Monday, August 4, 2008

ND Man, Yonto, Passes Away at 83

By Mark Allen, Domer Sports Report

A consumate Notre Dame man is gone. Joe Yonto passed away on Monday morning at age 83. Yonto was a true Notre Dame man in every sense of the word. He was a player, a coach, an administrator and a great ambassador for the University of Notre Dame.

It was always Joe Yonto's dream to go to the University of Notre Dame. He never even considered anywhere else. Fortunately, for Joe, he had the chance to live out his dream. And, this was years before anyone heard of Rudy.

Not only did Yonto attend the University of Notre Dame, but he also played football for the Fighting Irish. He played for the great Frank Leahy in 1945 and 1946. He played a couple of positions. In 1945, Yonto played fullback. In 1946, he played offensive guard.

After graduating from Notre Dame, Yonto pursued coaching as a profession. He was a high school head coach for 16 years. All of his coaching took place in Illinois. He coached at three high schools: Mount Carmel, St. Rita's and, finally, Notre Dame high school. He had a 16 year record of 96-42-7.

After the final 7 years in high school coaching, at Notre Dame high, Yonto joined first year Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian. He coached the linemen during Ara's entire 11 year reign. He also coached under coach Dan Devine. During the Paresghian-Devine eras, the Fighting Irish won 3 National Championships.

When Gerry Faust came aboard, after Devine, coach Yonto was moved into an administrator's position at Notre Dame. He would remain there during Faust's five year run. He would return to the field under coach Lou Holtz for the 1986 and 1987 seasons.

Yonto was a very successful line coach at Notre Dame. One need to look no further than the All Americans who played for him. They included, Alan Page, Pete Duranko, Kevin Hardy, Mike McCoy, Walt Patulski, Greg Marx, Mike Fanning, Steve Niehaus, Willie Fry, Scott Zettek and Ross Browner.

Joe Yonto, Notre Dame man, will be sorely missed. But, he will always be remembered - as all great Notre Dame men have been.

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