At 40 years old, the Dundee-Crown Charger-Komaromy Classic is still his baby

Retired Chargers coach Joe Komaromy comes from Florida home to run holiday tournament

Joe Komaromy makes quite the commute to orchestrate one of the best and longest-running girls holiday basketball tournaments in Illinois.

At 40 years old, it’s still his baby.

Komaromy, the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association hall of famer who led Dundee-Crown to 450 victories and 13 regional titles 1982-2008, even now is making his way to Carpentersville, like Santa, only going the opposite direction.

He and his wife of 47 years, Kathy, come up from Windermere, Florida, west of Orlando, where they settled full-time after the COVID-19 pandemic ended Joe’s decade as an assistant coach at Crystal Lake South. In warmer months they’ve got a place in Wisconsin.

They’ll be here in plenty of time for the 16-team tournament, Dec. 26-29, the former “Charger Classic” renamed the Dundee-Crown Charger-Komaromy Classic in 2016 to honor the coach’s dedication and commitment to the school, and to the tournament.

“It’s always been about the schools and programs and players,” Komaromy said earlier this week from the Clarksville, Tennessee, home of one of their three children, Kristin, whom Joe coached at Dundee-Crown and later recruited as a Classic statistician.

“To me, it’s just bringing together good programs and watching these young players compete. It’s just a great four days of good basketball and it’s always been exciting, and the camaraderie with the coaches has been outstanding,” he said.

And its history?

This is the tournament where in 2001 superstar Candace Parker became the first Illinois girl and believed to be only the second girl nationally to dunk in a game, as a Naperville Central sophomore.

Right off the bat it was a Classic. At its 1983 debut -- also the first year of the merger between Komaromy’s Irving Crown High School and Dundee Community High School -- York beat Dundee-Crown for the tournament title before winning the Class AA championship. Dundee-Crown made the Elite Eight that year and Regina Dominican, also in the Classic field, beat Marshall for third in Class AA.

Overall, the Charger-Komaromy Classic has featured 11 eventual state champions.

A who’s-who of hall of fame coaches has participated. The late Derril Kipp of Maine West won five Classic titles. Tom Dineen at Buffalo Grove; Stevenson’s Frank Mattucci won the Classic from 1993-95 with the Catchings sisters, Tauja and Tamika.

Dave Power’s Fenwick teams won nine in 12 years, interrupted only by Andy Nussbaum’s Naperville Central squad (2002, 2003) and Teri Rodgers at New Trier (2009), the one program beside the host school to play in all 40 Classics.

Off the court, Komaromy credited IBCA media hall of famers John Radtke of the Daily Herald and the Chicago Sun-Times’ Steve Tucker for helping him fairly seed the tournament.

At one point, of course, there was no Dundee-Crown girls holiday basketball tournament.

Crown High School, where Komaromy started in 1975 as a business teacher and took over girls basketball in 1982, competed in a holiday tournament at Glenbrook South.

That tournament expired, Dundee and Crown merged, and between principal Robert Sayre, athletic director Doug Duval and York assistant coach Don Hudgens, they gave Komaromy an offer he couldn’t refuse -- start a tournament.

“I was a young buck. ‘Yeah, sure, whatever,’” said Komaromy, 70.

“It was really good foresight on our part.”

prgbk_4ps021208gl Photo0678774 George LeClaire FOXAfter his last game Dundee-Crown head varsity girls basketball coach Joe Komaromy, left, get a hug fromCrystal Lake South head coach Kyle McCaughn in girls basketball. George LeClaire

Michelle Russell, a 1991 Dundee-Crown graduate who remains the program’s leading scorer and succeeded her friend and mentor as Chargers coach, will surely give him a hug after the tournament kicks off Monday.

“For him to run this tournament, it’s a lot,” said Russell, now assisting Class of 2024 IBCA hall of famer Steve Raethz at Huntley.

“He hasn’t even been coaching at Dundee-Crown, but he’s been running this tournament still. That’s why it’s a big deal. He loves it,” Russell said.

Komaromy will maintain the stats, make sure things run smoothly, revisit friends and coaches in and out of Dundee-Crown, and otherwise relish why he does return after 40 years.

“It still gives me four days of being in a gym,” he said.

Sharing the basketball

In Waubonsie Valley’s 69-26 DuPage Valley Conference victory over DeKalb on Dec. 14, the Warriors girls basketball team placed six players between 17 and 7 points.

For the season, Danyella Mporokoso is averaging 20.8 points followed by Hannah Laub (12.6), Arianna Garcia (11.8), Lily Newton (9.1) and Maya Cobb (8.5).

It is no wonder Waubonsie’s record is 12-1.

Tomorrow’s prep stars -- today!

The 11-and-under Addison Cowboys powered to a national championship Dec. 8 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

Coach Dino Cardone’s Cowboys won the Division 2 11U Pop Warner Super Bowl with an 18-0 victory over the Enon Eagles, out of Pennsylvania.

Coming off a 2022 runner-up finish in last year’s Super Bowl at the 10U level, Addison creamed the competition on the national stage.

In the quarterfinals on Dec. 2, the Cowboys beat the Westside Eagles, of Hawaii, 30-0. They followed that with a 38-0 victory over the Capital City Ravens out of South Carolina on Dec. 5.

An Illinois team also won the Division I 13U championship. The Illinois Junior Celtics (think Providence Catholic) beat Florida’s Westchase Colts, 41-8.

The Dixmoor Vikings, located near Thornton High School, made the Division I 11U title game but lost 26-0 to Florida’s Avalon Wolves.

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