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Rocco "Rocky" Pirro

Enshrined 1989

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 at Catholic University from 1936 to 1940.


In 1941, Pirro turned pro and played single-wing blocking back for the Pittsburgh Steelers before serving in the Navy during World War II from 1942 to 1945. He played on the military team Fleet City Yellow Jackets in 1045-46. After the war, Pirro got back in the game, playing offensive guard for the Buffalo Bills from 1946 to 1949. Pirro was the team co-captain in 1949.


In 1950, the Baltimore Colts hired him as offensive line coach, where he spent one season before taking moving to Canada to serve as an offensive coach for the Montreal Allouettes of the Canadian Football League.


In 1952, Pirro returned to Syracuse to coach the offensive line for the Orange, where he stayed until 1973. During his 21 years at Syracuse, the Orange played in the Orange,Cotton, Sugar and Liberty Bowls.


Outside of football, Pirro was a member of many athletic and civic groups. In 1975 he started work as the Planning Coordinator for the City-County Youth Board and he served as the executive director of the Solvay-Geddes Youth Center in 1982. Pirro also became a politician and in 1974, he was elected to the 120th District State Assembly Seat.

Pirro died in 1995.



  • 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

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