Three-time Super Bowl Champion and 1968 Holy Name High School graduate John Banaszak helped Holy Name students, alumni and supporters celebrate the school’s inclusion on the Super Bowl High School Honor Roll this past Friday. Banaszak, who played in Super Bowls X, XIII and XIV for the Pittsburgh Steelers and whose role on the teams allowed Holy Name to receive this honor, presented the school with a Golden Football provided by Wilson.
The Super Bowl High School Honor Roll was created this year by the National Football League to commemorate Super Bowl 50, which will be played Sunday, February 7, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium in the San Francisco Bay area. The Honor Roll recognizes more than 2,000 high schools who have had a player or coach included on an active Super Bowl roster. Schools honored receive a Golden Football that features the school’s name and location, the player’s name and the Super Bowl(s) that he appeared in during his NFL career.
Banaszak first presented the Golden Football during an all-school assembly at Holy Name on Friday. He was introduced by his wife, fellow 1968 Holy Name graduate Mary Redig Banaszak. Following this introduction, Banaszak spoke to the students about how he went from a student at Holy Name, to a member of three Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl teams. This journey included time spent in the United States Marine Corps, as a college athlete at Eastern Michigan University, as an entrepreneur, and now, as a head football coach at Division I FCS school Robert Morris University near Pittsburgh.
“When I reflect on the past 50 years, I think about the odds of something like this ever happening to a kid and his wife from the corner of Broadway and Harvard,” said Banaszak during his speech. “And I realize, not only how lucky we were in our journey, but how blessed and fortunate that Mary and I have been.”
One lesson Banaszak shared is that you should never give up on your dreams. He said, “Fight hard, fight long. Fight long and you, too, will be rewarded with a fulfilling life. A meaningful life.” Additionally, right before presenting the Golden Football, Banaszak thanked “Wilson and the National Football League for giving me the opportunity to give something back to my alma mater, Holy Name High School.”
On Friday evening, Banaszak met and greeted fans before the Holy Name-Valley Forge Varsity Football Game at Byers Field. Between the first and second quarters, he went onto the field and once again presented the Golden Football, this time to all Holy Name alumni, friends and supporters in attendance. The Golden Football, along with a Pittsburgh Steelers’ jersey signed by Banaszak, will now be displayed in one of the school’s trophy cases.
Thank you to John and Mary for spending their Friday with us, and for giving Holy Name this great honor!
*Photos taken by Tara Byrne Photography (HN Student Class of 2016) and Holy Name High School*