Former San Francisco 49ers coach Steve Mariucci and legendary University of San Francisco soccer coach Steve Negoesco will be the guests of honor at the Second Annual San Francisco Italian Athletic Club High School Awards Banquet on Monday at 6 p.m.
The two will preside over a dinner bringing together athletes, coaches and local legends for a night of great food and tradition to bridge the past and present.
“It’s one of the only events that brings everyone – Bay Counties League, AAA, West Catholic – to the same place at the same time,” said Randy Bessolo, University High School head basketball coach and an SFIAC member. “It also combines athletes from different sports. You have baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, everything together.”
The dinner — set for 6 p.m. at the SFIAC, located on Stockton Street in North Beach — will recognize some of the best high school athletes in San Francisco. It also serves as a fundraiser, with the beneficiaries including the Academic Athletic Association and the Dante’s Boys Foundation, a non-profit in the spirit of late Dons baseball coach Dante Benedetti that brings sports to underprivileged children. Sponsors include Original Joe’s and the San Francisco Giants.
Longtime Lowell soccer coach Ernie Feibusch and legendary St. Ignatius basketball coach Bob Drucker — whose name graces the Wildcats’ basketball court — will be given the Dante Benedetti Trophy, a lifetime achievement award.
The trophies given out to high school athletes also honor former Italian-American greats who called San Francisco their home, including the Kevin Restani Trophy, which will be given to the top male and female prep basketball players in San Francisco.
The girls’ honoree is Leadership’s Miyah Lewis-Hampton, who will join San Jose State next year on scholarship. Lewis-Hampton averaged an outlandish 27.3 points per game in her senior year, and as a junior, she scored 56 in a game against Washington. Typically under the radar because of Leadership’s place in the AAA’s lower division, Lewis-Hampton will be honored alongside members of all three leagues that comprise high school sports in San Francisco.
Owen Mahoney, fresh off his heroic performance to lead Lowell baseball to a sixth consecutive AAA championship, will be among the candidates for the SFIAC Athlete of the Year Award. He closed out Monday’s championship at AT&T Park to win his fourth AAA title, but his biggest performance came on Thursday. Mahoney entered the AAA semifinal at Golden Gate Park in a scoreless tie with Washington, with the bases loaded in the fifth inning. He got two outs to get out of the fifth and ended up pitching the last 2 2/3 innings for a 1-0 win.
Galileo’s state champion football team will also be recognized as guests of honor, with sophomore Yarvell Smith earning the Vince Tringali Football Trophy after leading the Lions to the CIF Division 6-A Championship. That game was played all the way down in Calexico, but come Monday, the Lions will be honored just a mile from their campus, surrounded by peers not only from other City football teams, but other student-athletes from around San Francisco as well.
Other honorees include University basketball star Spencer Spivy; St. Ignatius soccer goalie Nathan Kushner, who helped lead the Wildcats to a Northern California Division I title; and Sacred Heart Cathedral baseball standout Martin Chavarria, who will continue his career at the University of the Pacific.
Limited tickets are still available at www.sfiac.org. They are $50 for high school families, $65 for SFIAC members and $80 for the public. Tickets include not only a night surrounded by past and present San Francisco greats, but a spaghetti dinner and wine.