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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.


1fcb(463 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Dumb,dumb,dumb.All that money to a football field in the north side of Youngstown! All the names of the old players is great but that was in the 40's and 50's.This is another day and time. I said it before.Fights,muggings,cars stolen,and God forbid,murders. Does any one remember the murder at South High field a few years back? That was at a peewee football game,in broad day light! What makes these people think it's not going to happen at this new field? Security? Yea right! Friday and Saturday nights,drinking,drugs.,all a mixture for bad things to happen. What a shame that money couldn't have been used to feed the hungry,cloth and support shelters for the homeless,give single mothers a safe and warm place to have their babies.$3 million dollars for a football field!! What a waste. One last point.United Way donated $20,000 to the project! Since when did they start helping build football fields?I thought that their money went to help charities. Not another one of my dollars will go to United Way,and to think that for 35 years while I was working I donated to the United Way campaign every year. This whole idea sickens me.

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2YtownSports(306 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month 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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3DwightK(1537 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month 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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4youngspartanrepublican(92 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

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

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5Tigerlily(509 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month 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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6walter_sobchak(2727 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month 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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7fcb(463 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

After my post this morning I decided to drive by the "New Football Field". Oh yea,they are working hard.A new LARGE PRESS BOX is already up,new lighting,and they are in the process in putting in new seating,per the vindicator, will seat 7000 people. All looks very nice.However, take a drive around the new stadium,then please tell me where these 7000 people are going to park their cars! No Parking! You might be able to park up by gypsy Lane about a mile away. No one is talking about not doing anything for the inter city Walter. How can $3 million dollars better serve the inter-city?By giving the kids a place to spend 2 1/2 hours on Friday and Saturday nights or providing a place to learn job skills,respect for their community.how about a library.What a waste and the future will tell that I am right.

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8oldstown(267 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month 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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9thinkthentalk(310 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month 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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10thinkthentalk(310 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

St Eds School. thats where we parked.

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11YSU_Alumna(60 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Football is important part of high school social life and tradition. I went to The Rayen High School in the seventies and was heartbroken when they tore it down. Kudos to those who want to be a part of a solution rather than complaining about a problem. It's good to see people trying to build the city up instead of tearing it down. I would never think to tell people how to spend their money and where to contribute. God bless those that can and do donate.

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12HaydenThomas(208 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month 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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