Any Oak Lawn Community High School student who participated in athletics anywhere from 1973-2014, odds are Skip Sullivan coached or taught them in one way or another. He spent an entire lifetime going to school, excelling in sports, and coaching as a Spartan. He was truly one of a kind.
So when “Sully” passed away on November 25, 2021, it was a crushing blow to any and all Spartans who knew the legend. However, this spring OLCHS is going to honor this “Spartan for life” by naming the varsity Baseball field in his name as “Skip” Sullivan Field. The dedication will take place on Tuesday, May 17, at 4:00 p.m. as the Spartans host Reavis in a South Suburban Conference Red game. The event and game is open to the public.
The District 229 Board of Education passed a resolution
acknowledging Skip’s lifelong commitment to support the Mission, Visions, and Values of Oak Lawn Community High School and naming the Varsity Baseball Field in his honor. The resolution was read during the February 16 Board meeting by President Robert Loehr and unanimously passed by the Board.
“I wish he was alive for this dedication; this would mean so much to him,” Janet Meyers, who coached girls basketball with Sullivan for several years, said. “He loved Oak Lawn Community High School, and he dedicated his career to helping students succeed in the classroom and on the field. He touched so many lives in his 41 years as a teacher and coach. He brought out the best in everyone. This is a great way to honor, not only his love of the game but the time and effort that he put into building the baseball program and updating the field.”
Sullivan attended OLCHS as a student from 1965-1969. He played varsity football, basketball, and baseball and earned all-conference honors in basketball and baseball during his junior and senior years. Sullivan then attended Iowa State University on a football scholarship and played both football and baseball there.
He started coaching at OLCHS in 1973 as an assistant football, boys basketball, and baseball coach. He was the head baseball coach from 1995-2008. In 1993-1994, he earned the Fred Parks Coach of the Year Award at OLCHS. In 1996, he was named the Pitch and Hit Club High School Coach of the Year. In 2009, he was inducted into the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame.
Sullivan retired from teaching at OLCHS in 2006 and retired from coaching there in 2014. Even after retiring, Sullivan could be seen in the hallways and attending athletic events and rooting on the Spartans. It was truly his home away from home.
“Skip was always so welcoming to new people when they started at OLCHS and in the baseball program,” said current Spartan head baseball coach Bill Gerny. “I appreciated the time he took to make me feel like a part of the baseball family when I first started here. It’s only fitting that he will continue to welcome baseball players in the OLCHS family for generations to come.”
The baseball program has also included a commemorative Sully jersey that players, staff and parents have purchased and will wear at the event.