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More than anyone Mike D’Aloisio knew it wasn’t about how long you were in people’s lives, it was about the impact you had during the time you were alive.

The legendary football coach died on Sunday at the age of 71, with Notre Dame announcing his death on Monday afternoon on its Facebook page, but his legacy will live on for generations to come.

D’Aloisio was more than a football coach. He was an inspiration to many in the area. He was more than the 244 wins he had as a football coach at Notre Dame over 38 seasons. He was a good person and a good friend.

Coach D was honored, along with two of his championship teams at Notre Dame (the 1990 and 2018 eight-man squad) during the football season this fall. At the time D’Aloisio talked about the legacy of the great Joel Stephens, who D’Aloisio coached in high school and who died in 1998 of colon cancer at 22 years old.

“The thing is the Lord put Joel into our lives for a reason, and he served as such an example for all of us and he continues to do that to this day,” D’Aloisio said back in October.

The words that D’Aloisio said that day could also describe Coach D himself.

He was put into people’s lives for a reason. He helped make so many Notre Dame athletes into not only better players, but better human beings.

Coach D that day in October reflected on his championship teams that were being honored. And, his words reminded people of what really matters in sports.

“The wins and losses are important,” he said. “But, really what you learn as you get on in life, it’s the memories that are truly important, that remain forever.”

And when it comes to D’Aloisio he left so many memories for so many people.

In high school D’Aloisio was a standout athlete at Elmira Free Academy, before playing college soccer at Cortland.

He gave so many years to helping develop student athletes at Notre Dame, as a football, basketball and golf coach over the years.

D’Aloisio loved the game of football. The only thing that took him away from the sidelines was being diagnosed in 2020 with ALS.

And, even that couldn’t truly keep D’Aloisio away from the sport. He was on the sidelines at a Horseheads game this year, speaking to the team before the game, and he was back for the Notre Dame game where he was honored by the school. D’Aloisio was on the sidelines at both games, with his wife of nearly 33 years, Jayne D’Aloisio, right by his side.

“I just feel at home,” D’Aloisio said in October about being back on the sidelines for a football game.

As we look back, the wins, and the championships meant a lot, but the legacy of D’Aloisio is truly special.

The legacy of Coach D goes far beyond the game.

Standing there this fall, talking to D’Aloisio you could see that gleam in his eye as he talked about football. But, more than that, you could see his smile widen as he talked about all the memories he made over the years.

And, some things never changed with D’Aloisio. He was battling ALS and he would ask each of us how we were doing. Tell us thank you for everything we have done. It’s just the person D’Aloisio was, a truly kind, and caring human being.

The area lost a very successful coach, but really we all lost something so much more.

We lost one of the most genuine, kind hearted human beings you could ever meet. We lost a person who made everyone around him feel special. We lost a friend. 
IN PHOTO: Former Notre Dame coach Mike D'Aloisio does the coin toss before a Notre Dame game in October. D'Aloisio died this week at the age of 71. . . STSR FILE PHOTO.

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