Legendary Basketball/Baseball Coach Dom Rosselli
In his 38 years as the head men's basketball coach at Youngstown State University, Dom Rosselli coached in 977 basketball games and won an impressive 60 percent of those contests. But besides coaching on the hardwood, he was also the Penguins' baseball coach for 31 years and was an assistant football coach for more than 20 years. So to say the least he was a busy man.
His main success was on the basketball court where he finished his tenure on the YSU sideline with an overall record of 589-388. He began his YSU coaching career in 1940 after graduating from Geneva College in 1939. He coached the Penguins for two seasons before World War II duty as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force took him off the court and overseas.
Upon his return from the war, Rosselli was very involved in YSU athletics. Rosselli returned to full-time duty on the basketball court as soon as he returned from the war.
He was an assistant coach on the football team before the war and when he returned in 1946 he returned to his assistant's position until 1963. He took over the Penguin baseball program and was the coach from 1948-50. In 1958, he was back with the Penguin baseball team and for the next 24 years was a fixture in the dugout. His YSU baseball coaching record was 418-219 (.656 winning percentage), including two NAIA District Championships and three appearances in the NCAA Playoffs.
All totaled, as a head basketball and baseball coach, Rosselli had a 1,007-607 record.
A Youngstown area native, basketball was his passion.
In his 39 years, YSU had eight 20-win seasons, 26 winning seasons, won 19 postseason games, appeared in four NAIA National Tournaments and nine NCAA Regional Tournaments. Rosselli earned accolades for his efforts as well begin named the NCAA Division IV Coach of the Year, Ohio College Coach of the Year in 1957 and 1964 and the Italian Coach of the Year in 1958.
When he retired following the 1982 season, he was ranked 10th in NCAA history in lifetime collegiate victories. He recorded the second-most wins in NCAA Division II history in coaching 39 seasons.
His most successful run as the Penguins' mentor came from 1962 through 1972. In those 10 seasons, YSU never won fewer than 17 games and did not lose more than nine contests. Four of his eight 20-win years came during that span as he owned a coaching record of 197-67.
In 1963-64, Rosselli had his most successful regular season as the Penguins won a school-record 24 games finishing with a 24-3 mark.
Twice YSU advanced to the Elite Eight of the NAIA National Tournament in 1956-57 and 1957-58. Both times the Penguins won their first two games before losing in the quarterfinals.
Rosselli's area lore began when he was a quarterback at Rayen High School in the early 1930's. After graduating he was a standout football and basketball player for Geneva College. In 1939 he earned his degree from Geneva and came to Youngstown College in the fall of 1940.
That first year at YSU he was an assistant on Dwight Beede's football staff and Ray Sweeney's basketball staff. Rosselli and Beede first teamed up at Geneva where Beede was the head football coach.