News & Events
Waubonsee Honors Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees
Waubonsee Community College inducted three athletes, an administrator and one past team into its Athletic Hall of Fame during the college’s annual Athletic Banquet on May 10.
David Bacon, Carlos Gil, Graham Hill, John J. Swalec and the 1975 baseball team were chosen to form the fifth class of the Waubonsee Athletic Hall of Fame for their involvement in sports, dedication to Waubonsee, athletic successes, and contributions to the community or career accomplishments earned after leaving Waubonsee. The Hall of Fame was formed in 2007 in conjunction with the school’s 40th anniversary celebration.
“We are proud to recognize the success of our student-athletes, as well as the coaches, administrators and community supporters who helped to foster that success,” Waubonsee Athletic Manager Dave Randall said. “Waubonsee athletics has a rich history in contributing to the total development of our students and to the campus community as a whole.”
A 5’10” shooting guard from West Aurora High School, David Bacon was the marquee performer on a pair of nationally ranked Waubonsee teams, leading them to the Skyway Conference title each of his two years. He earned All-Region and All-Skyway Conference First Team honors as a
freshman in 1989-1990 before being named an NJCAA First Team All-American his sophomore year. On the way to Waubonsee’s first-ever Region IV basketball championship in 1990-1991, Bacon was named the Most Valuable Player of both the Skyway Conference and Region IV, as well as Waubonsee’s Male Athlete of the Year. He now serves as the assistant pastor at Grace Deliverance Outreach Ministry in Aurora, while also working for the Weyerhaeuser Company.
After learning the game of soccer at West Aurora High School, Carlos Gil brought his talents to Waubonsee in 1982. His freshman year, Gil recorded 23 goals and 21 assists to help Waubonsee break into the NJCAA national rankings, earning All-Skyway Conference and All-Region IV First Team honors along the way. As a sophomore, Gil improved to 43 goals, and more awards followed, including NJCAA Second Team All-American status, and both the Skyway and Region IV Player of the Year honors. After his Waubonsee playing days were over, Gil took over as the Chiefs head coach, guiding Waubonsee to the Region IV finals for the third consecutive year before transferring to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside on a full soccer scholarship. He has worked for AIM Engineering and Surveying in Florida the last eight years.
Tennis player Graham Hill played just one year for the Chiefs, but what a year it was. Undefeated at number one singles, he earned the Skyway Conference and Region IV titles in that category and at number one doubles with partner Ryan Brazas, ultimately leading the entire Chiefs squad to the two crowns. Not surprisingly, Hill was named the Player of the Year for both the Skyway and Region IV and went on to a 12th place finish at the NJCAA National Tournament — the highest finish ever for a Waubonsee tennis player. After his outstanding season for the Chiefs, Hill played tennis at the University of Arizona until an injury cut short his collegiate career. He then spent time as a coach before eventually returning to the court to play professionally in New Zealand. Today Hill works as an Energy Analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., while pursuing a master’s degree in environmental management from the University of Denver and giving tennis lessons at the Lakeshore Athletic Club in Denver.
Waubonsee Hall of Fame inductee and President Emeritus Dr. John J. Swalec had a longer tenure in which to make a lasting impact on Waubonsee athletics, guiding the college from 1981 to 2001. During his two decades as president, Waubonsee grew by more than 50 percent, and he was labeled a “pacesetter” by the American Association of Community Colleges for establishing landmark initiatives such as the Athletic Department’s Student-Athletes Taking Academic Responsibility (S.T.A.R.) Program. He served on the NJCAA’s Board of Directors, the NJCAA’s Executive Committee, the State of Illinois Athletic Board, and as the Chairman of the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference. Dr. Swalec’s passion for athletics began during his time as a standout wrestler at Illinois State University (ISU) and grew as he coached the sport in later years. He has been inducted into ISU’s Wrestling Hall of Fame, the NJCAA National Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Hall of Fame, and the NJCAA Region IV Hall of Fame.
The first whole team inducted into Waubonsee’s Hall of Fame, the 1975 baseball team helped put the college on the athletic map. Coach Bill Prince’s squad advanced all the way to the NJCAA Region IV Tournament Championship game at a time when all 45 schools in Illinois participated in one division. Undefeated in league play, the team captured Waubonsee’s first Skyway Conference title in baseball before going on to win a Region IV Sectional crown and finishing as the Region IV State Runner-up. They had a school-record 10-game winning streak, which stood until 2010. The pitching staff had a team earned-run-average (ERA) of 3.48, the fourth best in school-history, and three of their pitchers are still in the top-15 for strikeouts per game. Their team fielding average of .942 still stands as the fifth best mark in Chiefs’ history.
The Waubonsee Athletic Hall of Fame honors former Waubonsee administrators, faculty and staff; athletes; coaches; community supporters; and specific teams who are five years removed from their involvement with Waubonsee athletics.