Fifties index


Aldo (Buff) Donrlli comes here today in a new role, as head football coach of a pro eleven seeking the scalp of the boys from the old home town, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Buffer took over as boss of the Cleveland Rams last July 3 and has cleaned up a pair of exhibitions against the Boston Yankees and the Sampson Naval Training Station.

Among the all-time grid greats as a player at Duquesne University, the Buffer competed in the first years of the Layden era. He stayed on after graduation and worked his way up from freshman coach to assistant varsity coach to the chief job plus the athletic directorship. All the time, as player and as coach, he was a winner.Since he started mingling with the hard-bitten pros, Donelli hasn't done so well in the won and lost column.

He piloted the Pittsburgh Steelers for five games without a victory in 1941 during that hectic autumn - when he was boss of the pros on Sundays and sitting on the bench behind Steve Sinko and pulling the strings when the Bluffites were playing. Commissioner Elmer Layden ended that strange dual role by ordering his one-time protege to either give up the pros or the collegians.Buff hopped a plane for the West Coast and the St. Mary's game, and Walt Kiesling took over the Steelers.

When Duquesne quit the sport Donelli seemed reconciled to do likewise for the duration, but he bobbed up as backfield coach of the Brooklyn Dodgers last season. They won only 2 out of 10, but that isn't the entire story.

Look back to Ebbets Field on Sunday, November 14, 1943. The Phil-Pitts, with 2 wins, 2 losses and one tie were facing the eastern cellar dwellers, the Dodgers, who had 1 victory and 6 losses. The locals were hot on the heels of the leading Washington Redskins, a club they had deadlocked in Shibe Park and were destined to upset later in Griffith Stadium.

Brooklyn had been a 17-0 victim in early season, but Donelli and Head Coach Pete Cawthon turned the tables this time. The final score was Brooklyn 13; Steagles 7, and the losers passed all but mathematically out of the eastern title race.

Buff is back today and in the underdog role again. So it behooves the Steelers to watch their step. That Donelli is due for a winner as a head pro coach.

All information and photos taken from the official program from September 29th.