Hall Of Fame

Adults are entrusted by parents with programs to mentor the youth of our communities. The Bill George Youth Football League Hall of Fame does not honor young athletes. It honors those adults who have had a positive impact on young athletes.

MR. BILL POPE Inducted 2006

Bill Pope was a founding father of the BGYFL and its President from 1963-1975.He was the founding father, president, and coach of the Glen Ellyn Golden Eagles youth program from 1963 – 1985. Bill was also instrumental in founding the Bloomingdale Bears youth football program. He constructed, at his own cost, North Park (now Ackerman Park) and South Park (now Newton Park) in Glen Ellyn. The Football Field at Newton Park was named by the Glen Ellyn Park District as “Bill Pope Field” in October, 2003.

In 1963 Bill Pope was able to get Bill George, Joe Fortunato, and Larry Morris (the Chicago Bears first string linebacker corps off of what was to be the 1963 Championship team) to travel from franchise to franchise to pitch the new league. While all Bears players committed to make cash contributions, Bill George was the only one to send money so Bill Pope named our League after him. The cash contribution to start the BGYFL was $100.00.

The Chicago Suburban League was formed in 1960 and the BGYFL was created to be a “cut” league or “B” league for the stronger CSL. Over the next thirty years many towns morphed between the two leagues and or had teams in both leagues. Towns such as Northbrook, Glencoe, Glenside, Hoffman Estates, Hanover Park, Oak Park, Addison, Schaumburg, Glen Ellyn, Bensenville and Lombard were mainstays in the CSL. Meanwhile other communities began to emerge in the up and coming BGYFL such as West Chicago, Bloomingdale, Streamwood, Bartlett, Carol Stream and Wheaton. By the late 1980’s the Chicago Suburban League officially disbanded and the BGYFL became the dominant private league in the north suburbs.

Bill Pope passed away a few months ago in the summer of 2006. He will always be remembered on and off the football field as a great family man, coach and friend. The BGYFL family extends a sincere thank you to the Pope family for attending this inaugural induction into our Hall of Fame. Thank you Bill!!

MR. BRUCE BRUSVEN Inducted 2007

Bruce Brusven began co=aching youth football in the mid 1970’s for the Hanover Park Boys Football Association. After being elected to the Hanover Park executive board in 1977 he quickly began an aggressive campaign to update and improve the Hanover Park football facilities and program. Under his leadership he conceived and helped construct the current Hanover Park game field on Barrington Road as well as the ominous royal blue announcing tower that currently stands on the south sidelines. As president he was also responsible for bringing Hanover Park into the BGYFL from the competing Chicago Suburban League. Under his reign the program became a powerhouse throughout the 1980’s and early 1990’s. The name Hurricanes and the town colors were all adopted during his tenure as franchise president.

For over two decades he worked as an executive board member in Hanover Park and for the BGYFL board of directors. His list of accomplishments is both long and impressive:

  • Hanover Park executive board member for 18 years
  • BGYFL Director and Town Rep
  • Hanover Park President for 8 years
  • Two HPBFA In-House tackle championships
  • Five Travel Super Bowl Championships
  • Ten Super Bowl Appearances
  • Two Florida Youth National Championships

In 1995 the current Hanover Park football facilities was dedicated as the Bruce Brusven Sports Complex. The BGYFL and the Hanover Park football program would like to thank Bruce Brusven for his decades of dedication to youth football and cheerleading by selecting him as the 2007 BGYFL Hall of Fame inductee. Thank you Bruce!!

Mr. TONY LIFONTI Inducted 2008

Tony LiFonti began coaching in 1980 with the Lombard Falcons Youth Football Organization. It would be the beginning of a nineteen year coaching career that would span two franchises and three separate boards of directors. Over his nineteen year involvement in youth sports Tony served as a board member as well as President for the Lombard Falcons, the Downers Grove Panthers and the BGYFL. In order to truly understand what type of person Tony LiFonti is you only have to look at the goals he set for his players and coaches during his tenure in this league:

  1. Promote self confidence and self worth in each player by teaching them how to be successful with discipline.
  2. Provide a short list of rules which can be applied to each player on the team evenly.
  3. Promote each player to be the best they can and give them proper playing time to reach that goal.
  4. Understand football may be the first time the players have a chance to accomplish something on their own AND remember that perfection is the enemy of success.

Tony’s BGYFL service included ten years as Executive Board Member and four years as President. He served on many committees and is responsible for dozens of rule changes that now shaped our current by-laws. As a coach in both Lombard and Downers Grove his travel teams earned 13 playoff berths, 9 Super Bowl appearances and 6 Super Bowl Championships. Tony is also the President of LiFonti Insurance and now provides insurance coverage to many BGYFL franchises. The BGYFL family would like to thank Tony LiFonti for his years of service to youth football and cheerleading. Thank you Tony!

MR. ROBERT JOZWIAK Inducted 2011

For young men and women who play youth football, a very important group of those adults are our Referees.  They are out on the field, making judgment calls on plays that happen fast in accordance with technical rules with which many coaches and most parents have only a casual knowledge.  Referees are routinely subjected to abuse, which, before small crowds, is up close and personal.  They have no safe place to store belongings while they are on the field, and no shelter to be had at half time or between games.  Referees endure these conditions for a full game and then are routinely asked to do the next game, and the next game, week after week.  Not many people can be, want to be, or have the character to be a football referee.   And yet, without Referees there would be no youth football.

The things we appreciate in a Referee (besides a thick skin) are:  (1) knowledge of the Rules, (2) Integrity, and (3) the ability to Control Games.  The man we honor by induction into our Hall of Fame tonight not only meets these requirements, he has established the standard for our expectations.

Bob Jozwiak started refereeing Bill George Youth Football games in 1968, 5 years after its formation and long before most of us were born, when there were only 6 teams in the league. Most games had 1 referee, occasionally there were 2, and rarely were there 3 referees, until in 1970 Bill Pope asked young Bob to find him referees. Joz recruited most from the city, before expressways were built to the Western Suburbs.
Bob Jozwiak has provided and supervised referees for the BGYFL for over 40 years. He annually reviews rule changes at our August Coaches Meeting and at our Coach Clinics. He has seen all the League changes, known all the coaches, and played all the fields. He remains one of our most respected and professional referees and a fine gentlemen. The 2011 Executive Board of the Bill George Youth Football League is honored to induct Robert S. Jozwiak into the Bill George Youth Football League Hall of Fame. Thank you Bob!

MR. BILL LAWLOR Inducted 2013

Bill is the first inductee who started  his football career as a BGYFL player at Hanover Park many, many years ago. He is the first inductee  to win at least three Super Bowls as a youth player and as a coach. He went on to play at Hoffman  Estates High School and Augustana College.  Upon graduation he began coaching at the youth level at Hanover Park, as well as at Rich Central High School and Crystal Lake Central High School.  He currently coaches at Prairie Ridge High School and was offensive coordinator on its 2011Class 6A State Championship  team.

From 1996 to 2013 Bill accomplished the following for Hanover Park and Bill George:

•    Compiled a youth  coaching record of over 100 wins and six BGYFL Super Bowl appearances.

•    Served 9 years as an executive member  of the Hanover Park Board of Directors.

•    Served 10 years as both Director  of Operations  and President of the BGYFL.

•    Was a major force in creating the AFC/NFC concept for the league and improving competition for the member  franchises of the BGYFL.

•    Implemented the annual BGYFL clinics that have helped hundreds of coaches improve their coaching craft.

For many of us, Bill’s contributions went beyond coaching his kids and his work on the Hanover and BGYFL boards.  Bill saw and believed in youth football coaches as a “Band of Brothers”, and unselfishly shared with many of us, often competing coaches at other  franchises, his time, football experience and knowledge to make us better coaches for our programs.

The BGYFL family thanks Bill Lawlor today for his years of dedication  and work for our youth by selecting him to the Bill George Youth Football Hall of Fame!