South Metropolitan Scholastic Bowl League

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The South Metropolitan Scholastic Bowl League or "South-Metro" or "SMSBL" is a league of schools created specifically to support Scholastic Bowl. The teams comprising the League are found on Chicago's South Side as well as the south, southwest and near west suburbs. Most of the schools compete athletically in the Chicago Catholic League or East Suburban Catholic League. St. Francis is from the Suburban Catholic League. The League is a mix of both small and large schools. All of the schools are private religious schools.


School Town Head Coach (16-17)
Bishop McNamara Fightin' Irish Kankakee Joan Linneman
Brother Rice Crusaders Chicago Michelle England
Fenwick Friars Oak Park Colby Burnett
Joliet Catholic Academy Hilltoppers Joliet Jake Ziesmer
Marist RedHawks Chicago Jeff Nicholson
Mt. Carmel Caravan Chicago Tom Eisenbraun
Providence Celtics New Lenox Chris Tagler
St. Francis Spartans Wheaton Jay Olaszek
St. Laurence Vikings Burbank Carlin Glennon
St. Rita Mustangs Chicago Andrew McIntosh


The SMSBL can be traced to events in 1996. Jim Johns, a highly successful soccer coach had coached the Scholastic Bowl team at St. Joseph before coming to Marist for the 1996-97 school year. With no soccer coaching jobs, he set about starting a scholastic bowl team at Marist with the help of his fellow physics teacher, Tom Egan. The pair hosted a tournament for private schools, and began forming a network of coaches from across the southern part of the City of Chicago and the associated suburbs. Also that year, the pair had attended the February, 1997 Schobofest, an event sponsored by the IHSSBCA. While the pair had already discussed the idea of trying to form a league, the idea was kicked into higher gear when, while attending one of the meetings, it was learned that David Riley at Loyola Academy was already planning to form a league for the north suburban Catholic schools. Susan Rhoades, the coach at Wheaton Academy was given the job of organizing a southern league. When Rhoades was not moving fast enough to get a league started for the next year, she turned the job over to Johns and Egan. Discussion of having a single united league with southern and northern divisions was rebuffed by Riley, though both leagues chose to use parallel names.

In late April, Marist hosted a meeting of the coaches from the eight interested schools. While Fenwick was not represented at the meeting, they joined as a founding member. Joliet Catholic joined the league in July, bringing the total to ten. After the conclusion of the first season, Mt. Carmel joined the league, with St. Francis joining the next autumn, before the league started year two, bringing league membership to twelve. Wheaton Academy eventually dropped out after their third year, and Brother Rice would join years later. The league's second year ended with eight of the twelve teams advancing from the regionals into the sectional tournament, which is believed to be a state record that still stands. This mark is made possible because of the extreme geographic spread of the league, in addition to representatives representing both of Illinois' two classes.

At the time of the April, 1997 meeting, Egan had already been laid off from his job at Marist during a massive downsizing, and had already accepted a job at Maine South. He volunteered to stay on and act as an independent commissioner who would handle finances, scheduling, and question/award ordering. He did so for two years.

The league currently stands at ten members, following the 2011 defection of Timothy Christian and Wheaton Academy to the Metro Suburban League.


Year Varsity Season Tournament F/S Season Tournament
2012 Fenwick Fenwick Providence Providence
2013 Joliet Catholic Fenwick Fenwick Fenwick
2014 Fenwick Fenwick Fenwick Fenwick
2015 Providence Providence Fenwick Providence
2016 Br. Rice Br. Rice Fenwick Fenwick
2017 Fenwick Fenwick St. Laurence St. Laurence

IHSA State Place Winners

Place School (year)
Fourth Place Fenwick (2001, 04)

See Also