Sports Faith International

2011 Inductees


January 15, 2011

For Information Contact:

Pat McCaskey: 847.739.5361

Angela Tomlinson: 847. 331.6994  




LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Sports Faith International announced the induction of six outstanding athletes and men of faith, Art Rooney, Jamie Moyer, and Rich Donnelly, will be inducted into the Sports Faith Hall of Fame for Professionals. Dr. William Thierfelder and Fr. Joe Freedy will be inducted into the Sports Faith College Hall of Fame.   Patrick McCaskey will receive the Light of Christ Award.  The Induction festivities will be held on February 27, 2011.  A Meet and Greet Luncheon Reception, sponsored by Ave Maria University and Franciscan University of Steubenville will be held at the Country Squire in Grayslake, Ill. from 10:00 am-12:30pm, immediately preceding the Induction Ceremony.  The Induction Ceremony and Sunday Mass will begin at 2:00 p.m. at the home of the Chicago Bears, Halas Hall, in Lake Forest, Ill.  Bishop Thomas Paprocki, bishop of Springfield, Illinois,  also known as the “Holy Goalie” will be celebrating the Mass at 2:00 pm. Rev. Francis J. “Rocky” Hoffman, Executive Director of Relevant Radio, Fr. John Smyth, Fr. Joe Freedy and Fr. Don Woznicki, of New Ethos and the Hollywood Project will concelebrate. Music will be provided by Franciscan University of Steubenville.


Tickets to the events may be obtained at the Sports Faith International website  or by calling Angela Tomlinson at 847.331.6994.


The annual awards ceremony, offered in conjunction with Ave Maria University, Catholic Athletes for Christ, Catholic Financial Life, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Lighthouse Catholic Media, Relevant Radio, NCSA, Prayers for Life, Angelo Gelato Italiano, Frank J Casella Photographically Speaking, BVM Fifth Media, Eli’s Cheesecake, and First Impressions honors world-class athletes who are known for outstanding dedication to sports and their faith. Additional awards will be given to Catholic High School Athletes, Coaches and Teams as part of the 2011 All-Star Catholic High School Contest, including awards for Athlete of the Year, Coach of the Year and Team of the Year. The AVE MARIA UNIVERSITY RISING STAR AWARD, will be presented to a freshman, sophomore or junior year athlete showing outstanding promise, on and off the field.  The Prayers for Life-Pro-life Award will be presented to an athlete, coach or team exemplary in the pro-life movement and The Virtue of St. Paul Award will be presented for the athlete, coach or team, with  the most inspirational “personal story”.   Nomination and application forms are available at  Deadline for applications is February 10, 2011.


The Sports Faith Hall of Fame was created in 2008 by Sports Faith International in order to recognize and encourage excellence in sports and in the Catholic Faith. By providing a forum for the inductees to share their personal stories and accomplishments, the organization’s hope is many will be inspired to aim ever higher.


The late Art Rooney was the patriarch of the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers and a larger than life figure beloved for his kindness and generosity in addition to his achievements in the National Football League. More than anything, Rooney was fondly remembered for his jovial nature, his Catholic family values, and his ability to make the city of Pittsburgh, and its people, feel like they were all a part of the Steelers family. Rooney family members will be on hand to accept the award.


Jamie Moyer is a veteran of 27 seasons in professional baseball including 24 in the majors and along with his wife Karen, is a devout Catholic and philanthropist in the Northwest with their work through the Moyer Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children in severe distress.


Rich Donnelly was a major league coach for the Rangers, Marlins, Brewers, Dodgers and Pirates, as well as a minor league player and manager, for 42 years, but is also known as a man of God in large part because of how the truly remarkable story of his daughter Amy affected his faith.


Patrick McCaskey, the grandson of George “Papa Bear’ Halas, is an owner and Board member of the NFL Chicago Bears and serves as Chairman of Sports Faith International. An accomplished author and speaker on sports and faith, McCaskey has published Bear with Me: A Family History of George Halas and the Chicago Bears, and, most recently. Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout. Mr. McCaskey’s award will be presented by Thomas S. Monaghan, (2010 Inductee) former owner of World Series Champion Detroit Tigers and founder of Domino’s Pizza Inc.  Mr. Monaghan currently serves as Chancellor of Ave Maria University, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Ave Maria School of Law, Chairman of the Board of Governors of Legatus and Chairman of the Board of the Ave Maria Foundation.


William Thierfelder, President of Belmont Abbey College, has an impressive track record in the practice and business of sport and related enterprises. A former NCAA Division 1 Coach, Olympian, National Champion and a two time All-American, Dr. Thierfelder  is an accomplished  speaker on the subjects of Catholicism, Sports and Faith,  sports science, medicine and psychology.


Sports Faith International was so impressed with the accomplishments of Father Smyth, whose life bears testimony to the world-changing power of combining the virtues and influence of sport with mountain-moving faith, an award, was named in his honor. Known as the Fr. John P. Smyth Award, it is awarded annually to an outstanding Catholic Athlete or coach interested in pursuing a religious vocation.  This year’s award will be presented to Fr. Joe Freedy, the former University of Buffalo quarterback who now models a life of service as a Catholic priest and serves as vocation director in the archdiocese of Pittsburgh. Past winners were professional soccer player Chase Hilgenbrinck and, Oakland Athletics Grant Desme, both of whom recently set aside their professional sports careers to pursue their vocation to the priesthood.


For more information on the Sports Faith Hall of Fame and Sports Faith International or to ask questions, please visit In addition, please contact us via email at or by calling 847.331.6994.


More Info:  The Sports Faith Hall of Fame was created in 2008 by Sports Faith International to recognize world-class athletes who are known for outstanding dedication to sports and their faith. Sports Faith International is a new media initiative dedicated to utilizing traditional and new media to showcase the connection between sports and faith. Programs for Catholic and mainstream media networks will feature some of the biggest names in the world of sports. Sports have been called a metaphor for life that can teach perseverance, discipline, loyalty, trust, dedication, and fair play. The shows will serve as a platform to discuss the many virtues and life lessons that can be learned from sports. It is part of BVM HELPING HANDS, a 501(c)3, tax-exempt organization.