From The Broadcast Booth: Remembering Two Friends of Yale Athletics

Sept. 28, 2007

by Ron Vaccaro '04

Before I get into comments on Yale-Holy Cross tomorrow, I want to say a few words about two deaths that have touched the Yale Athletics community this week.

Dr. Barry Goldberg was someone whom I would regularly see at practices, dating back to 2001, my sophomore year at Yale. He was always friendly, and often would engage in conversation on a wide variety of subjects. His professional accomplishments speak for themselves, but I will remember him for his kindness. Sometimes I would ask him about an injury, or a medical condition, just to learn more about it, and he was always happy to explain.

Bill Gonillo served as Yale Football play-by-play announcer for several years in the early-mid 90s. The first time I met him was at the Yale Golf Classic six or seven years ago. He was the MC, and was entertaining and dynamic in that unique role -- equal parts auctioneer and comedian adding up to a whole lot of fun for those in attendance. Over the years I would see him at various sporting events including Yale and New Haven Ravens games, always smiling and happy to be wherever he was. We had our first in-depth conversation a few weeks ago at the WELI studios, which are in the same building as ESPN Radio 1300's studios. Gonillo was a co-host of Inside Yankee Baseball on that station, and when he saw me, he wanted to talk Yale Football. He even skipped out on one segment of the show so he could chat with me about the Elis. I walked away impressed at how genuine he was. More than most in this profession, Bill Gonillo realized that sports was just that -- sports, not international crisis management. He took his work very seriously, but at the end of the day realized -- and helped others realize -- that despite its occasional transgressions, we are all very lucky to be involved in the world of athletics.

It is difficult to transition from this to a preview of Yale-Holy Cross, so I will keep those comments brief. I think this will be a very good evaluation game for the Bulldogs. The Crusaders, at 2-1 and playing at home, look very solid. They defeated Harvard in the closing seconds and last week blanked Georgetown 55-0. Yale, of course, is coming off a 51-12 rout of Cornell. So the stage is set for what should be a highly contested game tomorrow in Worcester. I think it is great to have what should be a challenging non-league tune-up before heading back to the Bowl to take on Dartmouth next Saturday.

Carm Cozza and I will be on the air at 11:35 a.m. for a detailed preview of the game, with kickoff slated for noon. If Worcester is not in your travel plans, be sure to join us on the air at 960-AM and online at 960WELI.com.

Ron Vaccaro '04 is the voice of Yale Football on News/Talk 960 WELI-AM.

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