Mary Pat Connolly believes Marist High School is a special place because of its commitment to the overall success of the student-athlete – academically and athletically – that paves the way for the continued success of future RedHawks. And, Connolly knows a little something about success.
Having served as the girls' basketball coach since the school went coed in 2002, Connolly has more than 400 career wins under her belt. Over the last 20 years, her teams have captured regional, sectional, and super-sectional titles as well as a 4th place state title in 2008. “We’ve had great seasons and many memorable moments, but the 2008 season stands out the most to me,” Connolly said. “We weren’t the most talented team, but we had a team of hard-working, over-achievers who refused to quit.”
Connolly knows first-hand what it takes to succeed on the court. In 2018, she was inducted into the National Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame for her time with the Chicago Hustle in the Women’s Basketball League (WBL) from 1979 to 1981. The following year, she was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame as a player and, in 2020, she was inducted as a coach.
Before her time in the WBL, Connolly had a decorated career at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She still remains a record leader in scoring, rebounding, double-doubles, and more.
“It truly is an honor to be inducted into the Marist Hall of Fame,” Connolly said. “Starting from the first class of girls, I was fortunate to have so many former and current coaches and players help me succeed and sustain such a successful program. I feel I’m a small part of a rich tradition of athletic success that has been built at Marist since the school first opened.”