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Eagle Legends Revered,


emembered and


nshrined into

STH Sports Hall of



They first came to St. Thomas with

little more than a name and have

since spent their lives making it into


Over time, those names earned

well-deserved reputations, which

often became greater because of the

company that was kept.  

And for one night, the shared

company of these select men was

one and the same.

They gathered at 4500 Memorial

Drive, not to merely re-live musty

recollections and yellowed page

exploits growing more distant by

the year, but brought back by a

bond and a brotherhood.

They had all left St. Thomas, but St.

Thomas had never left them.

“This place is such a big part of

me, all through college, through

good times and tough times in my

life,” Jimmy Raley ’65 said.  “So

many values learned from the

priests ... to have goals, don’t give

up, surround yourself with great

people.  I’m still close with so

many of my classmates.  And not

just socially.  When you lose your

parents, have disappointments in

your companies, they’re the people

you can rely on.”

Raley was one of 10 Eagle

luminaries honored as the latest

members to enter the STH Sports

Hall of Fame, remembered and

revered at a ceremony before a

vibrant and supportive crowd in

Reckling Gymnasium.

Raley relished the distinction

enhanced by being inducted

alongside his half-brother, Jerry

Pizzitola ’60, who reluctantly

enrolled in STH during the late

1950s, not imagining the gale force

impact the experience would have

on his life.

“I didn’t want to come here and

make that daily commute from

Galena Park.  But the St. Thomas

influence was the best thing that

ever happened to me, made all the

difference to my dad.  He knew

what was best for me,” Pizzitola

said.  “I would not have gotten

to Texas A&M and finished if St.

Thomas had not prepared me.  Not

sure what would have been in front

of me if not for St. Thomas.”

Pizzitola maintaines his personal

barbecue brand within two miles

of the campus where he was a two-

sport standout.  He has witnessed

and contributed to the school’s

recent resurgence, which includes

record enrollments and the ongoing

4500Forever capital campaign to

complete the funding for the Joplin

Campus expansion.

Ted Nowak ’70 has also been an up-

close witness to the STH spikes, the

first Hall of Fame inductee from

his class and a frequent visitor to

campus, particularly when two sons,

Matt ’95 and Mark ’98, followed his

own baseball excellence.

Neither Bernard (Nardy) DeGeorge

Jr. ’63 nor Mark Yokubaitis ’70,

hesitated to make the trip from

opposite extreme corners of the

United States.

“Because it’s St. Thomas,”

Yokubaitis said simply on why

he was determined to travel from

outside Portland, Oregon to attend

the induction ceremony.  “This is a

huge honor for me.  Bruce Hotze

called me with the news.  I cried.”

DeGeorge felt the same sort of

emotional jolt when he received

confirmation at his home in Florida.

“I grew up with the people here

tonight, those with character and

integrity.  If you don’t associate

with really good people, you

don’t become a really good

person. You may not recognize

what’s  happening within you at the

time but it measures throughout

your life.” DeGeorge said.  “It’s just

fabulous what’s happening at St.

Thomas.  There needs to be more

St. Thomas’s out there.”

Mike Mulvihill ’56 echoed the very

same sentiment.

“I love this place, set my whole life

up,” Mulvihill said.  “Mentors like

Fr. Wilson and Tom Driscoll.  So

much more than coaches.  When

I was offered big bonus money to

leave Oklahoma State, Fr. Wilson

encouraged me to stay in school,

Smith ’88 with twin sons Carson and Connor

Pizzitola ’60, Raley ’65, Steve Tyrell ’63

and DeGeorge ’63