YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Don Bucci died Saturday. He was best known as Cardinal Mooney’s football coach for 34 years but in high school, at East High, he was also Youngstown’s best quarterback.
“I was a young kid when I was coaching a lot of these kids up here,” said Don Bucci in 2010. He said this when he was 10 years removed as Cardinal Mooney’s football coach — but still the school’s athletic director — his office filled with pictures and memories of a career in which he’s still Ohio’s 12 winningest high school football coach of all time.
“I felt they come into our program. It becomes contagious to be a good kid and work hard,” Bucci had said.
Ed Muransky played for Bucci in the late 70s and eventually played in the NFL.
“I have my Michigan stuff on today because none of this in my life if it wasn’t for Don Bucci and Cardinal Mooney,” Muransky said.
“His raspy voice and his way of yelling on the field and saying hello to me for 50 or 60 years I’ll really, really miss,” Muransky said.
Chris Amill played for Bucci in the early 90s.
“I always saw him as a second dad to me,” Amill said. “We were around each other so much.”
Both he and Muransky remember Bucci’s practices as legendary.
“We literally would practice the same double team with the tight end 50 to 60 times per day. Full hitting,” Muransky said.
“I don’t know if he’d be able to coach today. We had 6,7,8 hour practices. There’s time limits on everything now,” Amill said. “But he was a perfectionist. He wanted things to be done right. He wanted things to be done perfect. And when we look back at it, those things now. That why we are who we are.”
Don Bucci won four state championships — and won 77% of his games. He retired after the 1999 season.
“There’s so many things that make this the perfect time to step down. It really does,” Bucci had said.
“God almighty what a legacy,” Muransky said. “It’s a sad day because he’s a fixture in all of our lives from Mooney.”
No information is currently available about Don Bucci’s calling hours and funeral.