Eddi Chittaro receives the nod for induction into the Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame, an organization he knows well. Chittaro formerly chaired the Hall and received its Distinguished Service Award in 2009.
Chittaro has deep roots in the local sports community and he was always interested in how the local teams and athletes fared – even as a boy. Chittaro came to sports through his older brother and friends in the neighbourhood who were always up for a game.
“My love of playing kept me in school,” acknowledged Chittaro. “And that led to me graduating from university with a B.A. and a M.A., which led to my career as a secondary school counsellor, teacher and coach.” Chittaro was involved with a lot of different local teams but he might be most readily identifiable for his work on the sidelines for the University of Windsor Lancers men’s basketball clubs, coaching them to divisional, provincial and national titles. Chittaro was on the coaching staff, helping lead the Assumption/Windsor clubs to five national crowns in a seven-year span in the 1960s, establishing the first dynasty in Canadian university basketball history. The 1969 championship, the last of the run, Chittaro was the head coach. For his work with the Lancers he was inducted to the University’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.
Cittaro’s name is continually connected to prestigious awards. In 2010, he was one of the University of Windsor’s Clark Awards recipients. The Clark Award recognizes outstanding personal service of both alumni volunteers and friends of the university who have made significant commitments in time, energy, and expertise by serving on UWindsor boards, committees or campaigns; or have worked extensively to increase the profile and reputation of the university. Last year, Cittaro was honoured at the WESPY Awards when he was the recipient of the Male Legacy Award. In 2019, the University took matters a step further and began a new award in his honour, the Eddi Chittaro Assistant Coach of the Year. Women’s assistant basketball coach Tom Foster was the first-ever winner of this award. Reflecting now, Chittaro says it was the trust placed in him by others that allowed him to succeed.
“I was given many opportunities and trust by administrators, teachers, coaches and athletes. They had confidence that I could help student-athletes, both with athletic success and personal growth,” he said.
Chittaro knows he could not have done this alone and is mindful of the family supports in place that allowed him to pursue a life in sports. His wife Evelyn has been by his side for 54 years. All those times Chittaro was on the road with the team, Evelyn stepped up in his absence and assumed additional roles in raising their three children. He’s forever appreciative of that.
“I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be associated with the dedicated, supportive and committed teammates, players and assistants during those many successful and challenging years,” Chittaro said.
Few local names have been as prominent in the community’s athletic landscape and the Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame is proud to induct Eddi Chittaro to the class of 2019.