It’s family, football for Hall of Fame inductee Diminuco
He knew from an early age exactly what he wanted to do with his life – coach football.
And coach he has, backed by a very supportive family, Dick Diminuco has guided both the Albion and Alden football programs to multiple sectional titles while earning over 200 career wins, accomplishments which are earning him induction into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame on Oct. 30.
“I’ve been blessed,” said Diminuco for whom family and football are paramount in his life. “I couldn’t ask for a better coach’s wife,” he said of Dale his bride of 37 years. “She’s so supportive. She loves football. And when they were growing up our three girls (Kadi, Michele and Kristi) helped out keeping stats. We really are a football family.”
That certainly was evident for many years under the Friday Night Lights in Albion with coach D guiding the Purple Eagles, Mrs. D helping out in the concession stand keeping an eye on the game from the side window and one or more of the girls recording the statistics on the sidelines.
“I’m so proud of him,” said Dale of his upcoming induction. “Football is his love and the relationships, friendships and memories he has built over the years are very special to him. It’s been a wonderful ride.”
Diminuco got hooked on football in fifth grade when his teacher, who was also the JV football coach, asked him to be a team manager. He went on to star at quarterback first at Monroe High in Rochester and then at Ottawa University in Kansas, earning All-League honors at both schools. He has since earned induction into both the Section V and Ottawa University Halls of Fame.
Following graduation he came to teach and coach at Albion where after several seasons as an assistant he took over the varsity reins in 1979 guiding the Purple Eagles to the sectional championship in the inaugural year of the Section VI playoffs. He went on to guide Albion to four sectional and 12 division championships and over 200 wins in 30 seasons before retiring after the 2008 campaign.
That retirement from the gridiron though lasted only a matter of month as he answered a call from Alden and in four seasons guided the Bulldogs to three sectional titles and one West Regional title before stepping down after the 2012 season.
However, again the call of the gridiron was strong and he answered a call to coach quarterbacks at the College at Brockport this fall.
“He wasn’t ready to give it up. Coaching in college was something he’s always wanted to try” said Dale of the coach’s decision to take the position at Brockport.
“I owe so much of my life to the game of football,” Dimincuo said. “I got hooked on football when I was very young. I came from a single parent family and my fifth grade teacher, who was also the JV football coach, asked me to be a manager. I went to practices and I liked the game and that started my love of football. By the sixth or seventh grade I knew I wanted to be a football coach. I wanted to be like him.”
And when asked about any special memories, coach D doesn’t point to a particular team, game or season but rather talks about the players he coached, the coaches he’s worked with and the many friendships he’s made over the past four decades.
“I’ve had so many great players and worked with so many great coaches, and many of them keep in touch, that’s special,” he said noting proudly the number of his former players who have gone on to coach football themselves.
And of those many friendships he has developed over the years first and foremost he notes is Gary “Chico” Mannella who guided the Albion JV squad for the 30 years Diminuco was at the varsity helm.
“We go back 40 years,” Diminuco said. “When I got the Albion varsity job the first thing I did was to name Chico my head JV coach. His friendship, his loyalty and his work ethic are second to none.”
“He’s very passionate about the game and he’s done a lot for the kids,” Mannella said. “He’s gained the respect of his colleagues not only here in Western New York but around the state. He’s very deserving of this honor and I’m extremely happy for him. He’s certainly earned it. Football has really inspired him and he’s worked his way up through the ranks. He put Albion’s football program on the map. And he has a wonderful family. Football really has been a family affair for them. I’m very glad he’s being recognized.”