Suburban attorney and DePaul Hall of Famer mourned

  • Team captain Mike Norris, left, being interviewed during the 1967 DePaul University basketball season.

    Team captain Mike Norris, left, being interviewed during the 1967 DePaul University basketball season. Courtesy of DePaul University

 
By Eileen O. Daday
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 1/29/2015 5:25 PM

Schaumburg attorney Michael Norris held a unique spot in the annals of men's basketball at DePaul University.

Not only did he lead the team in scoring his senior year, but he captained a team that played in one of the most weather-impacted games in school history, during the historic 1967 blizzard.

 

DePaul played host to Niagara, and everybody braved more than two feet of snow before DePaul got the 78-65 win in iconic Alumni Hall.

Norris passed away on Saturday, nearly 48 years to the day after Chicago's memorable snowstorm. He was 70.

"He was always a great shooter, but he was also a great teammate," said Doug Bruno, now the head coach of DePaul's women's basketball team, who played basketball at DePaul the year Norris graduated.

"I watched him as a high schooler," Bruno added, "and then saw the way his teammates greeted him when he came back (to visit). It was with such warmth."

Norris played under legendary coach Ray Meyer, and helped lead his team to a 71-60 win over Xavier to give Meyer his 400th career win on Feb. 11, 1967.

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His senior season, DePaul finished 17-8 with wins over Villanova, Marquette and Notre Dame.

"He was a special guard in an era of the '60s when you had some great guard play," Bruno added of Norris, who averaged 17 points per game his senior year. "He was a great, classic shooter, who also shared the ball and worked to set up his teammates."

After graduating in 1967, Norris returned to DePaul to attend law school at night, while teaching at Fenwick High School.

He passed the bar in 1971 and joined the Cook County State's Attorney's office, where he stayed until 1977. He opened a private practice, establishing a well-respected firm in Schaumburg, which he ran with his son-in-law, John Callahan.

For Norris, who lived in Long Grove, one of his most memorable moments came in 1992 when he was inducted into DePaul's Hall of Fame.

He was part of a five-member class that also included 1966 basketball team captain Tom Meyer -- whose father, Ray, and brother, Joey, were on hand -- as well as former tennis star Steve Zalinski, track coach Thomas Meehan and runner Bill Drennan.

University officials mourned the passing of one of their Hall of Famers this week, but they will celebrate Norris' life on March 1, during DePaul's Hall of Fame Memorial Mass in the St. Louise de Marillac Chapel on the first floor of the DePaul Student Center.

There, DePaul will honor Hall of Fame inductees who have died since the 2013 Hall of Fame banquet. They include Rich Bokor of Palatine, an educator and longtime member of the Palatine Township Elementary District 15 school board, who was at one time among the world leaders in the 600-yard dash.

Norris is survived by his wife, Barbara, and daughter, Robin (John) Callahan, and three grandchildren. Visitation will be held 3-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30, at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St. in Oak Park. Funeral services will be private.

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