2022 Man of the Year

Dan Stecich ’75

Dan Stecich, Alumni President

Dan Stecich, Alumni President

Leo’s 2022 Man of the Year, Daniel K. Stecich, class of 1975, has been the “stick that stirs the drink” as the Alumni Association president for the last nine years, the last three arguably the most challenging and uncertain in alumni history.

No one signs up to manage uncertainty during a pandemic, yet, a lesser man than Stecich might have walked away or cried “uncle” if he knew what was coming with COVID-19. Never one to complain, Stecich set up to make the best of a bad situation by canceling one banquet, combining it with another, and giving each class and each alum its just dues.

Bernard J. Pepping, a standing member of the Leo Alumni Association Board of Directors, nominated Stecich for Leo Man of the Year recognition because Stecich, “is an excellent leader of the Association, he leads the officers of the Alumni Association and supports the leadership team.”

Pepping knows full well banquet goers see Stecich bring the alumni audience down from a boil to a simmer as Master of Ceremonies each year. He knows they don’t realize Stecich ensures that the annual alumni Banquets are thoroughly planned and implemented. He ensures that every responsibility is identified, and each assignment is staffed and executed. Deeper into the background Stecich ensures that major events and activities of the Association, such as the annual Golf Outing, are planned and implemented. Stecich is the managing editor of the comprehensive Alumni Newsletters, composed, edited, and mailed on time.

Coordinator of the monthly Alumni Association meetings, Stecich time manages the meetings with a stopwatch, facilitates discussions among attendees, resolves issues, and recaps the plans. He notes that none of this would be possible without the energetic help from many alumni members.
Dan’s career and vibrant family life still leave time to attend many Leos’ Veteran’s Day ceremonies, football, and basketball games, and his favorite – the first day of school “when we welcome these young men into the Leo family for life. “

Stecich arrived at Leo from St. Nichol as of Tolentine Parish. He lettered in water polo and swimming; lettered in band; wrote and edited for the Oriole school newspaper and the Lion yearbook.

Dan went on to the University of Oklahoma for a BBA in Finance and returned to Chicago to earn an MBA in Finance from DePaul University.
Married to Patricia and father of two daughters (Maggie and Therese) and a son (Dan), Dan always devoted time to helping Leo High School with his time, treasure, and talents. Bernard Pepping takes great pleasure in bringing nominee Dan Stecich forth as Leo’s Man of the Year Award for 2022.

Doctor Thomas Driscoli Award
Raymond J. Siegel ‘65
A self-starter by nature, 1965 Leo graduate Ray Siegel suggested he “guest lecture” at Leo’s News Literacy Class. Thrilled, the teachers earmarked an entire unit to welcome the subject Siegel knew best – Financial Literacy.

Such are the traits of Seigel – to size up what’s needed and make it happen, whether it’s quietly dropping off a check-in time of need or sizing up what young people need in today’s harried world.

The Doc Driscoll Award is intended to acknowledge a Leo Man whose contributions go above and beyond, making Seigel the perfect choice as the 2022 recipient.

Siegel is a corporate financial consultant and owner of RJS Associates, LTD.

For the students, he created a compelling PowerPoint that day and teamed with a polished young black bank officer to present and deliver the ultimate impression for the students. Siegel didn’t “wow” the young men with his advisory expertise in workouts, financial structuring, asset securitization or role as a trusted treasurer. Rather, he painted scenarios that led to good financial practices.

Siegel transferred into Leo midway through high school when St. Ignatius dropped football. He wanted to keep playing because he figured he would need a scholarship to pay for college and help the growing Siegel family. He excelled as an undersized but tough two-way lineman and earned a scholarship to St. Joseph’s College, located in Rensselaer, IN.

Siegel sacrificed for the family budget by hitchhiking to and from Rensselaer with one most memorable rides ending “right in the center of Gary.”

“My father taught here at Leo after the war,” said Siegel of Ray Sr. “Otherwise, I don’t know if he would have let me transfer.”

Siegel’s visit to Leo symbolizes the level of support the school’s alum happily extend to their alma mater and their commitment to exposing today’s African-American student body beyond the neighborhood.

“We always refer to our students as the best ambassadors Leo has, and with good reason,” McGrath said. “Alums like Ray Siegel are right up there. The way they interact with today’s Leo Men and show them there’s a place for them in the world – it’s truly inspiring.”

Shelvin Payne ‘96

Shelvin Payne, the youngest son of Tom and Wilma Payne is the award recipient for Community Service Award. Shelvin graduated St. Leo the Great and followed in his older brother Ronald’s (class of ’89) footsteps and attended Leo High School in the fall of 1992 and graduated in 1996. Born and raised in the community of Auburn Gresham where his parents still live, and he still spends most of his time.

After leaving Leo High School, Shelvin went on to begin a successful career at JP Morgan Chase, where after 21 years of service, decided to accept God’s challenge and did something different. He is the current council president of Faith Lutheran Church located at 8300 S. Sangamon where you can find him most days and every Sunday. An avid supporter of Leo High School and their endeavors. For years Shelvin has supported various students at Leo High School through monetary and various other donations. Along with time, through generous donations, Shelvin with the assistance of his church has blessed many Leo families at Thanksgiving and Christmas time for many years.

Members of Faith Lutheran Church said that Shelvin has been inspirational and very intricate part of rebuilding the ministry of Faith Lutheran Church. It is through his innovation that we have hosted many events including community day in which we feed the families in the community to enjoy.

My good friend Shelvin Payne, Church Council President at Faith Lutheran at 8300 S. Sangamon for their generous food donation which will be divided with Mothers House, J&R Ministries, and Life House where at least twice a month his donations help feed over 200 families. By Minister Keith Whaley

Jim Carollo ‘67

Jim Carollo doesn’t just show up at Leo’s storied building for Veteran’s Day, he comes to engage – like the time he showcased the U.S. Medal of Honor. As students gathered around in curiosity and awe, Jim articulated the significance of the United States of America’s highest and most prestigious personal military award.

Jim cherishes Leo as his personal “medal of honor” so receiving this Leo Special Appreciation Award puts an added giddy-up in his step as he walks the halls. Familiar to the faculty students, some of Jim’s greatest joys are just being present with Leo men of any age and era. You can also see Jim and his wife Tracy at many of the Leo basketball games.

Jim golfed in 15 Leo outings – including 11 straight – with Carollo’s brother Tom, ’71, and cousins Jim, ’62, and Tony ’64, which harvested so many Leo hats he marketed the school by giving them away.

With great zeal, Jim strived in 2017 to bring every living graduate in the 1967 class to the 50th-anniversary Alumni event. Retired as Purchasing Manager for Sears Tower, Jim used his summer months to find, recruit, and cajole Leo men into coming to the annual event. “Facta Non Verba” in action resulted in a grand turnout.

Jim grew up in and attended St. Leo’s parish school, serving as an altar boy, often in Leo’s Chapel. Jim was manager of the football team under Bob Hanlon and the tennis team while participating for four years in the Glee Club. He was elected president and nominated as “student of the year” by his peers.

Jim was a long-time parishioner at St. Bernadette before he and his wife Tracy moved to St. Linus. He has one son, three grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters.
Jim served in the Army as a U.S. Paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division and currently volunteers at the Disabled American Veterans’ organization. He also has served as a volunteer at the Oak Lawn Veterans’ clinic.

Jim has been a very active supporter of the Leo Alumni Association. He was the committee chairperson for the Class of 1967, a 50-year reunion, and stays in close contact with his classmates informing them and promoting activities of both the Alumni and the High School. He is a Director of the Alumni Association and an active participant in the monthly meetings. He has played a crucial role in updating the Alumni Association email list. He volunteers for various functions, including the annual Alumni Golf Outing. Jim entered the Leo Hall of Fame in 2019. Jim’s most recent Leo endeavor is the very successful and ongoing Leo High School brick paver fundraising program, which you can see in the Leo High School courtyard.

John De La Mar ‘63

John “Jack” DeLaMar invested in his legs, his faith, his future, and the safety of many children.

The trackman climbed the stairs of Leo books in hand from 1963 to 1967 and carted golf clubs around South Side courses, earning him the coveted Chick Evans Scholarship to the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

A Political Science degree with high honors earned him the Carlton Blunt scholarship, assisting with his first year at the University of Illinois College of Law, where he graduated with a Juris Doctor in 1970 with honors. A man of letters, DeLaMar penned articles about his faith, as well as covering current events for Leo’s “Oriole” school newspaper; he had a column: “here and Now – Not on Bread Alone.”

An associate for the law firm of Thomas Mamer & Haughey in Champaign, then in the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office from 1973-1979, he served as First Assistant from 1977-1979.

In 1979, he was appointed as an Associated Judge in the Sixth Judicial Circuit and served as Circuit Judge from 1996-2002. While a judge, he served as Chairman of the Illinois Task Force on Permanency Planning and as President of the Illinois Association of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Study Committee on Juvenile Justice of the Administrative Office of Illinois Court, and the Chair from 1999-2002, as well as the Illinois Supreme Court Special Committee on capital cases (1998-2002). He authored the “managing High Volume Court Dockets Bench book for Illinois Judges; co-authored Juvenile Cases Volumes I and II.

In 2002, he retired from the bench. In 1979, at the age of 33 he was appointed associate judge for Champaign County. He was elected circuit judge in 1996. After 23 years on the bench, Jack retired to then volunteer his services at Court Appointed Special Advocated (CASA), zealously advocating for abused and neglected children, and representing respondent minors in abuse, neglect, and dependency proceedings in Juvenile Court. He also served as interim director and then later served as President of the CASA Board.

Distinguished Leo alum Jack Hannigan proudly nominated DeLaMar posthumously because “Jack led his life according to the Leo motto: Facta non-Verba (Deeds, not words). That motto carried Jack through his career, volunteer activities, and personal life. He was devoted to his faith, family, and to the safety of children.

“The legacy of Jack DeLaMar will live on in his children and grandchildren as well as in the youngsters he removed from awful conditions and the advocates and lawyers he trained to help them.”

DeLaMar was married to his high school sweetheart Melody McCormick and raised three daughters.

DeLaMar’s love of sports, nurtured at Leo, carried on throughout his life. After graduation from law school, he played men’s slow pitch softball, starring for a tournament team that played all over the United States, In his final game, he and his team won the World Championship of Senior Softball in Lakeland, Florida.

Jack was a lifelong Cubs and Bears fan. He loved his family, friends, and Michigan sunsets. Jack and Melody had six grandsons, two granddaughters, and one great-grandson.


Gerald M. Biehl ‘64
Hall of Fame

From his home in Colorado, 1964 graduate Jerry Biehl takes great “satisfaction” being able to support Leo High School. “My brother and I lost our parents and the Christian Brothers’ care for us meant everything in the world.” Said Biehl.

Long before signed Biehl’s checks began arriving regularly to help supplement tuition bills for today’s Leo students, little was certain for young Biehl as he caught the bus daily down 79th Street from Little Flower Parish.

“I was always trying to sneak through the back door because I was always late,” said Biehl. “And there would be Brother Sloan waiting. He’d get up in my grill asking where my tie was, and he wasn’t using mouthwash back in those days. I should have been the King of Jug.” “Those days” proved formative for Biehl, who played three years of football and “basketball for Bob Arneberg” – an adventure of the exceptional kind.

A three-year stint in the Army led to late entry at the University of Southern Illinois where Biehl’s street smarts and a curriculum in Business melded perfectly.

“Leo was a great foundation for me. The first years’ classes were everything I already knew.” Said Biehl. “Growing up on the South Side is a real advantage. You can tell when someone is full of it or not.”

Being “well prepared” for the way business succeeds with common sense and good manners, Biehl flourish at SIU earing and MBS leading to the launch of a company in real estate.

Today he can “dabble in commercial real estate” when he wants, writes checks to Leo, and connect for a ball game or hockey contest in Chicago with former sportswriter now Leo President Dan McGrath, who personally “rebuilt a bridge” to Biehl.

Biehl’s fondest memories reach back to his Leo days as an Andy Frain usher in the old haunts, now razed and replaced. In particular, he recalls watching professional wrestling with gnarly old women ringside, as well as Motown reviews.

“If you’re riding the ‘el’ train at night in Chicago you better know what you’re doing.” Said Biehl. “it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to still be connected to Leo.”

Biehl and his wife Mary raised five children in Colorado.

Tim Foley ‘72
Tim Foley is a lifesaver, literally. The siblings of the 1972 stellar athlete relish sharing legendary tales of Foley’s quick thinking and quicker response.

Only a Leo freshman, he alertly detected a fire in the family’s apartment building and cleared everyone to safety outside; he jumped from a kayak to save a man drowning in the rapids; he arrived at a hospital and assumed the authority of his father to proceed with his own brother’s lifesaving emergency room procedure, following a savage beating and stabbing in a back alley.

Serving as Business Manager at IBEW Local 134, Foley landed jobs for Leo alums over the years, supporting hundreds of Chicago families. Foley’s priorities in life – family, homes, education, career – mirrored the Leo Men he aided.

Modest by nature, Foley is the last to brag about his own athletic achievements: four years of varsity basketball; two years All Catholic football as a tight end, defensive end, and linebacker.

One of Foley’s greatest joys in sports was playing for three seasons alongside his older broth John, an extraordinary Leo point guard during the 1968-1971 seasons under Coach Tom O’Malley. Scholar John Foley advanced to play at Loyola University Chicago on scholarship.

Foley continued his football career at North Park College until a knee injury ended his career. Younger brother Dennis played at St. Laurence High School in the late 70s and honored the Foley lore with city and state recognition as a center.

“Tim was always there for us,” said Dennis. “As the youngest, you remember it all.”

Tim and his wife Mary Jo are enjoying a life of retirement watching their own three children, Sean, Marty, and Rebecca Health raise the four grandchildren.


Michael Hampton’83
Mike Hampton embraced the challenges presented by the Christian Brothers upon his arrival at Leo High School in 1979. The journey from there has been blessed with significant achievements highlighted by his 28-year marriage to Felicia Hampton and their four children.

Hampton was a two-time All-Catholic League basketball player in 1982 and 1983, culminating in an outstanding 1983 campaign that earned him recognition for All-State, All-Area, and Catholic League scoring champion dialing up 25.4 points per game. He signed to play at the University of Illinois – Chicago for Coach Tom Meyer, son of legendary DePaul coach Ray Meyer and later finished his college career at Lewis University in Romeoville.

Never far from Leo, he returned to coach Freshmen Basketball in 2013 and remains dedicated in that capacity through this season. He cites his highlights as helping this year’s spectacular team and serving as the top Varsity Assistant Coach on the high-flying team that finished 2nd in State in 2015. He and his “lovely wife” take great pride in sending two sons to Leo, both of whom played varsity basketball.

Hampton’s dedication and love for his players coined him the name “Deacon”, as he served under three coaching administrations and mentored hundreds of Leo’s young men heading out into the world. Hampton’s peers are quick to point out what a “Class Act” he is, known throughout the Catholic league and City as well as around the Illinois State basketball circles.

On the cusp of retirement, Hampton will retire after 23 years at UIC to continue pursuing his greatest passion – coaching and mentoring the young men next up at Leo.

Jamal Thompson ‘00
Leo High School Head Basketball Coach Jamal Thompson knows success, breeds success, and shares it with us.

Thompson was recognized this year as Catholic League Coach of the Year for 2022. Along the way, he’s taught young men to play beyond their height and brought a most entertaining style of play: Play defense, get up and down the court, and put points on the board. The Lions were the outright Catholic League Champions finishing 25-5 overall on the season. Leo’s loss to DePaul Prep in the 2A state quarterfinals ended a season of overachievement.

As President Dan McGrath wrote of the loss: “…while Leo closes the books on a 25-5 season, it produced Catholic League, regional and sectional titles and memorable moments of blissful satisfaction” for us Leo fans.”

At Quincy University, Thompson excelled in the classroom, and on the court. When his playing days were complete, Thompson was asked to join Quincy’s coaching staff and served for two years. He is a member of Quincy’s Basketball Hall of Fame, having been the first four-year starter in program history.

Thompson followed his “heart back to Chicago to work with young people” and has remained involved in youth basketball, as well as coaching on the high school level at both Bremen and Seton Academy. He called coaching Leo “a dream come true!”

“Leo is my school, and I’ve wanted to come back and help out since I graduated from college. It’s a blessing to be involved with our young men, not just on the basketball court but in the classroom and in other aspects of their lives.”

“The alumni who were so supportive when I was at Leo, and still are now, help us strive to be the best Leo team we can be this year, next year and for years to come.”

Thompson and his wife Candace are raising two daughters – Dania and Jordyn – as well as his son, Josiah.

Keith Harris ‘12
The multi-talented student/athlete Keith Harris left his mark at Leo, scoring with grades, on the gridiron, and on the track.

Leo’s Valedictorian for the Class of 2012, and a standout two-sport athlete for the Lions, has never quite left the Lion’s Den.

“From the time he showed up to the present day, Keith Harris has been an outstanding representative of Leo High School,” said Leo President Dan McGrath, who nominated Harris.

As a running back, Harris earned the Catholic League Red Division MVP. He received Illinois All-State recognition for the 2011 season.

As a sprinter, Harris was named to the Class 1-A, All-State track team in his junior and senior years after leading the Lions to back-to-back state championships, accumulating a team-high point total in the 100, 200 and the 4-by-100 relay in both state meets.

A member of the ISHA’s Academic All-State team both years, Harris accepted a football scholarship to Northern Illinois University.

His college career “rocketed” off to a rousing start when he scored a touchdown against Iowa at Solider Field on his first collegiate carry.

Though a serious knee injury hampered him throughout his time in DeKalb, Harris collected nearly 600 all-purpose yards and scored eight touchdowns in three-plus seasons with the Huskies.

Upon graduating from NIU with a degree in sociology, Harris followed his father into the Chicago Police Department. After three years as a patrol officer, he was assigned to a special narcotics unit that works with the Drug Enforcement Administration on major cases in the Chicago area.

Even with all that, Harris is never too busy to help out at Leo, working with the football and track teams as his schedule permits.

Randy Johnson, Teacher/Coach

Many a potential teacher has stepped from the halls of Leo High School destined to emulate the role models who first help inspire a life of education. Randy Johnson is of that mold, a role model to his students and players. “Leo High School came during a very formative time in my life and evolved into a career, “said Johnson. “The values that were emphasized as part of a Leo education were things that I was insistent on modeling my career as a teacher and coach. Intangibles like loyalty and hard work are important to me and helped me to emphasize that part of a Leo education throughout my career. Family is always very important to me. I always considered my players and co-workers at Leo to be extended family. So as loyalty and hard work were always emphasized at Leo, this fit my personality perfectly. I have continued to emphasize those characteristics in my life to the present day.”

Johnson began coaching football and basketball in 1984 at St. Edward High School in Elgin and stayed through the 1986 school year. He followed that as a teacher, football, and basketball coach at the following schools: Leo High School from 1987-1994, D.D. Eisenhower High School in Blue Island 1994-1995, De La Salle Institute, Chicago 1995-2002, and Brother Rice High School, Chicago 2002-2021.

Over the years, Johnson has taught History, Business, and Theology. Johnson raised his family in Orland Park, IL. He and his wife Dianne are lucky to be surrounded by Douglas and Barbara Johnson (Parents), Scott Johnson (Brother), Carrie Johnson (Sister), and his children Steven, Jessica, Kathleen Johnson, and their granddaughters Briahna and Teaghan Johnson. Well done, Randy!

Facta Non-Verba.