Halas honored with 'Hometown Hall of Fame'

December 6, 2011 4:41:24 PM PST
The family of George "Papa Bear" Halas can add another award to his list of honors.

The legendary Chicago Bears coach was recognized with a "Hometown Hall of Famer" plaque that will hang at Crane Technical High School, where he attended and played football from 1909 to 1913.

The plaque was presented Tuesday to his daughter, Virginia McCaskey, and Halas' grandson, Pat McCaskey, during a special ceremony in the school's auditorium. Allstate Insurance and the Pro Football Hall of Fame partner to recognize the towns where hall of famers blazed their paths.

The ceremony was attended by the high school's football team, faculty and staff, and by former Bears players "My grandfather George Halas was one of the founders of the National Football League and the Chicago Bears," Pat McCaskey said. "For Crane Tech to have this plaque in his honor is very significant for us."

As a coach, he was the first to hold daily practice sessions and to utilize film of opponents' games for study. He perfected the T-formation attack with a man in motion that led to their victory over Washington in the 1940 NFL championship game.

The plaque will live permanently in the community to serve as an inspiration for students and athletes. In addition to the plaque, a commemorative "George Halas Hometown Hall of Famer" road sign will be on display in Chicago.

Tom Schervish, of Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises, said, "The plaque represents that George Halas went to school here ? it is kind of a symbol to students here that if he accomplished so much, they, too, can do as well."

The Bears have more players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame than any other team in the league. Halas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.

Students were proud but had mixed feelings because they recently learned their school could potentially close. It was just announced that Crane is one of the schools on CPS' target list for phase-outs beginning in 2012.

"Hopefully today's event could help the school to stay open, said Crane student Shaun Chester. "The recent news has been very difficult for students."

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