John Rocco "Pep" Panelli

1943 1st Morristown High School grad to make All-State football
1944-45 Cheshire Academy prep school : Won “Mr. Cheshire” award for athlete, scholar and gentleman. Lettered in Baseball, Football, Basketball.
1945-49 Graduated from University of Notre Dame in 3 ½ years. Earned 4 letters in football. Played for '46 National championship team. Starting fullback for ‘47 National Championship team. Starting fullback for #2 undefeated rank team. AP third team All-American. All American on Frank Leahy and Bill Stearns teams.
1948 Awarded UNICO (Italian American) “Most Outstanding Athlete” trophy
Awarded William Coffman trophy for “Most Outstanding Player” in the East-West Shrine all-star game. Played in Chicago Tribune All-Star game.
1949-50 Detroit Lions #1 draft pick and 12th in the overall draft. Played with the Lions as starting fullback and linebacker for 2 seasons.
1951-53 Played 3 seasons as defensive fullback and defensive captain for Chicago Cardinals.
Founded J.R. Panelli Equipment Co., a heavy construction equipment dealership.
1957 President of the Michigan Dealers Association
1957-58 President of the Notre Dame Monogram Club.
President of Detroit Lions Alumni Association.
1959-60 A founding member and 3rd President of the Detroit Chapter of the National Football Foundation & Hall of Fame.
1963 President - Notre Dame Club of Detroit (served on board for 9 years)
President of the Birmingham Country Club
1965 Notre Dame Club of Detroit – “Man of the Year” award
Assisted ND football coaches by actively recruiting High School talent to play ball at ND. Recruits included Greg Marx, Greg Collins, John Ciskowski, Drew Mahalik.
1968 Trustee of NFL Alumni Foundation Trust
1968 Inducted into the Willie Heston Michigan Sports Hall of Fame
Founding member and 2nd President of National Football League Alumni Association. (served as Vice President for 17 years until 1990; 12 years as Chair of Executive Committee).
1971-73 Vice President of University of Notre Dame Alumni Board in charge of Academic Affairs.
Won the Birmingham Country Club Invitational Golf tournament an unprecedented 10 times with his pal Bud Stevens.

Inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame

Member of the Cherry Bowl selection Committee
Received the Joseph Carey Distinguished American Award presented by the Michigan Chapter of the National Football Foundation

Inducted into the Cheshire Academy Hall of Fame

1997 Winner of the All-American Football Foundation's “Unsung Hero Award”
1999 Inducted into the Morristown High School Hall of Fame
2000 Made the Newark Star-Ledger All-Century New Jersey High School team.
2000 Inducted into the Birmingham Country Club Hall of Fame
John Panelli was given a chapter in Ara Parsegian's book "What it means to be Fighting Irish - Ara Parsegian and NotreDame's Greatest Players"
Involved in many charity activities helping to organize celebrity golf . Fundraisers including the Saint Louis Center and the NFL Alumni Super Bowl of Golf series.