GLENDALE, Arizona (WKBN) – The Valley will have a local tie this Sunday in the Super Bowl.
Former football standout and coach Donald D’Alesio will be on the sideline for the game.
“Last week was really when I started to really think about it hard, like, wow, I’m really actually coaching in the Super Bowl or going to be coaching in the Super Bowl,” D’Alesio said.
The 2010 Cardinal Mooney graduate is the safeties coach for the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs.
“You know, it starts with a lot of hard work,” added D’Alesio. “God has blessed me. And also I’ve surrounded myself with a lot of great people.”
That includes his former high school head coach, P.J. Fecko.
“With his knowledge of the game, his competitiveness, his work ethic and his intelligence, I knew that at some point it was going to take him to a very successful place,” Fecko said.
D’Alesio helped lead Cardinal Mooney to a state title in 2009 and later went on to play collegiately at Youngstown State. Following his playing days, he was eventually hired as an assistant coach at YSU by former Penguins’ head coach Bo Pelini.
“He (Pelini) was the first one who kind of gave me my opportunity to coach. I was able to learn under him and from him at a young age right when I got into it. And he taught me the right way, you know how to coach X’s and O’s defensive football,” added D’Alesio.
A lifelong football fan, D’Alesio now shares a locker room with NFL stars like Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce.
“They just become like normal people to you,” D’Alesio said with a smile. “And that’s what they are. You know, once you get to know these guys, you know, everybody sees them from the outside. But as you spend so much time with them, they’re all great guys.”
And he’s hopeful that local football will be cheering for Kansas City, supporting one of the valley’s own in Super Bowl LVII.
“You know, for me to have this opportunity at this point in my career, it’s special,” said D’Alesio. “It’s something that, you know, you got to take advantage of because you don’t ever know if you’re going to be back and have this opportunity again. I hope we got a lot of fans back home in the Valley and all the support is greatly appreciated. And again, I appreciate all of the support, everything from back home and I wouldn’t be here today without Youngstown.”
Super Bowl LVII will kick off Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on FOX Youngstown.