Padua Announces 2024 Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees

May 21st, 2024 | News

The Padua Franciscan High School Athletic Hall of Fame was established to recognize those who have either excelled in one or more sports while at Padua or made a major impact on the school’s athletic program or local sports, leading to the enhancement of Padua’s image.

Please join us in congratulating these incredible Bruins on being named Padua Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees! They will be inducted on Thursday, October 10, 2024 at Padua.

Jim Kowall ’68
Basketball, Football
Jim Kowall played Football, Basketball and Golf for Padua earning a number of varsity letters. Kowall was a three-year starter for the Basketball team and was named to the All-Scholastic team as a junior (2nd team) and senior (1st team). He scored 823 career points and missed part of his senior season due to a knee injury, which puts him 9th in career points in school history.  Kowall was also a two year starter on the football team during his sophomore and junior seasons.

John Novak ’71
Baseball, Basketball
John Novak played Baseball and Basketball during his career at Padua. Novak had a decorated baseball career for the Bruins earning All-Scholastic honors for his junior and senior seasons, along with All-Crown Conference honors. Novak was named The Plain Dealer Player of the Year for his senior season when he set multiple school and OHSAA records. John had 30 strikeouts in a game, which is still the OHSAA record, plus school records of 167 K’s in a season and 308 K’s in a career. Novak was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1971 but decided to play baseball at Ohio University. He was later drafted by the Montreal Expos organization in 1974.

Dean Supan ’78
Football, Basketball, Baseball
Dean Supan was a key contributor in three sports during his career at Padua. Supan was the quarterback for the football team during his senior season, led the team with over 500 passing yards and was named to the Plain Dealer Player of the Week Dream team for the Bruins victory over John Marshall. The football team was ranked 12th by The Plain Dealer at the end of the season. Supan was a three-year letterman for the basketball team with over 100 career points, rebounds and assists. Supan was named to the All-Scholastic team for baseball after his senior season where he had a 5-1 record, 98 K’s plus one no hitter and two one hitters. Supan went on to play football and baseball at Heidelberg University where he was named team captain for both the Football and Baseball teams during his junior and senior seasons.  He also earned All-OAC honors in football for his 1980 season.

Sheri Skedel ’89
Soccer, Basketball, Softball
Sheri Skedel was named Ms. Bruin in 1989 for her contributions to the Soccer, Basketball and Softball teams during her career at Padua. Skedel was a key member of the Girls Soccer team which went 14-2-5 during her senior season, reaching the Districts for the first time in school history.  Skedel scored 897 points for the Basketball team, which puts her in the top five for career scoring in school history. She was a member of the District Championship basketball team during her senior year, which was also the first district title in school history.  Skedel received multiple scholarship opportunities but decided to stay closer to home and play basketball at John Carroll University.  She was a four-year starter and holds the record for most consecutive games played.  Skedel continues to share her love of basketball as she has coached various levels of basketball teams for the past 16 years.  She lives in Tampa, Florida and Independence, Ohio with her significant other and four children.

JT Szopo ’94
Track, Basketball
JT Szopo was the second individual in Padua history to win a state title with his winning performance in the 200m run in 1994. He also finished in third place in the 100m run which earned Padua an 8th place finish in the OHSAA Division 1 track & field state championships.  Szopo is still the school record holder in the 100m run with a time of 10.5 seconds and 200m run with a time of 21.5 seconds. Szopo also won multiple North Coast League titles including the MVP in 1993.  Szopo was also a member of the Boys Basketball teams which were District Runner-up in ‘93 and ‘94.

Aaron Apathy ’04
Cross Country, Basketball, Track
Aaron Apathy was named Mr. Bruin in 2004 as a three-sport athlete who achieved a tremendous level of success in all three sports at Padua. Aaron was a key member of a very successful Cross Country program in the early 2000’s. He was part of two conference championship Cross Country teams, earning All-Conference honors twice and helped his team qualify to two Regional Championship meets. On the basketball court, Aaron was a three-year starter for the varsity Basketball team. He served as captain for two years, was All-District 1st team and All-League twice. On the track, Aaron remains the best 800 runner in school history. His 800 time has been the school record for nearly 20 years and he is part of two relay records that are also nearly 20 years old. Aaron was a multi-time Regional qualifier on the track and was a Regional placer his senior season. Following his time at Padua, Aaron went on to compete at Baldwin Wallace College where he qualified numerous times to the conference championship indoor/outdoor track meet and was an all-conference placer for Baldwin Wallace. After Baldwin Wallace, Aaron continued to run in different marathons and half marathons, winning the Cleveland Rite Aid Half Marathon, Cleveland Rock & Roll Half Marathon and the Towpath Marathon, plus earning a top 200 at the Boston Marathon.

Stacey (Matwijiw) Coxon ’04
Volleyball, Basketball, Softball
Stacey Matwijiw was named Ms. Bruin in 2004 for her athletic accomplishments on Padua’s Volleyball, Basketball and Softball teams. As a team captain in all three sports, she earned All-League honors in all sports and led the team in statistics and with her leadership. Stacey was a key contributor to the Volleyball team and their D1 District Runner-up finish in her sophomore and junior year. Stacey was also a key player for the Basketball programs D1 District Championship during her senior year, plus the teams D1 District Runner-up finish in her junior year. During her softball career, Stacey was a member of Padua’s first fastpitch District Championship team during her sophomore year and the D1 District Runner-up team in her junior season.

Rich Ciolek
Head Basketball Coach, Football Coach
Rich started at Padua in the fall of 1968 as a math teacher and coach for football and basketball.  Coach Ciolek coached football under Head Coaches Ray Hudiak, Chuck Priefer and Tom Kohuth, helping those programs to tremendous success in the 1970’s including their first ever victory over St. Ed’s in 1974. Coach Ciolek was an assistant basketball coach under Ray Verba before taking over the program in 1974, where he amassed an impressive 85-61 record which is the 3rd best winning percentage in school history and second most wins in school history. His teams won the Crown Conference in the 1979-80 season and his teams were District Runner-up in the OHSAA tournament in the 1976-77 and 1979-80 seasons. Both of those teams have the top 5 wins in program history with 17 wins in ‘76-’77 and 19 wins in ‘79-’80. Rich continued to help the basketball program as a freshman coach before taking a teaching position at Medina High School, where he continued to teach and coach until his retirement. All four of their children graduated from Padua: Kevin ‘89, Bryan ‘92, Marie ‘94, and Megan ‘99. Rich currently resides in Broadview Hts with his wife Peggy.

Jack Biebelhausen
Head Hockey Coach
Jack started the Padua Hockey program in 1970 and built the foundation for one of Padua’s most successful programs. In his five years as Coach, 1970-71 to 1974-75 season, he amassed a record of 82 wins 23 losses and 11 ties. In his final season 1974-75, he recorded what at that time was called the “Triple Crown” with the Padua Hockey Team winning the prestigious Thornton Park Championship, the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League Championship, and the coveted Baron Cup (City Championship). He had led Padua Hockey to three Divisional Titles, two Thornton Parks and Runner-up at the Coaches’ State-Sponsored Bowling Green Tournament. This was all accomplished with bringing a team to excellence with only two (one hour) practices a week. Coach Biebelhausen was instrumental in organizing the new Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League. Most importantly, because of his personal commitment, coaching style, and caring personality, he developed a family atmosphere among the players and coaching staff which set the tone of Padua Hockey for many years to come. The program was able to be successful and to endure today because of how he mentored the coaches and players under his influence.

Click here to read the list of previous Padua Hall of Fame Inductees.