Phil Connors, Marist class of 1969, feels he was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time.
Phil, who grew up in St. Christina’s parish in the Mount Greenwood community of Chicago, chose Marist because it was new and exciting, and he loved everything the school offered.
“I liked the newness and it definitely had activities I wanted to do,” Phil said. I had great experiences at Marist, and made friends there that remain lifelong friends.”
While at Marist, Phil started out playing basketball, a sport he participated in for all four years, but in his junior year, he turned to football, a sport he played when he was in grade school.
When he graduated from Marist, he was given a football scholarship to attend the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and it was there that he earned a degree in Physical Education.
It was also at the University of Wisconsin, where he met Patty, his wife of 41 years. They met at a mixer, hit it off, and married after graduating from college.
“If I hadn’t gone to Marist, I might not have played football, and then if I hadn’t played football, I wouldn’t have been given a free ride to Wisconsin and met my wife,” Phil said. “I’ve been lucky enough to have been in the right place at the right time.”
Phil and Patty had three daughters together, and each daughter had three children, so Phil and Patty are the proud grandparents of nine.
Phil is retired now, after teaching at a grade school in Glen Ellyn, and then teaching at Eisenhower High School for 33 years. During his time at Eisenhower, Phil coached basketball for 33 years, football and baseball for 15 years, and was the head volleyball coach for 13 years. Patty, who attended Mother McAuley High School, was also a physical education major, and taught for 25 years at St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Elementary School in Oak Lawn.
“Our house was right across the street from St. Catherine’s, so it was great for us,” Phil said. He also said his girls didn’t get the chance to go to school at Marist, because it wasn’t co-ed when they were in high school, but they did attend their mom’s alma mater, and all played volleyball. In fact, two of his daughters played division 1 volleyball in college.
“I was really happy Marist went co-ed. I thought it was a great idea, and I think it’s a huge success.
“Marist worked out great for me. Like I said, I am lucky enough to have been in the right place at the right time.”