Richards celebrates Athletic Hall of Fame inductees
- Name: Richards Bulldogs
- School or league: South Suburban Conference
- Team: Football, volleyball, softball, track
- Award: Hall of Fame Induction
Families, teammates, and coaches gathered last Sunday to celebrate the sporting achievements, professional success, and community outreach efforts of the 2012 class of the Richards High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Richards chose the 12 men and women based on their high school, college, and professional athletic accomplishments, character, career achievements, and contributions to their communities.
Student-athletes inducted include Bill Finn (past recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Richards), captain and Most Valuable Player for the 1975-76 basketball team,
top five percent student, and today the athletic director at Moraine Valley Community College;
Leonard Kenebrew (past recipient of Distinguished Alumni Award from Richards), an all-state and a second team All-American football player who earned an athletic scholarship to Indiana University (three letters and an All-BigTen second team selection) who works as an administrator with Kankakee School District 111.
Also, Michele (Kohler) Nelson, an all-state volleyball player who started for the 1986 IHSA Class AA state champions, earned a scholarship to the University of Colorado, served as a coach at the University of Missouri-Columbia and University of Missouri-Kansas City, and works in human
resources for the United States Court system in Kansas City;
Lindsey LaChiana, a first team all-state softball player who received a scholarship to Loyola University Chicago (Horizon League Co-Pitcher of the Year in 2004 and a second team academic All-American), transferred to Northern Illinois University, and works as a certified public accountant for William Blair Associates;
Erik Lis, who earned all-state honors in baseball, a scholarship to the University of Evansville (twice won all-conference and the team’s Player of the Year), selection to the Freshman All-American (2003) and became a ninth round draft choice of the Minnesota Twins;
J.C. Love-Jordan earned all-state honors (twice) and selection to the prestigious Parade Magazine All-American team. He also qualified for the state track finals four times and holds 30-year old school records in the long jump and triple jump. Love-Jordan earned an athletic scholarship to
the University of Iowa and teaches at Simeon High School in Chicago;
Joseph Montgomery, who earned all-state and All-American honors in football at Richards, a scholarship to Ohio State University, and played four years for the New York Giants (he led the team in rushing and won the Rookie of the Year award from the Giants.) Today, he serves as chairman of Montgomery Enterprises in Georgia;
Daniel Pratl, who served as captain of the varsity football team in 1978, earned all-state honors from the Chicago Sun-Times and a place on the Chicago Tribune All-Stars,
and later played for the University of Northern Colorado. Today, he works for G&M Concrete in Alsip.
Jeffrey Shepard, who earned all-state honors in football, won the Palos Bank Player of the Year award, was selected the MVP in the SICA North conference, and received
a scholarship to Eastern Illinois University. Shepard today works as a journeyman carpenter for Lorig Construction
Company in Des Plaines.
Bill Porter, who earned small college All-American honors and set 16 offensive records at Midland Lutheran College and signed free agent contracts with the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals (1974) and New York Jets (1975) before arriving at Richards, taught physical education and coached
girls basketball, track, golf, badminton, and football. Porter served as offensive coordinator for many football seasons, including the state championships in 1988 and 1989.
Frank Salvatori coached football at Richards for 35 years, a remarkable stretch of time, and served as defensive coordinator for much of that period. Salvatori, who taught driver education, contributed immensely to a remarkable era: Two state championships (1988 and 1989), an
IHSA runnner-up (2001) finish, 34-game winning streak, 22 conference championships, and 10 undefeated regular seasons.
Barbara Vitek, who taught physical education, served as perhaps the starting point for the long history of athletic excellence at Richards: She coached the first team to win a
state-level trophy. Her girls track team took third in 1973. Vitek taught at Richards for 33 years, and also coaches girls cross country and girls basketball.