Bears vs. McHenry High School Staff

In the spring of 1978, the McHenry High School’s junior class set up a fundraising event featuring some of the school’s staff and members of the Chicago Bears basketball team. The class was trying to get money for their Junior prom and would host the event at the gymnasium at West Campus. During the 1970s, the Chicago Bears put together a basketball team that would play local organizations, usually for a fundraising event. The game was a huge event for McHenry and had been advertised all over town. The Bears themselves were also excited, as they had made the playoffs in 1977 and had high hopes for 1978.

Safety Gary Fencik, starts the basketball game with a kickoff.

Before the game, some of the Bears were running football plays on the basketball court and talking with some of the fans. Some of the players, many who lived in or near Chicago, couldn’t believe how far into the “super boonies” McHenry was. The event literally kicked off (see picture below) on March 16 at 8pm. During the game, there was lots of fun to be had. Gary Fencik, who played against McHenry while at Barrington High School received a standing ovation at the beginning of the game.

Faculty member takes a shot over Bears, Jim Osbourne and Bo Rather. From 1979 McHenry High School Yearbook.

One of the Bears’ players, Bo Rather, was noted as being a great shot from the outside. He scared the Bears coaches when he twisted his knee but ended up returning later in the game. Two of the largest players, Dennis Lick and Jim Osbourne, were very good under the net and were really nice to the fans after the game. Quarterback Bob Avellini scored 24 points, showing off his skill at another sport. The staff tried to stand their ground, as English teacher, Jim Blum, was injured when Bears linebacker, Tom Hicks, landed on top of him while trying to get a rebound.

Bear’s safety, Doug Plank, takes a shot during the game. Courtesy of the 22 Mar 1978 McHenry Plaindealer.

The recorded score was close 83-81, with the Bears being victorious. However, the actual score was probably closer to 83-55. In the spirit of fun, they wanted to keep things close. More important than the score was the chance for people to be up close to some of their favorite players. They were probably closer than if they went to a Bears game at Soldier Field. After the game, most of the players stayed and signed autographs for their faithful followers. It was also said that the professionals were very courteous towards the staff during the game.


  • “On The Sidelines.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 17 Feb 1978, 6. Web. 7 Jan 2022.
  • “Bears To Test MCHS Faculty Stars At West Gym Thursday.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 15 Mar 1978, 6. Web. 7 Jan 2022.
  • “Star Struck” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 22 Mar 1978, 17. Web. 7 Jan 2022.
  • “Bears Play Basketball.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 22 Mar 1978, 7. Web. 7 Jan 2022.
  • “Bears Defeat Faculty In Benefit Cage Game.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 22 Mar 1978, 6. Web. 7 Jan 2022.
  • “On The Sidelines.” The McHenry Plaindealer. (McHenry, IL) 24 Mar 1978, 7. Web. 7 Jan 2022.