Rocco “Rocky” Pirro


Enshrined: 1989

Born: June 30, 1916

Syracuse, NY

Died: January 26, 1995

In the 1940s, Solvay native Rocky Pirro played professional football which laid the ground work for a career in coaching. The 6-foot Pirro began his football career at Solvay High School. He went on to play fullback from 1936 to 1940 for Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

In 1941, Pirro turned pro and played single-wing blocking back for the Pittsburgh Steelers before serving in the Navy during World War II. After the war, Pirro got back in the game, playing offensive guard and serving as captain with the Buffalo Bills until 1949. The next year, the Baltimore Colts hired him as offensive line coach. Pirro also served as an offensive coach for the Montreal Allouettes of the Canadian Football League.

In 1952, Pirro became the offensive line coach for Syracuse University and where he coached for 21 years. Besides football, Pirro was a member of many athletic and civic groups. He was an executive director of the Solvay-Geddes Youth Center and worked for

the Onondaga County Youth Board. Pirro also became a politician and in 1974, he was elected to the 120th District State Assembly Seat.

Career highlights:

1936-1939: Played football at Catholic University

1941: Played for the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

1942-1945: Served in the Navy during World War II

1945-1946: Played on the military team, Fleet City Yellow Jackets

1946-1949: Played guard for the Buffalo Bills; Team co-captain in 1949

1950: Hired as offensive line coach of Baltimore Colts

1951: Hired as offensive coach for CFL Montreal Allouettes

1952-1973: Offensive line coach for SU. His teams went on to Orange, Cotton, Sugar, and Liberty Bowls. Won the National Championship in 1959

1973: Inducted into Catholic University Athletic Hall of Fame

1974: Elected to New York State Assembly

1975: Planning Coordinator for City-Country Youth Board

1976: Head coach of Salt City Aces

1977: Coach of the Syracuse Bisons

1982: Executive Director of Solvay-Geddes Youth Center