Detroit Catholic Central High School is proud to announce the 12th Annual Athletic Hall of Fame Inductions which will take place on campus Sunday, October 14, 2018, in the Robert Santello “58 Gymnasium.
The Detroit Catholic Central Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2018 Inductees are:
Coach John Hackett
An All-State athlete in football and swimming/diving at Northwestern High School, John went on to major in Aeronautical Engineering with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering at U of D while being captain and All-American end on the football team. He then received his law degree from Detroit College of Law, was a Board member at U of D, a teacher in the Detroit Public schools, and head football coach at Lawrence Tech. Recruited by Father Martin, John became the man credited with putting CC football on the national scene from 1936-42 with a record of 50-4-2. Known by his players as a hard-nosed disciplinarian, his ’36-’38 championship teams went 35-1, scoring 1390 points to the opponents 73. After the 1942 State championship season (8-0, 289 points to opponents 20), John entered WWII as a Navy Lieutenant, serving as Production Engineer for the Office of Research and Inventions in Washington, D.C. Following his military service, John was head coach at Wayne State before returning to CC for the ’52 – ’55 seasons (20-8-2), once again gaining national exposure for CC, and sending many of his players to the college and professional ranks. John Hackett, an accomplished individual, veteran, and CC legend.
Art Ronan ‘47
One of the most decorated athletes in CC history, Art Ronan was a star in the golden era of CC athletics. Under the tutelage of Hall of Fame Athletic Director Fr. James Martin, CSB, Art earned an astounding 10 Varsity Letters: 4 Baseball, 3 Basketball and 3 Football. Art led his CC Baseball teams to 4 consecutive CHSL Championships and in 1950 was named to the Fr. Martin All Star Team by the Michigan Catholic. As just a sophomore he played Varsity Football and played in the inaugural Boys’ Bowl game in 1944. As a senior quarterback in 1946, he led the Shamrocks to an undefeated season and a CHSL Championship.
Art earned both All – Catholic and All – State honors in both Baseball and Football.
Spurning offers from several major league baseball teams, Art earned athletic scholarships for both football and baseball to the University of Michigan, the University of Notre Dame and Michigan State University before choosing to become an MSU Spartan.
Dominic DiPonio ‘35
A pillar of the foundation of the great tradition that is Catholic Central High School Football, Dominic DiPonio was a 4 year Varsity letter winner as a 2-way lineman on the CC Football team and a captain of the 1934 team,
the first CC Football Team with a winning record in school history.
Vince Banonis ’38 – a member of the CC Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, 3 time All NFL and 3 time NFL Champion
once stated that the 5’9” 175 lb.
“Dominic DiPonio was the finest and quickest pulling guard he ever played with.”
As a senior in 1934, Dominic was recognized by the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News, and the Detroit Times on their All-City teams while also being recognized by the Detroit Free Press as the very first All-State Football player in CC history.
1968 Hockey Team
Fr. James Enright, John Curtin, and Joe Wills coached the 1967-68 varsity and guided the team to the International League’s Mayor’s Tournament Championship and State Championship Recognition. CC defeated heavily favored Cathedral HS 3-1 at Olympia Stadium. The team caught fire late in the season as role players complemented three outstanding seniors – Ken Lerg, Dennis Carol and Jim Kish. Lerg and Carol went on to star at Ohio State while Kish did the same at Western Michigan. Lerg nudged out Carol & Kish for the Jack Adams Trophy, as Tournament MVP. Carol won the same prestigious award in ’67. Kish’s play earned the Governor’s Cup as the league’s outstanding student-athlete.
1974 Hockey Team
Four seniors led a spirited contingent of 10 juniors, a sophomore and a freshman to the 1974 International League’s Mayor’s Tournament championship and State Championship recognition. Led by captain Tim Ronayne’s two OT playoff goals, CC earned the right to defeat Brother Rice 7-6 to win the last “Mythical” state championship. The MHSAA started its tournament in ’75. Few teams have been fueled by the camaraderie exhibited by these champions. Like the players, Coaches Rick Repicky, Bill Ventola and Fr. John Kaul complemented each other creating a path for players to excel. The versatile team featured CC Hall of Fame inductee, Mike Brown.
1974 State Wrestling Champions
The CC grapplers returned to their championship ways by capturing the 1974 State Championship crown, the fourth in six years. Their motto for the year was Pride and Determination as they vanquished one opponent after another on their way to an undefeated perfect 12-0 dual meet season. In preparation for the State championship run, they dominated the Oakland Christmas tournament of 34 teams in record fashion (116 points) and the Ann Arbor Huron and CC Invitationals. They breezed through the District and Regional playoffs and established a then all-time State record by amassing 55-1/2 points in the finals. Five wrestlers (Waad Nadhir-co-captain, Tim Reaume-co-captain, Joe Ryan, Dave Rodriguez, Pat Ryan) placed in the State Competition with Waad Nadhir as a two-time State Champion and All-American with a string of 87 consecutive victories. Coach Mike Rodriguez, in addition to being named “National Coach of the Year.” was once again honored as the State of Michigan “Coach of the Year.”
Volunteer Contributor: Bill Carpenter
Bill Carpenter’s induction recognizes tireless service to CC’s athletic program and represents the school’s appreciation for incalculable volunteers who support CC athletes. Notable achievements include:
- 1991 inductee - Detroit Catholic League Hall of Fame
- CC Dad’s Club
- 20 years service as a member & president.
- Chairman Athletic Committee.
- Organizer for major events – Boys’ Bowl, hockey & wrestling tournaments, bingo.
- Worker for nearly every conceivable athletic event despite battling cancer in later years.
- Volunteer for 10 years beyond graduation of sons Michael (’75) and Kevin (’81).
- Bill’s love for CC could only be conquered by cancer; he passed in 1992.
Inductions will take place on Sunday, October 14, during the annual Gerry DiPonio ‘65 Boys’ Bowl Mass and Breakfast which begins at 10:00 a.m. In addition, inductees or their representatives will be introduced during halftime of the Boys’ Bowl Football Game against longtime Central Division rival De La Salle.
We encourage the classmates, friends, and families of the inductees to share in this proud moment. Classmates of the honored teams who plan to attend the induction, are asked to contact the Catholic Central Athletic Hall of Fame Committee at email@example.com
or the Alumni Relations Office at 248.596.3838.