The Joliet Township High School Athletic Boosters hosted the 15th annual Night of Champions to honor those who have helped shape and who have made significant contributions to Joliet Township Athletic programs.
The athlete honoree on the evening was former Joliet West soccer standout Jamie (Wasielewski) Caruso. Caruso was a true standout for the Tigers soccer program and helped build the program to one of the more respected ones around.
In her career, Caruso was one of the first athletes to net more than 100 goals in her career, a benchmark that was almost unheard of at the time. After her playing career, Caruso moved on to coach and now is a teacher at Plainfield East.
The coaching honor went to longtime Joliet Central coach Marvin Reed. Reed arrived at Joliet Central in 1973 when he coached freshman/sophomore football. Later, Reed became the first girls basketball coach in program history when it was instituted in 1976 and stayed in that role for 18 seasons. He compiled more than 300 wins in his coaching career and was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1993. Reed also coached boys and girls track.
Reed quipped that his basketball coaching career probably would not have started had his wife told him he’d be going at football alone.
“If you want to coach football, good luck, because it’s cold outside and I’m not going to sit outside in the cold,” Reed said. “Then I starting coaching basketball and she came to every single game.”
The award for Steelmen of the Year went to Arlene Albert. Albert was a longtime school board member who was sparked to run for the board when the initial decision to close Joliet Central was announced. Once elected, Albert became a tireless worker to help Joliet Central succeed and flourish.
Winning the Tiger of the Year was Jeff Pierson. Like Albert, Pierson also worked behind the scenes as a school board member, played a big role in helping Joliet Central and Joliet West get their own independent athletic programs up and running again and helped with getting the resources in play for all of those teams.
Fan of the Year honors went to Jessica Morales for Joliet West and the tandem of Patti Edwards and Jen Christensen were honored for Joliet Central.
Morales was cited for her work and assistance for Joliet West’s cheerleading program that has been extremely successful at the state level in recent seasons.
Edwards and Christensen, staffers at Joliet Central, were both chosen for their efforts in many ways, most notably helping recognize student-athletes that had qualified for various state meets over the years.
There also was a new award instituted at the event, the Glen Marcum Legacy Award. Marcum, who played a large role in the institution of the Joliet Sports Boosters organization, and, along with former Joliet athletic director Chris Olson, began the Night of Champions event.
Marcum passed away at the age of 56 in November 2016.
The inaugural winner was Dr. Cheryl McCarthy.
McCarthy, the current superintendent who will retire at the end of the school year, has been a staple in the Joliet school district since 1986, where she began her teaching career as a math teacher at Joliet West. She moved into administration in 2001 moving up the ranks until she became the first female superintendent in the history of Joliet Township High School.