Five for Five: Carmine Cassese

carmine casseseOn June 29, Youngstown lost one of its most famous sons: Carmine Cassese. The retired Youngstown State University head equipment manager and long-time business owner died from complications related to pancreatic cancer. Cassese, 57, was a third-generation owner of MVR Restaurant, an 86-year old Youngstown landmark. 

Cassese also helped start the Hope Foundation of the Mahoning Valley Bocce Tournament at MVR five years ago. This year, the tournament is on Oct. 14 and has been renamed the Carmstrong Bocce for Hope. 

This week’s Five for Five is not five questions for five answers. Instead, it is one question about the type of man Cassese was asked to five different YSU sports personnel.

Ron Strollo,

Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics:

“I think it’s really hard to describe in words. You know, I think he was a friend to everybody whether it was our student-athletes here or someone at the restaurant. One of the kindest people I’ve ever been around. This place meant a lot to him, the MVR meant a lot to him and just so proud to be from Youngstown.”

Eric Wolford,

YSU Head Football Coach:

“He was a family man — salt of the Earth, give you the shirt off his back. He’s helped so many people in many ways and never wanted to be recognized for it. He was a guy in this community that we’ll miss. He did a lot of things for a lot of people, and a lot of things people don’t know. He wasn’t one of those guys that was grandstanding about everything.”

Tim Gallo,

Assistant Equipment Manager:

“Carmine was a good man. Like Alvy said, he knew everybody and everybody knew him. He was just a good person, somebody that would talk to you or talk to me about stuff at work, stuff from our personal life. He was basically a father to me. He taught me a lot of life lessons whether they were good or bad. He was always there for advice, no matter if it was good or bad. He taught me a lot of things here professionally. He was always dependable. He was just a good man.”

Robb Schmidt,

Assistant Director of Athletic Marketing & Promotions:

“The one thing that always comes out about Carmine was that he was just a genuine person. Carm would have given you the shirt off his back if he had to, and you really don’t find that quality genially in people. Some people will say ‘hey, I’ll do whatever I can.’ Carmine was genuine in how he cared for people and especially cared about his friends. He always made sure that if someone needed something, he was always there to give it to them. And I think that’s why so many people cared about him and were sad with his passing. He’s a guy that most people aspired to be.”

Alvy Johnson,

Head Equipment Manager:

“He was a great person, very personable. I mean, sometimes he would drive you crazy, but he was always there for you and very defendable. He had that knack about him where he knew everybody, and everybody liked him. He taught me a lot about how to handle people in this world, and things like that where you can try your best, but is takes a certain knack. He taught me a lot of things that I took with me. He was very helpful with me in how to run the equipment room.”