Iona College mourns the loss of Eugene Roberti '53, former director of Athletics, baseball and men's basketball head coach and alumnus who passed away at the age of 89 on February 8, 2020.
Roberti served as head coach of the Gaels for two seasons from 1973-75 after serving as a both assistant coach to Jim McDermott and head baseball coach. Roberti went on to coach basketball at St. Francis Brooklyn and golf at NYU.
Friday night, the Iona community will honor Gene with a moment of silence before tip off of its men's basketball game vs. Manhattan.
Gene played guard on the Richie Guerin teams, although he was a couple of years older. He started at what is now referred to as the PG and was a VG player. I understand that he played semi-pro softball as a shortstop. Called Red Roberti for obvious reasons. Was not successful (W-L wise) as a HC but known as the bridge between Jimmy Mc and Jimmy V. Can't remember if he coached in the Mulcahy Center, but know he coached at O'Connell. He followed Artie Wilkins as McDermott's Assistant Coach. Only had one in those days. I thought he had died long ago, since I hadn't heard his name in years. May he RIP.
Better baseball coach than basketball. (15-32 in hoops for 2 years) Great guy. In my time he was varsity baseball, and JB Buono coached our freshman baseball team Opened Mulcahy.
Didn't IC basketball have to play its "home" games at Mount St. Michaels during part of his tenure. I know it was difficult to recruit during that time and very difficult to get effective practice time.
I believe we played games (I was there) at MSM, Spellman and the Prep.
I passed along the news to a friend, who was at Iona when Gene was there, and he told me that Gene was one of the smartest kids in the College and had the grades to prove it. That was something I didn't know.
Post by maacmaniac on Feb 18, 2020 13:14:08 GMT -5
To answer some of the questions above, yes Roberti was the coach before Valvano (began 1975). Yes, Iona had their home games at Mount St. Michael and he had no full-time assistants (believe the part-time assistants were Iona HOF Warren Issacs and John McIvor).Thus, He was in a tough situation recruiting wise. Iona should have rolled back their schedule back then since they were like 4-19 his last year beating teams like Wagner,Lemoyne and Bridgeport State. I can remember UMASS, Seton Hall, & St. Johns pummeling them bad. RIP coach, thanks for your time and service to the Gaels.
Post by hurtinturkey on Feb 19, 2020 10:52:21 GMT -5
There were two games against UMASS the first was December 15, 1973 at Iona Prep, even though it was on the schedule to be played at O'Connell Gym. That was a blow out loss 99-58 against a loaded 21-5 NIT team with a point guard named Rick Pitino, two scorers Billy Endicott and future NBA player and D-1 coach Al Skinner along with a beast of a big man John Murphy. I played JV that year and that game was a nightmare! The next UMASS game was March 1st 1975 and it was on campus at what is now Hynes Center, our new GYM, we lost 89-72. Fish, Kevin Bass, was the best player on the court that day although Jim Town a rugged 6'7" future 1977 Denver Nugget draft pick and John Murphy were too much for us. I think Fish scored 30 that day, most in the 2nd half when we put a scare into them before falling behind. As for Coach Roberti, he was a great baseball / softball player and along with his assistants, did their best in very lean years. We may not have won a lot of games but we had great times in those days, especially on North Avenue, no matter what the score was! May coach Roberti RIP, my thoughts and prayers are with he and his family!