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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte Catholic High School welcomed two new members to its Hall of Fame – one of the best football players ever to take Jim Oddo Field, and a distinguished alumnus who has made a name for himself on Broadway.

The CCHS Alumni Association honored Mario Acitelli (Class of ’06) and Matt Olin (Class of ’91) during a pregame reception, and presented them with the Hall of Fame Award at halftime of the Sept. 22 football game at Keffer Stadium. Alumni Association President Nikki Doulé Warren and Principal Kurt Telford presented the awards.

Mario Acitelli graduated from Charlotte Catholic in 2006. In his football career at Catholic, he was a three-year, two-way starter. He led the Cougars to 32 straight wins and back-to-back state championships in 2004 and 2005. He was voted the school’s first-ever All-American and first All-State selection player in 28 years (since Frank Lampke). In football, he was a two-time All-State and three-time All-Conference player, and a Prep Nation All-American. He lettered all four years in football, and was nominated for the Wendy’s High School Heisman, all while maintaining a 4.1 grade-point average. He was also a three-year starter in lacrosse. He was selected for the Queen City Top 50, the North Carolina Great 38 and the North Carolina High School Lacrosse Association All-State team. He helped lead the school’s lacrosse team to a state championship during his junior year.

As a four-year starter and team captain for the Appalachian State Mountaineers, Acitelli was a member of the 2006 and 2007 National Championship teams. Additionally, he won the 2009 Jacobs Blocking Trophy, which is awarded to the Southern Conference’s top offensive lineman. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Appalachian State University.

After his playing career, he spent a season as a student assistant coach for Appalachian, and three years at the University of Texas as a graduate assistant coach, working with the offensive line and the offensive coordinator. He earned a master’s degree in advertising while at the University of Texas.

He was joined on the field by his wife, the former Sara Cline, and their daughter, Leona Erin. They live in Williamsburg, Va,, where he is the tight ends and fullbacks coach and the special teams coordinator for the College of William and Mary.

Matt Olin graduated from Charlotte Catholic in 1991. Hee was involved in the drama department and participated in the productions of “Grease,” “Ten Little Indians,” “Godspell” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” He credits longtime teacher Dottie Tippett with providing him with both the opportunities and the creative confidence in high school that led to his career on Broadway and beyond.

He spent 20 years creating and producing theater in Charlotte and New York, winning honors such as 14 Tony Awards, 50 Tony nominations, Obie Awards, Drama Desk Awards and more. Notably, he conceived and developed “The Other Place,” a new play which had a critically-acclaimed off-Broadway world premiere, and garnered many award nominations and wins. The play earned an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for “Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play,” was named by Playbill as one of the “Unforgettable Experiences of 2011,” moved on to an extended, Tony-nominated Broadway run in 2013, and to date has been performed in more than 70 cities.

Olin is the owner of Matt Olin Creative, specializing in copywriting and creativity consulting. He also is the producer and host of CreativeMornings/Charlotte, a monthly breakfast lecture series for the local creative community. He also is the co-creator of “Queen City Quiz Show,” the winner of a 2016 Knight Cities Challenge Grant. He’s been a guest lecturer at SUNY/Borough of Manhattan Community College, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Charlotte, Davidson College, Clemson University and the University of Alabama.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University. He and his wife Sarah have a daughter, Mirabelle. He was not able to attend the reception and game, but friend Tim Miner ’92 accepted the Distinguished Alumnus Award in his place.

When he was told that he had been selected as a member of the Hall of Fame, Olin said, “I can easily connect the dots between any of my professional creative accomplishments and the joyful experiences I had in the CCHS theater and music programs. It’s an honor to be inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame, but it’s really me who should be acknowledging you – Dottie Tippett and all my fellow Cougars – for the opportunities and confidence you provided. What a gift.”

The CCHS Alumni Association Hall of Fame honors outstanding alumni and other dedicated individuals who have demonstrated commitment to the ideals of Charlotte Catholic. Members are selected for outstanding accomplishments in athletics, for distinguishing themselves since graduation, or for selflessly serving the Catholic community.

— Carolyn Kramer Tillman, Special to the Catholic News Herald. Carolyn Kramer Tillman is the assistant director, Advancement and Communications, at Charlotte Catholic High School.