Year Inducted: 1983
Schools / Organizations: St. Ita-Olympian
Biography: Bill Maloney was coaching high school youngsters in basketball, softball and bowling on a volunteer basis when World War II came along to provide inspiration for a newsletter. Prevented from enlisting by a heart ailment, Maloney started mailing the folksy reports to neighborhood men and woman in the military in the summer of 1942. Maloney’s newsletter, St. Ita-Olympian was a 8-12 page vehicle recording births, marriages, graduations, retirements, promotions transfers, athletic exploits and other human events which was distributed to people in all 50 states and seven foreign countries. St. Ita refers to the Catholic Church and grade school at Broadway and Catalpa Avenues in Chicago; Olympian is the name of a sports club started in 1938 to get a lot of neighborhood kids off the truant lists and into competitive athletics. The first issue of two pages was mimeographed in Maloney’s home and dispatched to 20 GI’s, most of them Olympian club members. Maloney coached the Columbus Olympians, champions of Illinois in Knights of Columbus basketball. A graduate of St. George High School and Loyola University, Maloney, became an independent petroleum products broker. Maloney broke about even on the $1,000 cost of each of the three issues per year. Each of the 3,500 issues now printed by a letter service starts as a draft written in long hand. For many, Maloney’s newsletter was their own link left to Chicago and its rich basketball traditions. Bill Maloney passed away on June 2, 1989 at the age of 68.