CLEVELAND - Legendary teacher and football coach Joe Vadini passed away peacefully surrounded by his family, on his 83rd birthday Easter Sunday.
Joe Vadini, a graduate of John Marshall High School in 1948, excelled in football, wrestling and baseball. He was a member of the National Honor Society.
After high school, he went to Morningside College in Iowa where he played football for the legendary Coach George Allen. He earned a varsity letter there before transferring to Mount Union College. At Mount Union, he was named "Ohio Conference First Team Fullback" and "All Ohio First Team Linebacker in 1951.
In 1952, he played football for the U.S. Army, Camp Breckenridge where the team was all Army Champions. He was involved in amateur baseball from 1943-1952.
When at Mount Union, he met his wife Thelma Vizzuso. They were married for 56 years before she passed away in August of 2011.
After college, Coach Vadini coached at his alma mater, John Marshall. He was an assistant football coach and assistant wrestling coach from 1954-1957.
He then went on to teach and coach at Brecksville High School. He taught history, physical education and eventually became a guidance counselor. Coach Vadini was the head football coach at Brecksville High School from 1958-1984. His overall record there was 172, wins, 67 losses, and 9 ties. His teams won 8 league championships, one regional championship, and one state championship. He had four unbeaten teams in the years 1963, 1964, 1972, and 1983. He finished his Brecksville coaching career in 1983 with a "Division 2 State Championship."
Besides coaching football at Brecksville, Coach Vadini was also the head wrestling coach were he founded the program. He was one of the co-founders for the Brecksville Holiday Tournament which is the oldest holiday tournament in Ohio.
In his storybook ending at Brecksville in 1984, Coach Vadini retired and then went on to become a guidance counselor and defensive coordinator for Padua Franciscan High School. He coached football at Padua for 22 years.
After Padua, he then went on to coach football and wrestling with his son, Joe Junior at North Royalton Middle School.
Some of his numerous honors and awards include: League Coach of the year- 6 times, Greater Cleveland Coach of the year in 1972, Northeast Coach of the Year in 1972, 1975, and 1983, Sun West Coach of the Year 1984, State AAA Coach of the Year 1983, Head Coach Cuyahoga County East/West All Star Game in 1974, Head Coach of North/South All Star Game in 1984, Ohio High School Football Coaches' Hall of Fame, Brecksville High School Hall of Fame, John Marshall Hall of Fame, Mount Union Hall of Fame, Parma Athletic Hall of Fame, Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, Lee Tressel Award, Cleveland Touchdown Club, Tip of the Hat Award (Sports Media Association of Cleveland).
Coach Vadini was also an usher for Holy Family Church in Parma for 35 years. He was involved in Parma planning commission for eleven years, and gave numerous talks to different organizations. He is survived by his four children: Tony (Chris), Mark (Joanie), Cindy (Tim), Joe (Beth), and eight grandchildren.
Coach Vadini 's Wake is Thursday, April 4th, Ripepi and Sons on Bagley Road from 2:00-4:00, then again from 5:00-8:00. The Funeral Mass will be April 5th at Holy Family Church in Parma at 10:00 a.m. with The Bishop Rogers.