JOSEPH R. GASPARELLA

Professional football player. He lettered in basketball and football at Vandergrift High School. He displayed an interest in drawing as a young man, but it was football that captured his attention most forcefully early on. At Notre Dame he started as a physical education major but switched to architecture. He attended classes from 1944 to 1946 and went to the Army for a year. He was selected to the All-Service Team in 1947. In 1948 he was drafted in the 4th round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Standing 6 feet, 4 inches and weighing 220 pounds, he was plenty big, but not a starter. He played nine games as quarterback that year, returned in 1950, and in 1951 he switched to the blocking back position. He also played briefly with the Chicago Cardinals for a few games in 1951. Around 1950, he traveled on a Fulbright scholarship to Italy, the home of his parents. He spoke Italian fluently and attended the Polytechnical Institute of Milan and University of Perugia. Later, he took graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1963, he came to what was then the Carnegie Institute of Technology as an architecture professor and the head football coach, staying until 1975. He also served as campus architect for Carnegie Mellon from 1975 to 1977. Maintaining a link between athletics and architecture, he oversaw a number of sports-related architecture projects, including the design of Notre Dame’s Hall of Fame and the renovation of the Steelers’ offices, locker rooms and training facilities at Three Rivers Stadium. He also was integrally involved in coordinating the building of the bronze statue of Steelers’ founder Arthur J. Rooney Sr., which went up at Three Rivers in 1990. After working on his own and with Martin Chetlin & Associates in Pittsburgh, Gasparella founded his own firm with several partners in 1987. He retired in 1998, two years after an Ohio-based firm, Fanning/Howey Associates, merged with his business.

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