Sam Samorian: Synonymous With Success
This week's Patch Portrait series also features Wilmette's piano man and Morton Grove's Lady Violet.
The words humble, influential and successful do not even begin to describe former Glenbrook North football, wrestling and baseball coach Harold "Sam Samorian." A Rockford native, Samorian graduated from Rockford East High School before attending Drake and Illinois State University. After time spent in the Army, Samorian earned his degree from ISU in 1955 and began his teaching career in central Illinois before moving to Northbrook in 1958.
Samorian's first year as head football coach came in 1964, and ten years later, he led the Spartans to their first-ever Class 5A State Championship, upsetting heavily favored East St. Louis, 19-13, in overtime. In 1975, Samorian was named Illinois High School Football Coach of the Year. (Check out the entire Patch Portrait Series archives.)
An assistant coach to both Glenbrook North's 1966 and 1974 state champion baseball teams, Samorian was a participant in the state finals in four different sports. His longtime work as a high school and collegiate wrestling official also brought numerous accolades.
Samorian was named the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Official of the Year in 1980, acted as the Grand Marshal of the 1990 IHSA State Wrestling Tournament and in 2003, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Adding to his list of accomplishments, Samorian also entered the Illinois State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.
Samorian and his wife, Sylvia, will be married 56 years in August and their four sons (Harold, Michael, Patrick and Thomas) have carried the last name proudly throughout their successes in business and education. Sam and Sylvia have six grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Though Samorian enjoys spending time at his homes in Northern Wisconsin and Arizona, Northbrook has and will always be his true home. At Glenbrook North, he’s remembered, too, where the annual Harold "Sam" Samorian Golden Helmet Award has recognized senior members of GBN's football team since 1992.