2019 Men of the Year
Sam Colacarro ’62 & Clinton Jones ’63
|Sam Colacarro ’62
Sam Colacarro was born and raised in “Little Italy” in Cleveland, Ohio. He always wanted to attend Cathedral Latin from his early days in the 1950s. His father would take him to Latin games that he still finds legendary to this day. Sam was the son of a father who worked as a maintenance technician at St. Vincent Charity Hospital. His mother quit school after 10th grade to work. Colacarro, along with his two brothers, Frank ’64 and Bob ’67, learned two early lessons — family comes first and there’s nothing wrong with hard work to get what you want out of life.
While at Latin, Sam was a member of the golf team for three years. He was also a homeroom officer and involved in Knights of the Altar and Choral Club. After high school, Sam attend John Carroll University where he majored in French and Spanish. He graduated with a degree in education. Sam applied for several teaching positions at various schools in the area. A Spanish teaching position became available at Latin, so he interviewed and got the job. Teaching at his alma mater was something special for him.
During his first year at Latin, Sam also coached the golf team. That same year, Brother Tom Caffery called him and offered him the position of athletic director. After his initial shock, he took the position. He says he owes a great deal of thanks to Tom Ward, who was the football coach at that time. Tom guided Sam through that period and has always been an important figure in his career.
After three years as athletic director for Latin, he was contacted by the principal at Lake Catholic — a new high school in Mentor, Ohio — and was offered the same position. At the time there was only a freshman class and the school was starting to grow. Tom Ward had transferred to Lake and was their football coach. So once again, they worked together to produce a strong athletic program.
Lake Catholic is in its 49th year of existence, having opened in the 1970-71 school year and Colacarro has been the school’s athletic director for 48 of them. Sam was only 27 years old when he came to Lake Catholic in 1972 in charge of an upstart athletic department.
Since coming to Lake Catholic, they have won five state championships, three in football, one in wrestling and one in volleyball. Two of the football state titles were under his classmate John Gibbons. On February 18, 2017, Sam was honored for 50 years of service in Catholic education at Lake Catholic’s annual gala at LaMalfa Party Center.
Sam continues on with the regimen he’s followed for the past five decades, working behind the scenes to ensure the best possible athletic experience for the thousands upon thousands of kids he’s helped bring up over the years. “Above it all, above the wins, the best thing is when someone comes back, thanks you and tells you that you made a difference in their lives,” says Sam.
Colacarro attributes much of his career happenings to the basic core values that he learned while a student at Cathedral Latin. He prides himself on doing things the right way and keeping within the Christian values that he learned at Latin. He said he has no intention of retiring and hopes to continue as long as he’s able. He enjoys his job and it’s kept him young and he wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Sam married Marianne in 1982 and they had two children – Dana and Tom. Dana is married to Troy and they have two children Jacob and Carter. In 2004 Marianne passed away from cancer and Sam remarried in 2007 to Tammy. He has a stepson, Ben. Sam says that he is blessed to have two women who have supported him and have been able to understand the long hours and time away from the family to perform his duties as athletic director.
|Clinton Jones ’63
Clinton Jones was raised in a blue-collar neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio by his mother and grandmother. His mother was a constant presence in his life. She gave birth to him at the age of 15 and worked several jobs to make ends meet and take care of Clinton, her only child. When she was 20 years old, she was able to buy their own home.
Jones transferred to a private Catholic school in the fourth grade. The black population in elementary and high school was only 2% or less, but he had the support of his mother and grandmother. They made it happen. That decision changed his life and exposed him to opportunities and education that the public schools were not providing. “The racial divide was always there, but there were fewer blacks to deal with, so we weren’t as threatening in numbers,” says Clinton.
Attending Cathedral Latin showed his neighborhood boys he attended a school known for its excellence, not only in football and basketball, but as one of the premier schools for academics. The “Fighting Lions” changed his life and exposed him to mentors who loved and cared for him. While at Latin, Clinton excelled in track and football. Dick Marabito was his track coach as well as defensive line coach in football.
After Latin, Jones attended Michigan State University. He had a great career in both football and track. In 1964 he was named Mr. Michigan State University. This was the first time in the school’s history that a minority and a sophomore was voted for this honor. Jones writes about his time with the team, “…we came together as a team and really jelled. There was civil unrest and the country was in turmoil, but on the MSU campus, we took the off-the-field adversity and turned it into opportunity. Despite our uniqueness and different life experiences, we focused on each other and developed a special bond. It was more than just about football.”
He also enjoyed working within the East Lansing Community and received the 1966 Big Brothers of America “Big Brother of the Year” award. It meant a lot for Clinton to be a role model for his “little brother.”
In 1967, he was drafted into the NFL and played for the Minnesota Vikings where he participated in the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs. He was traded in 1973 to the San Diego Chargers. In 1972, he was inducted into the Cathedral Latin Sports Hall of Fame. After a knee injury, Jones retired in 1975 after his contract expired.
He enrolled in Cleveland Chiropractic College for four years of study in July 1975. During this period, he worked in the evenings as a correctional officer (youth counselor) at Ventura School Correctional Facility with convicted felon juveniles. He received his Doctorate of Chiropractic in 1979, passed his state board exams in 1980 and received his California Chiropractic license in 1981. He has been in practice as a chiropractic doctor with his wife, Rosielee (also a chiropractor), for over 48 years in California.
In 2012, Clinton entered the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame and Michigan State Hall of Fame. In 2015 he entered the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame.
Nichiren Buddhism was introduced to Clinton by his wife, Rosielee, in 1977. He joined The Soka Gakkai of the United States of America. This is the largest lay Buddhist organization with a collective goal: To realize world peace through each person becoming happy. Buddhism has had a profound effect on every aspect of his life.
Jones is grateful for the opportunity to attend Cathedral Latin and Michigan State where he received a great education and formed lifelong friendships that continue today.
Clinton has been married to Rosielee Jones, D.C. for almost 40 years and been in chiropractic practice together since 1980. They have five daughters – Dywana, Stephanie, Tiffany, Shani and Cara, and seven grandchildren.
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