Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Monday, October 26, 2009

North American Italian Coaches and GM's Have Long, Rich History

Watching NCAA basketball it's interesting to note the amount of great coaches of Italian descent. Tom Izzo, Rick Pitino and John Calipari all run some of the most successful and important basketball programs in the United States.

So I thought to provide a link summarizing the role of Italian-Americans in college basketball at the National Italian American Experience. Remember Hall of Fame coach Lou Carnesecca at St. John's? I do. And I'm Canadian! Speaking of which, Canadian basketball legend Jay Triano is now coaching the Toronto Raptors of the NBA.

It's not just in pro (Tony di Leo, Vinny del Negro, Mike D'antoni, Mike Fratello, PJ Carlesimo to name a few current and past examples) and college basketball Italians have left their mark. Broadcasting with Joe Garagiola, Dick Vitale and Phil Rizutto for example.

Vince Lombardi: An Iconic Sports Figure

And what's with the Italians in football? Italians, probably more than any sport except for baseball, have left an important mark on the college and professional game. Think Joe Paterno, Vince Lombardi and yes Joe Montana and Dan Marino. Hall of Fame coaches include Carmen Cozza and Len Casanova. Currently, Eric Mangini, Tony Sparano, Jack Del Rio, SteveSpagnuolo all head NFL teams - see list here. The list doesn't include entire staffs. For this go here . There about 40 (six head and/or assistant coaches) in total. Bill Parcells is of Irish-Italian descent - just like Bruce Springsteen. Not sure if Don Shula is Italian. In the CFL, one of the league's all-time great coaches Wally Buono currently heads the B.C. Lions. In the past, Joe Faragalli, Danny Maciocia, Steve Buratto, Ralph Sazio, Al Bruno, Jack Gotta and George Brancato all led their respective teams to Grey Cup titles.

Baseball coaches included Joe Cavaretta, Mike Scioscia, Joe Girardi, Terry Francona, Tommy Lasorda, Tony LaRussa, Joe Torre and Joe Altobelli. Hockey has Lou Lamouriello (who has to be considered among the best GM's in hockey in the past 15 years) and Peter Chiarelli, John Tortarella, Tony Granato and Rick Tocchet. Soccer has Bruce Arena and Bob Lenarduzzi in the U.S. and Canada. Boxing had Cus D'Amato and Angelo Dundee (ne Mirena).

Who were the most influential coaches in your opinion?

And so on. I recognize this is not an in-depth list but to do one would entail a lot, lot, lot of work.

Don't make me list them all but wiki does a decent job.

Note: I plan to put something together shortly about Italy tracking their successes in sports like motor racing (auto and moto), skiing, cycling, soccer, Olympics and other sports.

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