Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Coach Giordano: A Legend is Gone

A two time college football All American and former Caldwell County Football Coach Al Giordano passed away at Vanderbilt on Friday. Coach "G" will be laid to rest this evening with a funeral mass to be held at 4pm at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Princeton, KY.
Coach "G" was at the top of that Caldwell County mafia and coaching tree I have often written about on the Underground Rooster. If you had coached or played a sport in West Kentucky in the last 50 years it's probably a good guess that you had known or heard of Al Giordano.
For all the things that could be said about our end of the state, of which many would be true, here is a good example of a guy who came from New York and found success in the Rural South. As a product of the Brooklyn Dodgers organization, Coach "G" traveled the country playing baseball with the Dodgers farm team. You can go to the Times Leader link below for further details regarding Coach "G"s time with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
As fate would have it Fred Clayton would offer an assistant football position to Coach "G" at Caldwell County and thus began a coaching career there that lasted 45 years.
Twice an All American in Football at Murray State University, Al Giordano had been inducted into the Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame, the Murray State Hall of Fame, the KHSAA Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Softball Hall of Fame and the Caldwell County Hall of Fame. Not to mention a veteran of the Korean War.
Coach "G" had served as the Head Football Coach at Caldwell County from 1972-85, had been the Head Baseball Coach, the Golf Coach for which he won a State Championship, an assistant Basketball Coach, and also the Girls Softball Coach for which he led them to 3 State Tournaments in a 5 year span.
Coach "G" was always a very gracious friend to me. I remember asking an receiving his help for Judge Hollenbach. Coach "G" liked people who liked athletics and Judge Hollenbach also being of the same faith did not hurt any. His daughter Jill Giordano is an attorney in Princeton and served as Democrat Party Chair. On more than one occasion I would drive Coach Fred Clayton and his wife up to Princeton so they could have dinner and hang out with the Giordano's at the Elks Club. Coach "G" always bought my dinner and sent me into the next room to play like a little kid. If you have ever been to the Elks in Princeton then you know what I'm talking about.
For all the success and fun I enjoyed coaching with Craig Clayton at Hopkinsville I believe the thing I have appreciated the most was the opportunity to have gotten to know the coaches who dominated the Grid Iron for so long in West Kentucky. Fred Clayton, Fleming Thornton, Al Giordano, Ken Barrett, Ty Holland, Jack Morris.
They are all just about gone now but what a group of coaches from a great era of football. Coach "G" always treated me like a son and while that doesn't make me special because I'm sure there are hundreds of if not thousands who would make the same claim. I will say that Coach "G" and I had a special relationship and those things that could be said are now gone with him and will die with me.
Al Giordano is survived by a wife and three daughters.
(Note: Permission was granted and my thanks to John Brush and the Murray State University Meida Relations office for their help and use of thier picture)
Links on the life, death and career of Al Giordano

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