In the history of Norwich sports, Salvatore "Toots" Mirabito is on the short list of the greatest athletes ever produced by the Purple Tornado.
Mirabito died June 20 at the age of 95 due to complications from Alzheimer’s Disease. When you talk about Norwich's greatest teams, the unbeaten and unscored on 1937 football team is forever etched as the standard by which all other Norwich teams are measured. Eight teams tried, and eight teams failed. Failure not only in beating the Tornado, but even crossing the goal line a single time.
In fact, the only points surrendered by the Tornado varsity that season was to the second team squad in an Oct. 26 intrasquad scrimmage won by the varsity starters, 13-6.
Mirabito was the unquestioned leader of that Norwich club. He called the plays on the field, scored 19 of his team’s 38 touchdowns, and had 114 of his team's 251 points.
From high school, Mirabito surely had many college suitors, but chose to stay close to home to attend Syracuse University following a year at the Manlius School. Mirabito was a prized recruit in football and boxing, and was named Syracuse’s most outstanding freshman following his maiden college year.
Back in the late 1930s and early '40s, boxing stood among America's most popular sports along with baseball, and Mirabito took his perfection on the football field to the boxing ring.
Over three varsity years of boxing, Mirabito won all 82 of his matches without a defeat, and won three straight national titles in the heavyweight division.
New York's daily publication, Newsday, also took notice of Mirabito's passing compiling a tribute to a man who was revered for his post-athletic career as a teacher, coach, and administrator in the Sewanhaka school district on Long Island. The link to that story is available online at http://www.newsday.com/long-island/obituaries/renown-sewanhaka-coach-teacher-administrator-salvatore-mirabito-95-dies-1.8607877...