Loss of a Legend
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Courtesy: Yale Sports Publicity
James DeAngelis '35, the last of the Yale football team's famed "Ironmen" who upset Princeton in 1934, passed away of natural causes on December 26, 2007 in Wallingford, Conn. at the age 97.
Born in Hamden, Conn., on October 20, 1910 as Mariano Vincenzo DeAngelis, he was the son of Mariano and Philomena (Mongillo) DeAngelis, of Caserta and Faicchio, Italy respectively. DeAngelis was educated in the New Haven public schools, graduating from Hillhouse High School and then Milford Prep before earning a Bachelor of Science degree from Yale in 1935.
DeAngelis distinguished himself in athletics throughout high school and college. He was the center of the Yale Ironmen football team whose eleven players, including future Heisman Trophy winners Larry Kelley '37 and Clint Frank '38, beat an undefeated Princeton squad in 1934 without substitution. That was the last time in major college football that a team played a game without any subs.
DeAngelis served during World War II in the U.S. Navy (1942-45) in various capacities as a trainer at Annapolis, North Carolina, and Wesleyan and in the Pacific as a Flight Deck Officer aboard the U.S. Lunga Point [CVE-94].
He coached football at Yale (1935-41, 45-47), Bates (1941-42), Toledo (1948), Nebraska (1949) and Washington (1950-52) before returning to New Haven where he managed sales at several Buick dealerships and Leonard Concrete Pipe, from which he retired in 1991. From 1970-77 he served as a New Haven Fire Commissioner.
Throughout his life DeAngelis was honored by local and national organizations associated with his work and his athletic accomplishments. He sustained friendships with people from all walks of life, including President Gerald Ford '41, with whom he coached at Yale, men whom he coached like Levi Jackson '50, and -- perhaps most of all, the guys from Oak Street with whom he grew up.
He maintained strong ties with his alma mater and was acknowledged for that, as the Last of the Ironmen, at the re-dedication of Yale Bowl before The Game on November 17, 2007.
Please click here for DeAngelis' New York Times obituary written by fellow Yalie William Wallace.