Beyond all else, Bob Rosmarino never wanted to let down his father.
Roger Rosmarino came over from Italy at age 13 and worked tirelessly in the mills so his son could have a better life.
A lot of Bob’s Holy Cross teammates were from well-to-do backgrounds, but the Rosmarinos had to scrap for everything. Roger would hitch-hike to Worcester to watch his son play. He’d have his ever-present cow bell for whenever the Crusaders made a big play.
The only reason he didn’t have to hitch-hike back to the three-decker on Jackson Street in Lawrence was his son would scalp his extra tickets so his father could take the bus.
“My father had very, very much to do with my success,” said the man they call Rosey.
That success included starring at Central Catholic and Holy Cross then becoming one of the area’s winningest football coaches with a 177-120-12 overall record. Rosmarino has been inducted into the Central Catholic, Mass. High School Football Coaches and Aquinas (N.Y.) Institute halls of fame.
One of Roger’s co-workers saw Rosey play for Central. Maybe it was one of those showdowns before 14,000 fans against Lawrence High when Rosey starred for coach Dick Moynihan against legends like future Green Bay Packers star Bill Quinlan and nifty quarterback Gerry Callagy.
The co-worker said Bob could get a scholarship. Roger couldn’t believe it. It was the American Dream.
From then on, he implored Bob to do still more push-ups, eat right and get his rest. And always, always be tough.
“He said, ‘Bobby, when you run with the ball, you don’t have to run away from them. You can run over them,” Rosmarino recalled.
Tough and tender
The contrast was always striking between his kind heart and his intimidating demeanor.