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Obituary Stories

Coach committed to community, athletics

Joe Napsha
| Friday, June 17, 2016, 11:00 p.m.

Oland “Dodo” Canterna, a longtime Latrobe civic figure, Westmoreland County Airport Authority member and former St. Vincent College basketball coach and athletic director, died on Friday, June 17, 2016, at 89.

Mr. Canterna served as a Latrobe councilman from 1980 to 1991 and as mayor from 1991 to 1993.

He was remembered Friday as a person who cared about his town.

“He was dedicated to the community. He always had positive things to say,” said Latrobe Mayor Rosie Wolford, who knew Mr. Canterna for many years. “He was a perfect gentleman.”

Gabe Monzo, executive director of the airport authority, on which Mr. Canterna served for several years, said he was a valuable member of the organization that oversees Arnold Palmer Regional Airport near Latrobe.

“He was a great leader. He was a wonderful guy,” Monzo said.

Mr. Canterna, a Freeport native, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a star baseball and basketball player. He was good enough to be signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1948 and played for its minor league teams in Kentucky, Indiana and Maryland from 1949 through 1951.

Mr. Canterna went to St. Vincent College in 1953 and coached the Bearcat basketball team. The team gained national attention in 1955 by winning the Mikan Award as the most-improved team in the country, said Don Orlando, longtime public relations director at St. Vincent. He became the college's athletic director in 1970.

“He was a giant figure in the history of the college's athletic program. Everyone knew Dodo,” Orlando said.

His legend extended into many areas, others said.

“Canterna was a dedicated coach, athletic administrator, civic volunteer, husband and father whose name will forever be embedded in St. Vincent College history,” said the Rev. Douglas R. Nowicki, archabbot of St. Vincent Archabbey and school chancellor.

“We are honored to have enjoyed the fruits of his labors and proudly recognize the many contributions he made to the improvement of our athletic programs during his long career here,” Nowicki said.

Mr. Canterna was a man “who made sports look great,” said D.P. Harris, St. Vincent's head basketball coach.

He put his ego aside and made people feel welcome, he said.

“The former players loved him and respected him and looked up to him for his lifelong passion for athletics and academics,” Harris said.

Arrangements will be handled by Hartman-Graziano Funeral Home in Latrobe.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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