The Joliet Area Sports Hall of Fame committee will honor its Class of 2019 inductees Saturday in a special ceremony that takes place at the Joliet Area Historical Museum, located at 204 N. Ottawa St. in Joliet.
This year’s four inductees make up the hall of fame’s 12th class, and it certainly is representative of the 67 individuals who previously have been recognized for this honor.
The class of 2019 consists of two longtime successful professional athletes, Ron Coomer and Ned Grabavoy; a pioneer of local female athletics, Jane Condon; and a hall of fame high school coach, who had one of the area’s longest careers, Eural “Mack” McLaughlin.
A Celebration of Champions promotes the event as “Sports Bash: A Celebration of Champions at the Museum,” and it runs from 6 to 10 p.m. with the cost of admission being $25 a person. Tickets for the event can be purchased on the museum’s website, www.jolietmuseum.org.
The biographies of the 2019 inductees have been provided by the hall of fame committee:
Jane Condon, one of the first female star athletes in the area, lettered in five sports at the former St. Francis Academy before going on to earn another 11 letters in four sports at then-Lewis College. An inductee into each of those schools’ Halls of Fame, Condon led her prep basketball team to a perfect 27-0 record her first two seasons, while averaging 18 points a game. In track and field, she qualified for state in the discus. Condon also was a part of St. Francis’ inaugural softball and tennis teams, driving in 59 runs in that first season.
Ron Coomer, the radio analyst for the Cubs on WSCR 670 AM, turned in a nine-year major league career that saw him play for four teams – Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers – and produce a .274 career batting average with 827 hits, 92 home runs and 449 runs batted in as both a first and third baseman. The Lockport Township High School graduate was an All-Star with Minnesota in 1999 and became the Twins’ TV analyst after his playing career ended.
Ned Grabavoy, a product of the Chicago Magic Soccer Club, played 13 seasons of professional soccer in the MLS, donning five different jerseys with the majority of his time spent with Real Salt Lake. The 2000-01 Gatorade National High School Player of the Year, Grabavoy led Lincoln-Way High School to two straight IHSA state championship game appearances. He went on to Indiana University, where he was the leading scorer for the Hoosiers’ 2003 national championship team, which earned him consensus first-team All-American honors.
Eural “Mack” McLaughlin served as the head wrestling coach at Joliet Central High School for 40 years, compiling a 507-192-9 record during that four-decade span. He also led the Steelmen to a dual-team title in 1985 as well as runner-up honors the following year. A 1991 inductee into the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Hall of Fame, McLaughlin recently earned the Lifetime Service Award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame – Illinois Chapter. A product of Chicago’s Dunbar High School and North Central College, McLaughlin’s first taste of Joliet actually came as a running back for the semiprofessional Joliet Explorers football team.
For information about the Joliet Area Sports Hall of Fame, contact Greg Peerbolte at the museum at 815-723-5201 or Dave Laketa at the University of St. Francis at 815-740-3842.