Salvatore "Toots" Mirabito, a former coach and teacher at the Sewanhaka school district, has died of complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 95 and died June 20 at the Visiting Nurse Service and Hospice of Suffolk in Northport.
Born in upstate Norwich to Salvatore and Josephine Mirabito, he attended Norwich High School and went to Syracuse University on a scholarship for boxing and football. He received his bachelor's degree in physical education in 1942.
While at Syracuse, Mirabito was voted most outstanding athlete of his freshman class while lettering in football, wrestling and baseball, family members said.
He also won the National Collegiate Heavyweight Boxing Championship three years in a row and maintained a record of 82-0. Two books, "Lords of the Ring: The Triumph and Tragedy of College Boxing's Greatest Teams," by Doug Moe; and "The Six-Minute Fraternity," by E.C. Wallenfeldt, both highlight his accomplishments in boxing.
"He was always a sports person," his daughter, Karen Sisti, 62, of East Northport, said.
He served in the Pacific in the Army Air Forces from 1943 to 1946. While in the Army, Mirabito was sent to Florida for a year to teach boxing and combat skills, his family said.
He returned to Syracuse University to receive his master's degree in medical training. The following year, he moved to New Hyde Park with his wife, Ruth Welch, and began teaching at Sewanhaka High School as a physical education and health education teacher.
Mirabito also was the varsity football coach at Sewanhaka, where his 1955 team won the Triple-A championship.
"He always wanted to coach," Sisti said.
In 1957, the district split and he was sent to the new Floral Park Memorial High School as athletic director.
Marc Martone, 87, of Ridge, who coached with Mirabito at Sewanhaka High in 1949, considered him a brother.
"People called us the M and M boys," he said.
To the athletes, Martone said, he was like a father.
"They would take Sal and I out for lunch," Martone said. "He was held in high esteem by the athletes."
In 1969, Mirabito was appointed assistant principal, his position until he retired in 1979.
During his retirement, Mirabito enjoyed playing golf and spent his winters at his home in Stuart, Florida.
"He was well-liked by everybody," Sisti said. "He was always willing to lend a helping hand."
Mirabito also is survived by his sons Richard, 60, of Binghamton, Bruce, 56, of Calverton and Gary, 53, of Seaford; his brothers Frank, 98, and Fred, 91, both of Norwich; and his sister, Concetta, 93, of Binghamton.
Donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Association Long Island Chapter. He was buried at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale on Thursday.