Aldo "Buff" Donelli
Date of birth: (1907-07-22)July 22, 1907
Place of birth: Morgan, Pennsylvania, United States
Date of death: August 9, 1994(1994-08-09) (aged 87)
Place of death: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Career information
Position(s): Head coach/Halfback/Punter
College: Duquesne
 As coach:
Pittsburgh Steelers
Cleveland Rams
Boston University
Career highlights and awards

  • College coaching record: 105–107–8
  • NFL coaching record: 4–11
Coaching stats at Pro Football Reference
Military service
Allegiance: United States United States
Service/branch: United States Navy seal U.S. Navy
Years of service: 1945
Battles/wars: World War II
Aldo Donelli
Personal information
Date of birth(1907-07-22)July 22, 1907
Place of birthMorgan, Pennsylvania
Date of deathAugust 9, 1994(1994-08-09) (aged 87)
Place of deathFort Lauderdale, Florida
Senior career*
1925Morgan F.C.
1929–1930Cleveland Slavia
1934Curry Silver Tops
1936Heidelberg SC
1938Castle Shannon SC
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Aldo "Buff" Teo Donelli (July 22, 1907 – August 9, 1994) was an American football and soccer player. He is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.



In 1925, Donelli played for Morgan F.C., a western Pennsylvania soccer team. At some point, he moved to Cleveland Slavia, playing for them at least the winter of 1929-1930. In January and February 1934, he is listed with Curry Silver Tops and then Heidelberg SC from February to April 1936. He also played for Castle Shannon in March 1938.

National teamEdit

Donelli was selected to the United States 1934 FIFA World Cup team. In a 4-2 qualifying victory over Mexico in Rome, Italy on May 24, he tallied all four times, becoming the first American to score his first three international goals with the senior team in the same match (Sacha Kljestan would become the second to achieve this feat on January 24, 2009).[1] Three days later in the same stadium, Donelli scored the lone U.S. goal in its 7-1 first-round elimination loss to Italy. It would be the last one any American scored on Italian turf for another 58 years. He was inducted into U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1954.



Donelli, who played college football at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was a halfback and punter. He went on to coach Duquesne University, Columbia University, Boston University, and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Rams of the National Football League.


Donelli took over as Duquesne head coach in 1939, compiling a 29-4-2 record as the Dukes finished in the top ten twice in four seasons. His tenure at his alma mater also gave him a place in the history books as the only man to serve as head coach of both a college and NFL team simultaneously. Donelli served as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 1941 fall campaign on the bluff of Duquesne University. The Dukes were on their way to an undefeated season in 1941 and after the Steelers lost their first two games coach (and later NFL Commissioner) Bert Bell resigned, having Donelli replace him. Aldo would coach the Steelers in the morning during classes at Duquesne University and then the Dukes in the afternoon. Although his college team finished undefeated, the Steelers lost all five games under Donelli.

Boston and ColumbiaEdit

Donelli continued on to coach at Boston University from 1947 to 1956 with a 46-34-4 record and again placing a season in the top 25 poll. In 1957 he was named the head coach at Columbia University where he would serve until 1967 compiling a 30-76-4 record. In 1961 he coached Columbia to its only Ivy League Championship.

Other accomplishmentsEdit

Alpha Phi Delta - Buff was a founding member of Alpha Phi Delta, Psi chapter, the national Italian heritage fraternity, at Duquesne University on March 19, 1929. Donelli received his business degree from Duquesne University in 1930 and his graduate business degree in 1931.

Donelli was drafted into the Navy for a short time during the last year of World War II. He also coached in the NFL for the Cleveland Rams (today's St. Louis Rams) for a single season (1944) attaining a 4-6 record. In the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s after semi-retiring from coaching, he worked in public relations for PGA events around Boston while keeping homes in suburban Pittsburgh and then eventually Florida.


Columbia University's weight room is named in Donelli's honor.


External linksEdit

  1. REDIRECT Template:United States Squad 1934 FIFA World Cup
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