After two failed referendums, years of seeking donations, and delays in construction, the Certosimo Field House was officially opened for business before friends, family, and community members who wished to continue honoring Matty "Coach" Certosimo and his wife Angie.
"This has been a long time coming," Athletic Director Denis Nelson said. "This is a reflection of the River Dell community that came together to make this happen with a lot of effort and a lot of people. This is the cherry on top of the finishing piece of our athletic complex and is something to be proud of."
The field house was dedicated in memory of Coach Certosimo who died in February 2008 and wife Angie who followed suite a year later. Coach was the Athletic Director of River Dell High School from 1960 to 1978, taught in the high school and coached both the football (1959-1969, with a 65-23-2 record) and baseball (1972-1978, with a record of (117-67-1) teams. Angie was considered a positive influence and inspiration for all those who shared many loving meals at her home.
"Ralph Waldo Emerson said that a 'dream is a wish that your heart makes'," FORD President Dr. Eugene Westlake said. "Matty had a dream, that he and Angie wanted to do everything for the children and students at River Dell. They loved their time at River Dell, hence their wishes were to provide the best opportunities to succeed during and after students graduate. This is a great memory for a wonderful couple."
Along with the unveiling of the fieldhouse, two plaques will be displayed on either side of the concession stand - one to list the Friends of River Dell donors and contributors and the other with the images of Coach and Angie.
The Certosimo plaque highlights the many efforts of both Coach and Angie for their "unselfish dedication and their unconditional pride for the River Dell community."
"One thing my sisters and I wanted to say, when you look around and see players all the way back from 1958-1959 is that we didn't mind sharing our mom and dad with all of you," Artie Certosimo said. "People would say that dad was the dad to all the football players and mom is the mother of River Dell, when would they have the chance to be parents to us. They were the greatest parents anyone could ever have. We couldn't have been luckier to have such a wonderful extended family."
The 2000-square-foot single story building, with construction having begun in September 2009 was fully funded by donations and features a refreshment stand for game patrons during fall and spring sports, restrooms, a ticket booth, utilities and storage. The storage area will be reserved for athletic equipment for the Golden Hawk teams.