The Post-Journal

Section 6, Southern Tier Mourn Sudden Death of Joe Annarella

Not enough words of praise and admiration can be said about the career of Joe Annarella.

Section 6 and the Southern Tier of Western New York suffered a severe loss with the sudden death of Cassadaga Valley Central School's very popular athletic director and coach Tuesday night.

The Post-Journal contacted several officials, coaches and administrators Wednesday night and the words were almost the same from everybody, "what a fantastic guy."

Lou Foy, Salamanca, former president of Section 6, offered these comments: What a tragedy. It's a severe loss to Section 6. I send my regrets to the family, school and its pupils. Joe was a very honest man, a fantastic man who fought for his rights. He was always number one as a wrestling official in our section."

Clarence "Flash" Olson, former Southwestern Central School football and wrestling coach offered these words: "What a great coach and gentleman. He was one of the prime movers for wrestling in the Southern Tier. I have nothing but praise for him."

Dan Lounsbury, former Falconer Central School wrestling coach and at present time a wrestling referee said, "As a friend, Joe was one of the few old-timers. He was all business. He was a strong believer in girls' athletics. He had his opinions and would fight for them."

"Doc" Malinoski, Mayville Central School football coach noted, "The Chautauqua County Athletic Association lost one of its top physical education instructors. What a tragedy. He was one fine gentleman. Everyone respected him in athletics for his honesty. He worked very hard for his kids. He was a high-class person, winning or losing."

Jack Engdahl, Mayville Central athletic director said, "(Joe was) a guy who couldn't wait. He had a great sense of humor. He was all for girls' athletics. He was an all-around nice guy."

Jim Lucey, former Maple Grove Central School wrestling coach and at present a wrestling official said, "(Joe was) one of the real down to earth gentlemen - a special breed. He spent all of his life in athletics, a real honest person."

Vince Joy, football official, offered, "It was always enjoyable to work for him. He always had his kids under control. Cassadaga Valley has suffered a great loss."

Milt Lindstrom, football official, remarked, "(Joe's death) is really tragic at this most wonderful time of the year. He did nothing but a top-notch job of coaching. He's an example to follow. He was consistent throughout the years in high-level sportsmanship. He was tough and demanded drive in his team and conditioning in his players."

Cloise Swearingen, retired football official, school administrator and coach commented, "He was a tough guy to work for. He was honest but would fight for his players. He was a good leader, a gentleman, and a very fair man. Everybody respected him. His teams were always well drilled. He was all for the kids. The Chautauqua County Athletic Association is going to miss him."

Louis R. Brown, retired football official, said, "He was level-headed. He did a nice job with his boys. He never sacrificed the health of a player for a win. He was very serious and would fight for his rights. We never had any trouble with his kids. He handled them well. He was a regular fellow.

Paul Arnold, retired football official, related, "Joe had a great knowledge of football. He was a stickler for sportsmanship. It's a shock to the sport's world. He was a great football and wrestling coach, physical education man, and an outstanding official."

Bill Race, Falconer Central football coach, said, "I look at Joe as a person who brought laughter and understanding. He seemed to be always in a smiling mood - a most enjoyable individual - a fantastic person in the 15 years I have been associated with him."

Tom Sharp, Frewsburg Central football coach, noted, "He was an older coach I've looked up to and respected. He's the whole athletic program at Cassadaga Valley. Those people are going to suffer."

Joe SanFilippo, Jamestown High football coach, said, "I never beat him when I was coaching wrestling. It's a mighty big loss to Cassadaga Valley. He always had something good to say and was very faithful to his religion."

Ray Tudor, Maple Grove football coach, remarked, "He was an institution - a constant, dependable person - very fair. He enjoyed the game. I looked to him for leadership. He was a friend. Every game was just a game. He was a straight shooter."

Jack Keeney, Panama Central football coach, offered, "He was one of the most very honest persons in our profession. You always knew where you stood."

Bob Brown, Pine Valley Central School football coach, said, "It's a real shocker to me. We've attended many football clinics together. It's the end of an era at Cassadaga Valley. He was a good friend and the kids at Cassadaga Valley and everywhere will feel his loss. He was always fair and honest and well respected. He was a voice in athletics."

Scott Lewellen, Randolph Central football coach, stated, "It was great to be around Joe Annarella. One of his favorite comments was 'let's play ball and forget the hassling.' He kept things loose - forget the minor details, let's just play ball."

Carl Benedict, Silver Creek Central football coach, commented, "I've worked with him on the executive committee of the Chautauqua County Athletic Association as a coach, official and friend. He's one of the nicest guys I've ever known. He had the kids at heart. Cassadaga Valley and the county are surely going to miss him. I have the highest respect for him."

Mike Cluchey, Westfield Central football coach, said, "(Joe was) a very happy guy and a firm believer. One of his favorite sayings was 'Hi, buddy.' He cared for kids. He was well liked by everybody, not only here in Chautauqua County, but everywhere."

Annarella completed 24 years of coaching football at CV with a 103-65-7 record. He was looking forward to the coming basketball season for the Cassadaga Valley girls. Last he guided the team to the sectional finals in the small school category.

He previously coached wrestling, volleyball and baseball.

We're sure Chautauqua County and Cassadaga Valley are going to miss him. We will, too. We had a nice little chat with him last Friday night when covering the Panama at Cassadaga Valley basketball game.

He was commenting on his girls' basketball team and his prospects.

A new era in sports will have to be started at Cassadaga Valley, but a mighty big pair of shoes will have to be filled.

If better men are around in athletics today, I haven't found them and I've been reporting sports since 1946.


The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.

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