By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
Portage County football legend Bill Rosato died this weekend at the age of 92.
His son, Thom Rosato, announced on Sunday that his father had “called his last play.”
Rosato was a true titan in the sport and spent more than 50 years volunteering as a youth football coach for the Mogadore Wildcats.
He was universally beloved and endeared by his players and peers because of his unique ability to relate to players, develop genuine relationships and teach the sport on a fundamental level that produced results and improved players.
In a story that I wrote in 2013, Rosato summarized his long coaching career this way:
“It’s simple. I do everything out of the love I have for the kids. I don’t expect anything in return. I just really enjoy the Mogadore tradition and the friendships that football has given to me.”
What he gave back to Mogadore could never be measured.
Rosato moved from West Scranton, Pa., to Mogadore in 1962, and he began his coaching career with the Wildcats in the same year.
When he took his oldest son Mike to sign up for youth football, Rosato met and befriended Mogadore youth football founder John Murphy, Sr.
Rosato expressed interest in helping coach, Murphy obliged and the start of a legendary career was born.
“Mr. Rosato is what Mogadore football is all about,” Mogadore High School football head coach Matt Adorni, who also played for Rosato, told me back in 2013. “I can’t imagine the thousands of hours he has invested on the football field for this community. It is absolutely amazing.”
Adorni’s deep appreciation, love and respect for Rosato was also evident in a social media post he made on Sunday.
“What this man meant to the development and consistency of Mogadore football is enormous. Fifty-plus years of dedication to Mogadore Youth Football. Guided our 7-9 grade youth team for most of those. Tough as nails, but kind and forgiving. Believed in every kid that played for him.”
Rosato took over as the Mogadore youth varsity head coach in 1976 and held the position through 2014.
Rosato retired from Gougler Machine in Kent in 1996.
I loved your mom and dad soo much, Timmy learned football and the love of with his favorite grandma living next door to your dad, he made our program!! Your family is in our hearts and our prayers
Great coach better person, always tried to emulate coach Rosato and his staff and will never forget the pit in my stomach pulling into Lions park when we brought our Rams to face his Wiidcat teams..