Arena was a top rebounder for RCH

Published Sep 30, 2018 at 9:00am

Bill Arena played varsity basketball for Rome Catholic High back in 1971. He played for legendary coach Frank Didio when they competed in the tough Tri-Valley League (TVL). He now lives in California after graduating from the University of Oklahoma back in 1976. Did you know he once pulled down an amazing 36 rebounds in one game? That’s more than some athletes (like me) get in a whole season.

Do you remember Phil Puma? He graduated from Rome Free Academy back in 1992 and was a very good lacrosse athlete. He now lives in Charlotte, N.C., and is coaching the sport he loves to the kids at Saint Marks Catholic School. He actually started the program volunteering his time and giving back to the community. He owns one of the most successful real estate businesses in Charlotte.

Joe and Ida Puma (Phil’s parents) are retired now and also live in Charlotte to be near the grandchildren. Joe worked at Rome Strip Steel his whole career and coached in the Fran Allison basketball program back in the 80s. They raised four sons: Phil, Anthony, Joey and Adam. They all live and work in Charlotte.

I saw a picture of Sal Comito last week in the Rome Sentinel. Did you know back in the 60s he was an outstanding basketball coach at St. Mary’s in Rome? He discovered and taught some great players like Mike and Greg Sees, Mike Stemkowski, Frank Urtz and the Ryan brothers. He was also a very good basketball player who played for many years in the Rome Civic League. Sal and his wife Sue spend their retirement life between Rome and Florida.

The RFA varsity girls soccer team is 4-2 in the tough TVL so far this season. They play at home Sept. 29 at 4:15 p.m. against Oneida so let’s get a huge crowd out to root coach Bill Tagliaferri’s team to victory.

Chad Reese has his RFA boys soccer team’s record at 3-2 with big games against New Hartford and Oneida this week. The Black Knights are only one game behind the leaders.

Pick of the week: Penn State 31, Ohio State 24 (season record 4-0). The Nittany Lions spring the upset on the Buckeyes. Urban Meyer could be in for a tough day after being suspended for three games.

Geek of the week: Jayson Werth signed a baseball contract with the Washington Nationals for $126 million back in 2011. He is out of baseball now at the age of 38 and got arrested for a DUI last week in Arizona for driving under the influence. He was not worth the money for sure.

Rome sport nickname: Tom Rahmer (Smokey). I ran into Tom at the RCH Class of 1968 reunion last month. He was an outstanding pitcher for Redwing coach Vic Trino and his teams played RFA and all the schools of the Tri-Valley. Every Rahmer boy I have ever met over the years was an outstanding baseball player.