Both my wife and I went to Youngstown State. At that time, if you were going to see a winning team, you went to a basketball (or maybe baseball) game coached by Dom Rosselli. During the 1975-76 season, our last at YSU, Rosselli won his 500th victory in basketball
The write-up about this milestone in the 1976 Neon (the YSU yearbook), said this about Rosselli:
“All the credit for win number 500 and every triumph leading to it were given to his players past and present by the humble Rosselli who especially recognized his assistant Bob Chuey, who also played under Dom at Y.S.U. He also gives much credit to his wife, Connie, who understands her husband’s work and has been a big factor in Dom’s success.”
Rosselli’s humble character didn’t prevent him from being a passionate and inspiring coach who found ways to win. I still remember an epic game against Cleveland State during which Jeff Covington scored 41 points. [I played a small part in Jeff Covington’s success at YSU as a tutor for him during his freshman year–great guy!].
According to the YSU Athletics Hall of Fame website, Roselli ended his coaching career in 1982 with a career record of 600-393 (a .604 winning percentage). He had eleven 20-plus win seasons including a 24-3 season in 1963-64 and a 23-14 record in his final season. He also coached the Penguin baseball team from 1948 to 1982 to a 490-314 record (with no baseball team from 1951-1957). He coached Major League pitching star Dave Dravecky during college.
All told, Rosselli won over 1,000 career victories at Youngstown State, more than any coach in Penguin history. His coaching career started before World War II where he served as an Air Force captain and then returned to coaching. He took the YSU basketball program from the NAIA to NCAA Division II and finally to Division I.
Ironically, while Rosselli grew up in Youngstown, he played college sports at Geneva College, where he led their football team to victory against the Youngstown College team in its first season. Thankfully, after graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh he came back to Youngstown as an assistant coach under “Dike” Beede before taking over the basketball coach job in 1940-41.
He was elected to the Curbstone Coaches Hall of Fame in 1978 and to the YSU Athletics Hall of Fame in its charter class of 1985. He died on October 7, 2008 at age 93.
Dom Roselli is a true hometown hero for Youngstown. My memories of home games at Beeghly Center were memories of victories. I don’t remember the losses. Most of all, I remember Dom Roselli as a real winner and a class act.