, the larger-than-life football legend and charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who founded, owned, played and coached the Chicago Bears, was honored on Tuesday. The Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company honored Halas, who passed away in 1983, at his alma mater Crane Technical High School as a "Hometown Hall of Famer™."
The ceremony took place in the school auditorium in front of the football team, cheerleading squad, coaches and faculty. Halas' grandson Pat McCaskey spoke of his grandfather's life and career before presenting his mother, Halas' daughter, Virginia McCaskey, with the historic "Hometown Hall of Famer™" plaque which will live permanently in the community to serve as an inspiration to students and athletes in the area.
"To honor in the presence of his alma mater and his family, Pat and Virginia McCaskey, made today's hometown plaque presentation extremely special," said Tom Schervish, Pro Football Hall of Fame chairman of the Board of Trustees. "It is our hope, that by reconnecting the legacy of to Crane Technical High School and the Chicago community, students all over the area will be inspired to succeed in academics and athletics."
The ceremony was emceed by Crane Technical High School Principal Richard Smith and those in attendance at the ceremony had the opportunity to watch a video with interviews from himself to get a special glimpse into how he played, coached and inspired not only the Chicago Bears team but also the National Football League.
The ceremony featured speakers included Allstate Executive Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer Jim DeVries.
"To be part of a program that brings the prestige and tradition of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to communities like Chicago is an honor for Allstate, our agents and employees," said Mark LaNeve, Allstate executive vice president, marketing and sales operations.
"Papa Bear," as Halas was affectionately known, was associated with the Chicago Bears from the team's inception in 1920. During his 40 seasons coaching, Halas led the Bears to six NFL championships, 318 regular season wins and 324 total victories. As a coach, Halas was a great leader and innovator. The Bears' legendary franchise has more players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame than any other team in the league.
"Hometown Hall of Famers™" will next honor Kellen Winslow, Sr. – former San Diego Chargers tight end – in East St. Louis, Ill., on Dec. 9, 2011. Winslow will be the ninth and final plaque ceremony of 2011.
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