Following Super Bowl 50, acclaimed NFL players and coaches are honoring the schools that put them on the path to greatness. For South Shore High School, this meant a visit from alumnus Marv Levy – the Hall of Fame coach who took the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls during the 1990s.
During a school assembly, Coach Levy presented his alma mater with a Golden Football – part of the NFL’s High School Honor Roll program. This was his second visit to South Shore in the past three years, the last coming in 2013, when he presented the school with the NFL plaque that is its first piece of Hall of Fame history.
When he visited the school at that time, Coach Levy commented on how glad he was to see that South Shore remains a strong part of the neighborhood.
“Attending South Shore was a magnificent experience for me,” he said. “One of my classmates wrote a school song called ‘School of our Dreams’, and that’s truly what it was.”
When he started there in 1939, South Shore was a new high school on Chicago’s southeast side. It served mainly the children of immigrants, many from Poland and Russia, which Coach Levy called “an amazing amalgam of humanity, all of whom were proud to be Americans.”
The coach was not a serious student in his early years, and admits that his life might have taken a different turn were it not for one South Shore teacher named Alice B. Conlon.
“She really set me straight,” said Coach Levy on his last visit to South Shore. “She changed my whole outlook on education and what it would mean to me in my life.”
After serving in the military during World War II, Coach Levy attended Coe College in Iowa and went on to graduate school at Harvard. He coached at the college level for many years, then began his professional football career in 1969 – a 28-year run that landed him in the NFL Hall of Fame.
That Hall of Fame status, and his appearance in numerous Super Bowl games, is what has led coach Levy back to his hometown high school during the 2000s, where his goal has been to honor his roots and give students advice that’s good for life, not just athletics.