.S.A. history with 29 victories. Their consecutive win streak of 27 games has only been matched one other time in I.H.S.A. state history, when the 2001 Sandburg team accomplished the same feat! The team is 3rd all-time for most assists in a season with 131 assists and the 164 goals scored during the 1993 season is still an I.H.S.A. state record to date.
The 1993 boys soccer team will always be remembered as the first team to bring Carl Sandburg High School its first athletic State Championship, a feat that has since been repeated 19 times.
The Carl Sandburg Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be Friday, November 3rd, starting at 6:30 pm in the Eagle Gym. Contact Tom Freyer, athletic director, at 708-671-3139 for more details.
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