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Announcing the 2018 Inductees and Honorees

CHICAGO – The National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame is proud to announce inductees and honorees for the 41st Annual Induction & Awards Gala to take place at a dinner on Saturday, November 3rd, in the Crystal Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.  The program will be emceed by 2016 Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza and New York Mets Radio Announcer Wayne Randazzo.  Many previous inductees, members of the media and individuals of the sports world will be in attendance.

The NIASHF Class of 2018 inductees include Gina Carano, Rocco B. Commisso, Joe Girardi and Gene PingatorePerry Mandera will be honored as the Sportsman of the Year.

Gina Carano began her training with straight Muay Thai to competitive MMA, where she competed in Strikeforce and EliteXC. She was featured in ESPN The Magazine as well as Maxim. She was ranked 5th on a list of the “Top 10 Influential Women” of 2008.  Carano compiled a competitive record of 12–1–1 in Muay Thai and a 7–1 in women’s MMA before retiring in 2009.  Carano will be the first Mixed Martial Artist inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.

Rocco B. Commisso played soccer for the Columbia University Lions in the 1967–1970 period. He is a three time All-Ivy League Honoree.  Commisso served as co-captain of the 1970 team that went 9-4-0 and made Columbia’s first ever appearance in the NCAA men’s soccer tournament. Commisso’s commitment to the sport of soccer is second to none.  In 2013, Columbia named its venue as the Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium.  Commisso is the Founder and CEO of Mediacom Communications, the 5th largest cable company in the U.S. and since 2017, the Owner and Chairman of the legendary New York Cosmos.

Joe Girardi played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Chicago Cubs, the Colorado Rockies, the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals. With the Yankees, Girardi won three World Series Championships as a player. In 2006, he managed the Florida Marlins and was named the National League Manager of the Year. Girardi managed the Yankees from 2008 to 2017, winning the 2009 World Series.

Gene Pingatore has been head coach of St. Joseph High School Basketball for 48 years. Pingatore’s Charger teams have captured 27 East Suburban Catholic Conference Championships, 2 Catholic League North titles, 9 prestigious Proviso West Holiday Tournament Championships, 34 state regional titles, 13 state sectional titles, 2 state championships and St. Joseph had the most wins in the State of Illinois in the 80’s. Pingatore became the all-time win leader in the State of Illinois in February 2017 with his 1000th win. 

Perry Mandera will be honored as the 2018 Michael J. Roarty Sportsman of the Year.  A leader in the transportation industry, he is CEO and Founder of The Custom Companies and Logistics, Inc.  Mandera’s philanthropic dedication to various charitable causes supporting Veterans, Cancer, Youth and more resulted in a unanimous selection as the recipient of this year’s award.

The National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded on the values of Family, Friends, Faith and Community. The museum is located at 1431 West Taylor Street in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood.  For more information on the gala dinner, please call (312) 226-5566 or email