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LI Hall of Famer Pirro (Huntington) dies at 58 after long battle with disease

Wednesday, 14th August 2013

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 8/14/13
From Press Releases

Huntington graduate and Long Island Hall of Famer John Pirro ’77, arguably one of the best players to ever play lacrosse at Roanoke College, passed away Tuesday at 58.

“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 endured a 16-year battle with Huntington’s disease (no relation to his home town). Huntington’s is a neuro-muscular disorder for which there is no known cure.

Pirro, a High School All-American at Huntington, 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 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.”

Funeral Arrangements have been finalized for Mr. Pirro’s funeral:

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

Thursday, August 15
7-9 PM
Friday, August 16th
2-4 PM & 7-9 PM

Saturday Morning Mass – Saturday, August 17th – 9:30 AM
St. Patrick’s Church
400 Main Street
Huntington, NY 11743

Burial following mass at:
Huntington Rural Cemetery
Oakwood Rd., Huntingdon, NY
221 College Lane, Salem, Virginia 24153
Phone: 540-375-2500
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