Sports Correspondent Terry Poulos provides a periodic rundown on the latest from top Greek Americans in the world of sports, from Chicago and the greater Midwest.
FOLLOW THE RIVER NILES TO MLB
Chicago’s North Suburban village of Niles, Illinois that is. Two former products of that area are currently playing pro baseball. Niles West H.S. and Northwestern University grad George Kontos is one of the key middle relievers in the bullpen for the San Francisco Giants. George won a World Series ring a couple years back, then struggled a bit and was sent to the minors, but is back and better than ever. In 2015, his stats read 4-3 with a 2.02 ERA in 71 innings pitched. The Giants can only make the playoffs by winning the division as they begin a series against the NL West leading Dodgers. In St. Louis, CF Peter Bourjos, a former Niles resident, comes off the bench. He’s a speedy defensive specialist who we may see in the postseason in pinch hit or late-game situations depending on the circumstance. The Cardinals have the best record in the Majors heading into the playoffs. To date, Peter’s stat line reads .205 average, 4 HR, 13 RBI. The Cardinals ownership group includes the family of the late Nick Kladis, a former Loyola University basketball All-American who went on to be a Chicago White Sox and Bulls partner prior to selling his shares and buying into the Cardinals.
GAMELOS LANDS WITH SKY
Former University of Southern California hoops star Jacki Gamelos, who averaged a whopping 39 points per game during her illustrious prep career in California, was signed by the Chicago Sky and played guard off the bench this season. Jacki overcame many knee injuries and is finally healthy, though not quite the player she was prior to her first and subsequent ACL tears…Interning for the Sky this Summer was Kyra Vidas, a sophomore at Lake Forest College who was an All-City basketball player at Taft High School in Chicago.
KLOPAS OUT IN MONTREAL
Former Chicago Fire head coach Frank Klopas, who had some semblance of success in coaching the Windy City’s MLS franchise, was recently let go as coach of the Montreal Impact. Frank is a Chicago icon, having starred at Mather High School before going on to a prolific pro soccer career in Europe. Frank also played for the Chicago Fire late in his career, and bookend-ed that with a brief stint with the former Chicago Sting early in his career.
NFL HALL OF FAMER CELEBRATES HIS 90th
Happy birthday to famous Philhellene Marv Levy, 4-time Super Bowl coach of the Buffalo Bills, NFL Hall of Famer, and the husband of Greek American Mary Francis Levy. The couple live in Chicago. In early August, Marv, Fran and their family celebrated the occasion at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse, as reported by Michael Sneed in the Chicago Sun-Times. Marv has been very active in the Greek community. He’s a member of Chicago’s Greek Media Club, has keynoted a 13th District AHEPA sports awards ceremony, and in October he’ll be appearing in Las Vegas to speak on a sports panel organized by the National Hellenic Society, where many Chicago Greeks will be attending, including yours truly who will moderate the sports panel.
TRIBUNE PROFILES PREP QB
Notre Dame Catholic Prep, just outside the Chicago city limits, is being led this year by QB Tyler Tsagalis. The Trib-local newspaper ran a profile on Tyler in late August, 2015. Tyler, who verbally committed to play college ball at Western Illinois, is an Arlington Heights resident who commutes to the private school. Outside his school’s coaching staff, Tyler is also being schooled by former NFL QB Jeff Christiansen, who in addition to being a former Raiders QB, is also notable for working with many area prospects.
CHICAGO COWBOY “RIDES” AGAIN
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander wrote a great piece on Chicago native Dino Loukas in July 2015 detailing his comeback 9 years after a near-fatal rodeo accident. Dino was in a coma for an extended period but he’s doing fine today, working in real estate development, recently married, and in September he and his wife Effie welcomed their first child, Georgia, named after Dino’s late mother who succumbed to cancer a few short years back.
CHELIOS DAUGHTERS LEAD NU LACROSSE
The two daughters of NHL Hall of Famer, and former Chicago Blackhawks standout defenseman Chris Chelios, are making a name for themselves at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, just north of Chicago. Tara (sophomore, still playing) and Caley (graduated) were both members of a team that is legendary in NCAA Lacrosse circles, a school which wins national titles with prolific frequency. Chicago Tribune reporter Philip Hersh profiles them in this account from April 2015.
CANELLIS PROFILED BY LOYOLA U
Longtime FOX32 Chicago lead sports anchor Lou Canellis, a Loyola University of Chicago alum, was recently profiled by his alma mater’s school paper. Lou is a also graduate of Oak Lawn High School in Chicago’s southwest suburbs.
KRANTZ PLAYER OF WEEK
Orange County, CA resident George Krantz, the son of well-known Chicago filmmaker and author Bob Krantz, was recently named player of the week in football. Playing for St. Margaret, the 6’2 sophomore QB through three games has put up crazy stats: 44 completions in 74 attempts, 875 yards, 13 TDs. With his size, George could very well be a major NCAA Division I prospect at the QB position.
NOTRE DAMER GETS AHEPA AWARD
College basketball standout Zachary Elias “Zach” Auguste of the University of Notre Dame received the 2015 William Chirgotis Collegiate Scholar Athlete Award at the National AHEPA Athletics Awards in August of 2015. Gregory Stamos, head of the selection committee, was presenter. Zach attended St. Anargyriou Greek Orthodox Church, Marlborough, MA in his youth. Entering his senior year, Notre Dame looks to contend for a national title behind Zach, one of its leading scorers and rebounders at 12.9 and 6.5 per game.
ELECTED TO NU HALL OF FAME
Lake Forest, IL native Alexis Prousis in September was inducted into the Northwestern University Athletic Hall of Fame. Alexis is a past NCAA Division I tennis doubles national champion. She recently completed a masters degree at NU’s prestigious Medill School of Graduate Journalism.
NEW SOCCER COACH
Former University of Illinois football player (kicker) and soccer player (he was all-state in both sports at Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin prep) Peter Christofilakos recently signed to be the new head soccer coach at downstate Lincoln Land Community College. The Christofilakos family is well-known in Southern Illinois for running their indoor sports complex which features a range of sports including soccer.
TECH, MEDIA, MARKETING
Glenbrook South H.S. and Duke University grad Zack Maurides, who played defensive line, is making waves in the area of student-athlete organizational software. Zack’s company was profiled in this article….Junior Tommy Mantice, a Chicago-area product, is in his junior year at Valparaiso University in Indiana. He was recently selected to be the assistant sports manager at Valpo’s WVUR. Tommy is also working an internship for The Sports Index, Inc. in Chicago, whose president is yours truly.
Maine South (Park Ridge, IL) senior runner Lexi Kachiroubas in September entered into the school’s cross country record book…Baseball IF/P George Karavidas (Glenbrook South H.S.) played in the Central Suburban League All-Conference All-Star game this June.