Broncos Athletics

Former Bronco Earns Hall of Fame Honor

Former Bronco Earns Hall of Fame Honor

Aug. 2, 2005

CHICAGO, Ill. - Continuing to build and foster the Italian American tradition of excellence, the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame is proud to announce that former Santa Clara University quarterback Dan Pastorini will be inducted in its Hall of Fame class of 2005.

Celebrating athletic achievement, unwavering integrity, community service, and dedication to the values of the Italian American heritage, the 28th Annual Induction Ceremony Gala Dinner will be held on November 5th, 2005 in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Chicago and Towers. Tennis champion Jennifer Capriati, football pioneer John Conti, Pastorini and baseball superstar Mike Piazza will join the ranks of some 200 inductees enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Baseball Hall of Famer and NIASHF Inductee Tommy Lasorda will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the event.

Honorees at the Gala will include 2005 Sportsman of the Year Nick Giachino and 2004-05 Athlete of the Year Diana Taurasi. In addition, there will be a special tribute to Mary Lou Retton celebrating her Gold Medal-winning performance in 1984. The event will be produced by the Onesti Entertainment Company and will feature top-level entertainment performances, including Rock & Roll legends Joey Dee & the Starliters.

For more information or to purchase tickets to the 2005 Induction Ceremony, please contact the Hall of Fame at 312-226-5566.

Dan Pastorini, Pro Bowl Quarterback and accomplished race driver on land and water, played in the National Football League for 12 seasons for the Houston Oilers, Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, and Philadelphia Eagles, leading the Oilers to consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances in 1978-79. While quarterbacking for the Oilers, Pastorini also set four world records in Unlimited Drag Boat racing. His boat "The Quarterback Sneak" was the first to break the 8-second elapsed time barrier and later broke the world record four different times. As one of the premiere drivers on the NHRA Top Fuel Circuit, he won his first national event at the NHRA Southern Nationals in 1986 and finished 7th in NHRA Championship Points. Pastorini's best career elapsed time was 5.18 seconds, topping out at 287 mph. He was the third man to break the 270-mph barrier in a Top Fuel Dragster. In three seasons as a quarterback at Santa Clara from 1968-70, Pastorini was a second-team Associated Press Little All-America selection and ranked in the top-10 in nine of the schools all-time passing records. He was named the most outstanding player in the 46th annual Shine East-West Classic at the Oakland Coliseum in 1971.

Jennifer Capriati, tennis prodigy and current standout on the Women's ATP Tour, became the youngest-ever player to reach a pro final at 13 years, 11 months old at her Tour debut at Boca Raton. Continuing her stellar young career, Capriati reached the semifinals of the 1990 French Open at age 14, and the following year she became the youngest-ever women's semifinalist at Wimbledon. In 1992, Capriati won an Olympic gold medal by defeating Steffi Graf in Barcelona, Spain. She has won 14 singles titles and one doubles title over the course of her career, including wins at the French and Australian Opens in 2001 and a successful defense of her Australian Open title in 2002.

John Conti, prominent alumnus and former football star at the University of Detroit, was inducted into the University's Hall of Fame in 1984. Mr. Conti played football from 1943-1945 while serving in the United States Army, a true Army of One on the line at 6'1", 300 lbs. Conti's game-changing domination continued in college, where he served as Captain of the 1949 Missouri Valley Championship Football Team at the University of Detroit. Following a stint with the Detroit Lions, Conti served as football coach at St. Martin and St. Paul high schools in Detroit. He has since received the University Alumnus Award, the Athletic Director's Ring, and the University of Detroit Athletic Department Support Award.

Mike Piazza, hard-hitting catcher for the New York Mets, was drafted in the 62nd round of the 1988 amateur draft before dazzling players and fans alike on his way to winning the National League Rookie of the Year award with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1993. Piazza is an 11-time All-Star, and won 10 consecutive silver slugger awards from 1993 to 2002. Piazza has established himself as one of the best hitting catchers in the history of the game, and has gone on to surpass Carlton Fisk for most home runs by a catcher, with a total of 387 over the course of his 14 season career in the major leagues.