Chaney legend Louis ‘Red’ Angelo, 94, remembered

Retired Youngstown

coach, teacher dies

at the age of 94

By Greg Gulas


Former Chaney High football standout Dave Brungard had the great fortune of playing for two larger-than-life college head coaches.

Recruited out of high school by Ohio State University, he played for legendary head coach Wayne Woodrow “Woody” Hayes, transferring to the University of Alabama for his senior campaign where he served as co-captain for the legendary and equally iconic Paul “Bear” Bryant.

Both coaches pale, however, in comparison to the lessons that Brungard learned during his scholastic years while playing for the highly respected Louis “Red” Angelo.

Angelo, 94, died last week. The memories of those who either played for him or who were lucky enough to have taken part in his physical education classes at CHS paint the picture of a caring teacher whose teams were arguably the area’s best conditioned.

“When you talk about coach, you talk about a man whose teams were disciplined, well-conditioned and always well-prepared,” said Brungard, who is retired after 42 years in the insurance business and resides in Panama City Beach, Fla. “One of his favorite lines was play until the whistle blows. He always told us to play as hard as you can and play for your teammates, not just yourself.

“We all played hard because we wanted to earn his respect. He would pat you on the helmet when he felt you did something exceptional and say, “Good go, boy.’ All of us wanted that tap on our helmet from him so we played for each other.”

When he received the news of Angelo’s passing, Brungard couldn’t help but go down memory lane.

“I started to think of the many great stories about my alma mater, Red, my teammates and the countless individuals whose lives he touched over the years,” Brungard said. “He truly was one of a kind, someone who helped shape our lives athletically and provided lessons that we would later use in our personal and professional lives.”

A noted basketball official, Angelo served as the Cowboys head football coach for 16 years (1954-70). When he passed the reins over to his former player, Ed Matey, Angelo served as the Cowboys’ athletic director, girls basketball coach and golf coach. He was still living in Youngstown at the time of his death.

Matey served as Chaney’s head football coach from 1971-86. Ron Berdis took over in 1987 and coached until 2006.

“He loved playing basketball with us but as a referee, you’d think that he would know the rules,” Brungard said. “It’s amazing that when you played on his team, no fouls seemed to get called. Red was the right person in my life and at he came along at just the right time.”

Matey lettered three years for Angelo at middle guard and later played for Dike Beede at YSU.

“Red was really big on work hard and you’ll be rewarded. He always said that if you want to be successful then you have to work hard and that was a philosophy of which he never wavered,” Matey said. “There was never a discipline problem in his class or on the field and it was his disciplined ways that taught me my disciplined ways.”

Matey said there were no favorites with Red.

“The big thing about Red was that he considered the team his family. Everyone was treated the same,” he said. “When you made a tackle there was no jumping around, you were happy just to make the tackle.

“You came to practice every day, you worked hard and better never be late because there was no forgiveness. Everything you did was done for a reason and if he wanted something, he’d say, ‘Hey Ed,’ and all you did was listen.”

Berdis was a linebacker who played for Angelo from 1967-69 and graduated in 1970.

“Coach demanded toughness, discipline and effort,” Berdis said. “He taught you to kick your game up a notch and reach down when you thought you couldn’t go any more. To quote him, ‘Rise to the occasion and that’s no baloney-sauce.’ It’s a phrase to which all of his players can relate.”

Berdis said the stories about his scholastic coach are endless.

“Every time I get together with classmates, teammates or friends, we always seem to talk about coach and the impact that he had on our lives,” Berdis said. “He was my coach, mentor and fiend and I will miss him dearly. The single testimony is that he made us all better and not a single person or player will say differently.”

Bill Terlesky served as principal at Chaney High School but knew Red from the time when was an assistant principal in 1977. He said Angelo was a tremendous physical education teacher.

“Red was old school. He never sent a kid to the office for anything, telling me that if he couldn’t take care of things in his classroom himself then he shouldn’t be a teacher,” Terlesky said. “He would lead calisthenics in his class and if he taught five classes, he led the calisthenics and worked out in all five classes. He went so far as to tell me that if anyone in study hall wanted to join him, please send them his way with the only prerequisite being that they had to participate.

“He was hard-nosed, demanding and everyone that played for him absolutely loved him.”

Joe Lutsi was a quarterback-linebacker for Angelo from 1961-63. He later became a three-year starter at linebacker at YSU, where he was elected co-captain his senior year. He also was Angelo’s defensive coordinator.

“The stories about coach Angelo are endless and he just had so many cliches,” Lutsi said. “He was demanding but pushed you to be the best that you could be. The lessons that he taught us were lifelong lessons and because he pushed you so hard, it taught us that we could get through the tough times later in our lives.

“What many didn’t see was that he had empathy, a soft spot for those who were underprivileged. It was a quality not many knew about because he did it so quietly.”

Brungard’s circle of inseparable friends included Mike Roman, Bob Merkich and the late Bruce Herdman, all of whom benefitted from Angelo’s coaching and mentoring.

“He taught us to never quit and be tenacious,” Roman said. “Coach said there were 11 guys out there and he wanted 11 helmets on the ball. No one ever out-conditioned us. Some teams were bigger, but we were quicker and in better shape. We’d never lose a game in the fourth quarter.”

While Roman blocked for quarterback Ron Jaworski at YSU, Merkich was a two-way tackle for Angelo who later attended the University of Cincinnati where he blocked for future Cincinnati Bengals QB Greg Cook.

“Coach Angelo was dear to all of us,” Merkich said. “Certain individuals make an impact on your life and Red had a tremendous influence on mine. Very few do that. He really affected me, my friends and countless others. He was very special and will be dearly missed.”

Former Cardinal Mooney head football coach Don Bucci, whose legacy like Angelo speaks for itself, considered Angelo a great friend.

“Red was a close friend over the years and we had a number of memorable games against one another,” Bucci said. “What I remember most is that I never played against a team that was better conditioned. He was the master of conditioning and an advocate of being in shape. Early in my career I was able to witness the outstanding job that he did with the teams that he coached. It’s tough to lose such a good friend.”

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