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Rayen Stadium field gets a name

Published: Wed, June 27, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.

New gridiron will honor ’30s star Jack Antonucci

By Denise Dick



The football field at Rayen Stadium will be named Jack Antonucci Field in honor of the Rayen alumnus who played at the original stadium.

John and Marsha Antonucci donated $100,000 to name the field in honor of John’s father.

“Thank you for giving the kids of Youngstown city the opportunity to fulfill their dreams at Rayen Stadium,” John Antonucci said.

Jack Antonucci was on the same all-city football team as Bob Dove and Frank Sinkwich, said Ed Matey, city schools athletic director.

Both Dove and Sinkwich went on to become All-Americans, and Sinkwich won the Heisman Trophy in 1942 while at the University of Georgia.

Dove, who played football at the University of Notre Dame, graduated from the former South High School, and Sinkwich graduated from Chaney High School. Both men played professionally.

Matey also announced several other donations to the Rayen Stadium renovation project.

The Home Savings and Loan Charitable Trust donated $25,000; United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley and an anonymous donor each contributed $20,000; and Mason Funeral Home and Rachel Hanni, a school-board member, each contributed $1,000.

That puts the campaign at about $1.98 million, and $3 million is the goal.

The project will restore the dilapidated Rayen Stadium to its former splendor and have it ready for the first game of the upcoming football season, Aug. 25, when East and Ursuline high schools will face off.

Matey said the project is on schedule.

The original stadium was built in 1924. But city high-school varsity football players haven’t played on a home field since 1993. Teams played most of their games away or paid to use the Youngstown State University field at Stambaugh Stadium.

Up until this past school year, middle-school, freshmen and junior-varsity teams played at Rayen, but those games moved to Chaney this year to preserve the Rayen field.

The plan for the new stadium includes synthetic turf, concession area, a press box and updated seating to accommodate 7,000 fans.

The stadium will be used for all varsity, junior-varsity, ninth-grade and middle-school games and will be available for community use, youth football and flag-football teams.

Pennants from all the city’s public high schools — North, South, Rayen, East, Wilson and Chaney — will fly at the top of the finished structure.


1YtownSports(236 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

I understand the outrage of some about this project. If the school system were paying for it, I'd be outraged, too. Perhaps the $3-million would be better spent on books, computers, and other academic related items.
However, the stadium can also be a rallying point for the community. That would be a good way to approach it since the project is going forward. Ursuline might do well to join East in using it as its home field for football. Using Stambaugh Stadium is overkill considering crowd sizes and cost. The fact that it will be used by lots youngsters will be good for them and, hopefully by extension, the neighborhood and the city.
The Youngstown area has long been full of naysayers who would rather wait for something to fail instead of helping it succeed. Which is it going to be this time?

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2DwightK(1292 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Some people would complain about carrying gold to the bank if you gave them some.

I think it's a worthwhile project and I commend the private donors who are making it possible.

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3youngspartanrepublican(92 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

If it's private money, who cares? Let them spend the money how they want.

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4Tigerlily(495 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

If only more people cried in outrage when YSU spends inordinate amounts on their sports programs as opposed to their education programs. No one bats an eye at that.

And that IS public money.

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5walter_sobchak(1950 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

All of the school buildings in the Y-town School District were constructed within the last 10 years. Interscholastic athletics can be a good motivator for students to remain focused on their educational activities. It is part of the school experience for both the athletes, the student body in general, and hopefully, parents and community. Why is it because this is inner-city that we should expect less for these kids? I witnessed the East-Hubbard football game last season and it was excellent! East should be very proud of their team and they deserve to have their own home stadium. It is being constructed with private funds and I have been one of the contributors. We should be grateful that there are some in the community that are trying to make it a better place.

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6oldstown(203 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

So private money was used to build the stadium. BFD. Facilities like this need continuous maintenance, and that maintenance ain't cheap, and I sure as hell would be willing to bet that no private donor in his/her right mind is willing to take THAT on.

This is just another expensive albatross that Youngstown doesn't need and can't afford to maintain. I predict that within five years, maybe fewer, it will be abandoned and reclaimed by nature and vandals.

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7thinkthentalk(269 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Im with you Walter and Dwight. Kudos to everyone that made this a reality. I will take in a game there sometime this season. i wanna see how it looks, bring back some good memories. Parking, hmm, years ago we played there packed the place, and parked somewhere, i dunno know where, probably on a sidestreet and walked a few blocks. Same thing when we played at South.

Support these kids, its a good cheap night out.
Shame on you naysayers. Bash anything about Y-town. Covelli center. Stay at home and get old then, its sad you dont know how much life you are missing.

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8thinkthentalk(269 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

St Eds School. thats where we parked.

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9nupanther(24 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

You talk about safety (a fair concern), however I hardly hear anyone talk about safety at YSU. Yeah, you got the lots of Fifth, but when you go back a ways on the side streets, it is very dark and the immediate neighborhood is in poorer straits than the Benita area. I say give it a chance and take in a game. I also would like to see Ursuline use it for their "lesser" games (senate league schools, for example). Probably will save them some money

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10HaydenThomas(208 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

The surest way to tell when an area is in decline is they spend stupid money on entertainment venues. Covelli center white elephant that the city of Youngstown can;t afford and now this.

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