POLAND, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Don F. Bucci, 89, of Poland, passed away peacefully on Saturday evening, February 11, 2023 surrounded by his loving family.
Don left a lasting impression on so many students, coaches, players and friends throughout the Mahoning Valley that his memories will never be forgotten.
He was born April 21, 1933 in New Castle, Pennsylvania, the son of Michael and Florence (Profillio) Bucci and moved to the east side of Youngstown as a young child.
Don always had a passion for football and was a 1951 graduate of East High School. While at East he made All City East starting quarterback. He also earned the place of All State quarterback in 1950 / starting quarterback on North Squad in Ohio North – South All Star Game. Because of his talent and ability, Don was recruited by and went on to the University of Notre Dame. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce along with playing back up quarterback and second string defensive back for Notre Dame. It was in his junior year, where he was the starting quarterback against Oklahoma and played against Purdue, North Carolina and Navy. Unfortunately during the Navy game he got hurt by dislocating his shoulder. Don went on to coach the Notre Dame freshman team as a playing senior.
Following his collegiate career at Norte Dame, Don moved on to Mt. Carmel High School in Auburn, New York in 1955. After six seasons, he then returned to Youngstown to serve as Assistant Coach and Athletic Director to Denny Barrett at Cardinal Mooney in 1961. In 1966, Don became Head Football Coach and won the Youngstown City Series championship in 1966 and 1967. In 1970 Mooney joined the Steel Valley Conference and Don won his first Steel Valley Championship in 1971. In 1973 he won the Steel Valley Conference and the AAA State Championship. He had the unique honor of both having played and coached in the annual Ohio All Star Classic as an All-State quarterback for East in 1950 and was picked to lead the North Unit in 1973 as coach to a 21-0 win over the South Squad. In all, he won 18 Steel Valley Conference Championships and four state titles. He was a one-time state runner up and ten-time state semifinalist.
Don is 12th in all time wins in Ohio, having amassed a record of 306-89-5 in 34 years heading up the Cardinals program. He led Cardinal Mooney to a total of four state championships–1973, 1980, 1982 and 1987. Don retired from Cardinal Mooney as Head Coach following the 1999 season and retired as Athletic Director in 2020.
Don was inducted into the Ohio High School Coaches Hall of Fame, Curbstone Coaches Hall of Fame and National High School Coaches Hall of Fame.
Although his achievements and wins are vast, his greatest accomplishments in life were those off the field. He was a true patriarch for his family and centered his life around his wife, children and grandchildren. He always looked forward to having his family surrounding him for Sunday dinners and the holidays.
Don married the love of his life, the former Rosemarie Sanaito, on February 19, 1955 and together they shared over 60 wonderful years together until her passing on June 7, 2015. “She was truly the woman behind the man”. She loved her football and supported her husband and his teams for many years by sitting in the stands and rooting them on to victory.
Don leaves to cherish his memories of his five children, Regina Bucci, Donald (Diane) Bucci, David (Stephanie) Bucci, Dennis (Monica) Bucci and Doug (Melissa) Bucci; 12 grandchildren, Nicole, Aleece, Gary, Michael-John, Peter, Donald F., II, Jonathan , Elizabeth, Nicholas, Dominic and Jade; four great-grandchildren, Xavier, Ariyana, Alyssa and Anthony, along many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Besides his parents and wife, Don was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Stephanie Bucci and his four brothers, Henry, Alfred, William and Art Bucci.
Friends and family may pay their respects on Thursday, February 16, 2023 from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Rossi & Santucci Funeral Home, 4221 Market Street, Boardman.
There will be a Mass of Christian Burial on Friday, February 17, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Family Church, 2729 Center Road (RT 224), Poland. Everyone is asked to meet directly at church on Friday morning to celebrate Don’s mass.
Burial will take place at Poland Riverside Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers material contributions may be made in Don’s name to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.
Family and friends my visit www.rossisantuccifh.com to send condolences to the Bucci family.
A television tribute will air Wednesday, February 15 at the following approximate times: 6:47 a.m. on WYTV, 9:43 a.m. on WKBN, 10:58 a.m. on FOX and 8:12 p.m. on MyYTV. Video will be posted here the day of airing.