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Roanoke lacrosse legend John Pirro dies

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  • Roanoke lacrosse legend John Pirro dies

  • 08/13/13
  • News of John Pirro's passing was featured in the Roanoke Magazine, Issue 2, 2013. The full issue can be seen here.

    John Pirro '77, arguably one of the best players to ever play lacrosse at Roanoke College, passed away today.

    "It is a sad day for every member of the Roanoke lacrosse family," said Bill Pilat '85, Roanoke men's lacrosse head coach, who played as a Maroon under Pirro.  "John Pirro was a tremendous player, teammate, father, friend and coach."

    Pirro played lacrosse at Roanoke College from 1974-1977.  During his career, he earned first team All-American status on three separate occasions, and he earned the NCAA Division II-III Defenseman of the Year Award in both 1976 and 1977.  After graduation, Pirro played for the Long Island Lacrosse Club, where he was chosen first team All-USCLA.

    Pirro returned to Roanoke College in the spring of 1979 as an assistant coach to Roanoke lacrosse legendary Coach Paul Griffin.  Pirro  assumed the head coaching role in 1982.  His 1983 team advanced to the NCAA Division III National Championship game.  In that same year, Pirro was selected as the NCAA Division III National Lacrosse Coach of the Year by the Hero's Lacrosse Association.

    In his five-year tenure as Roanoke's head lacrosse coach, Pirro's  teams never lost an Old Dominion Athletic Conference game.  A year after his retirement from coaching at Roanoke in 1987, Pirro was voted into the Roanoke College Athletic Hall of Fame.

    In 2010, Pirro was honored as Roanoke's inaugural 'Walk of Inspiration' icon.  A bronze bust of Pirro in his Roanoke Lacrosse uniform, donning his legendary ponytail, stands at the walkway leading to Kerr Stadium. 

    In 2011, Pirro was tabbed as one of 24 finalists in the 2011 National Lacrosse Hall of Fame men's ballot.  He was inducted into the U.S. Lacrosse Long Island Metro Chapter Hall of Fame (1995) and U.S. Lacrosse Charlottesville Chapter Lacrosse Hall of Fame (1997), He also is  the first lacrosse player whose number was retired at Roanoke.

    Pirro's friends have raised money to name the patio of the College's planned Cregger Center in honor of the former coach.

    "Any success that we enjoy in our men's lacrosse program today can be traced back to John Pirro's presence on our campus," said Roanoke's Athletic Director Scott Allison.  "During his era, there wasn't a more talented defenseman, regardless of division, in the country.  Because he wore Maroon, and he was such a great guy to be around, countless other lacrosse greats chose to attend Roanoke College."

    Here are the visitation and funeral arrangements for Pirro:

    Visitation:
    Thursday, Aug. 15 - 7-9 p.m.
    Friday, Aug. 16 - 2-4 p.m. and 7- 9 p.m.

    M.A. Connell Funeral Home
    934 NY Ave Huntington, NY 11746

    Saturday Mass:
    Aug. 17 - 9:30 a.m.
    St. Patrick's Church
    400 Main Street Huntington, NY 11743

    Burial following mass:
    Huntington Rural Cemetery
    Oakwood Rd., Huntingdon, NY

  • Public Relations
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  • gereaux@roanoke.edu