Cover photo for Roy F. Nard, Jr.'s Obituary
Roy F. Nard, Jr. Profile Photo
1948 Roy 2023

Roy F. Nard, Jr.

October 17, 1948 — November 23, 2023

Austintown

 

AUSTINTOWN — On Nov. 23, 2023, in the early evening hours of a Thanksgiving holiday, Coach Roy F. Nard Jr., 75, brother, teacher, friend and loving husband, heard the final buzzer sound, saw the lights dim, the equipment collected and the crowd disperse. Of course, the score mattered! GOD won the big one! And for Coach Roy F. Nard Jr., VICTORY was complete. My husband lived to be called “Coach,” and died still trying to call the plays. That effort was one of the only bright moments of Alzheimer’s disease, rarely returning to an ambitious past.

Roy was born on Oct. 17, 1948, in Grove City, Pa., to the former Virginia Smith and Roy F. Nard Sr. Perhaps this birthright fostered a DNA that was somehow related to a town and teams 65 miles south — the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Pirates. Because I worked and lived with Coach, I can describe this patronage as obnoxious, as he debated and vocalized all the evidence that made his teams credible. He challenged and “tormented” both faculty and students at Cardinal Mooney on a weekly basis. His gym and health classes readily took the challenge and created satirical cartoons to alleviate the pain of defeat and bring home the laughter — all done in the name of love.

A proud resident of Youngstown, Roy attended St. Columba Grade School, where his commitment to his Catholic faith inspired him to become an altar boy. He played youth baseball for the Royal Oaks and for the Elks, and sported the cleanest uniform and groomed hair, even under the cap! By 1966, Roy graduated from Ursuline High School to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Youngstown State University, while simultaneously employed by Republic Steel, Mahoning Sanitation Department and the Youngstown Vindicator.

Upon graduation from YSU in 1971, Mr. Nard’s career in education began at St. Christine School, where he taught physical education for grades K to 8 and coached Parochial League Basketball for three years, ending with a 34-9 record. This experience led Coach to bigger dreams and aspirations, as he was readily seeking the opportunity to prove himself on paper and the court. The volumes of geometrical Xs and Os designed for sport and physical education remain unparalleled. They cluttered our files, but not his personal successes.

After a short stint at his alma mater as assistant freshman basketball coach, he signed on at Cardinal Mooney High School as the head freshman football coach, accruing three league titles and a record of 34-3-4. Coach Nard led those teams to Steel Valley Conference Championships in 1974 and 1976 and runners-up in 1975, 1977, 1978 and 1979. He remained a vital part of the football program for six years under the dynamic duo of Don Bucci and Ron Stoops.

Additionally, his attempts as a tennis coach for three years awarded him “Coach of the Year” in 1977 to 1978 with a record of 35-9.

Somewhere between his football and basketball achievements, “Coach” married me, his wife and “polar opposite,” Diane Mastro Nard. We had thousands of kids walking the halls of Cardinal Mooney and were the richest couple in the world. It lasted for 44 years because he let me win! Our legacy remains the greatest in the world! As the years went on, Roy became the chairman of the Health and Physical Education Department, director of summer camps and courses, assistant athletic director and ticket manager. Most of these roles were simultaneously carried out in unison with his greatest coaching achievements in both football and basketball. Boys' basketball was his next venture. After assisting Bob Santor for 10 years, Roy took the head boys varsity coach position, culminating in a 110-76 record. His teams won SVC titles in 1985 and 1986, six sectional championships, three district titles (1983-1984, 1986-1987), and in 1988-1989 led the Cards to the first and only undefeated team in school history (20-0), best record (23-1), and a No. 2 ranking in the state. He was selected “Coach of The Year” three times by the Mahoning Valley Coaches Association. It was also an honor to coach in three different all-star games and two Hoyle Tournaments.

Then the famous words resounded: “I’m done. I will never coach girls!” Wrong. Principal Robert Campbell pleaded, and Roy caved. Six years of coaching girls’ basketball restored his belief that girls are actually teachable! Right! Mooney Cardinals earned the right to boast about four sectional championships, two district championships and two regional semifinal appearances. Their best record in a season was 19-3. Once again, Coach Nard was selected “Coach of the Year” three times by the MVCA and coached in three all-star games. It was the best time of his life, except for the occasional mood swings. Mine.

Cardinal Mooney inducted Coach Roy F. Nard Jr. into the prestigious Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007. And that is the essence of the kind, humble gentleman pictured above. Roy leaves his wife and greatest fan, Diane Mastro Nard; his sister, Dee Dee (Ray) Sepesy of North Carolina; brother Kenneth (Susie) Nard Sr. of Florida; nephews and nieces who affectionately called him “Uncle Rog,” Raymond (Carrie) Sepesy, Lori Raymond, Stacy (Matthew) Dennig, Christopher Sepesy, and Kenneth (Chantal) Nard Jr.: great-nephew, Levi Raymond who coined him “Uncle Babba” and great-niece, Savannah Dennig; brother-in-law, Joseph Mastro and Uncle Guy Damore. Families who claimed him as their own are the Damores, Doinoffs, Gorczycas, Obeys, Soviks, Colemans and Sheehans.

Memorial tributes to the CMHS Basketball Program; the Hospice House, 9803 Sharrott Road in Poland, OH 44514; or Antonine Sisters Adult Daycare, 2675 Lipkey Road, North Jackson, OH 44451; make life memorable and at the same time, bearable.

Thank you Dr. Tom Traikoff, Dr. Frank Beck, Dr. Michael Scavina, Dr. Joseph Barak, and Dr. Maureen Mathews (all our former students) for the years, the hours and minutes you devoted to our family. If there were only two of each of you in this world! In addition, Roy’s family would like to thank the Hospice House of Youngstown, Diane and Ed Reese and the Briarfield Manor of Austintown.

Calling hours will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, at Higgins-Reardon Funeral Homes, Boardman-Canfield Chapel, 3701 Starrs Centre Drive.

There will be a private Mass of Christian Burial on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023.

Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown, Ohio.

 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Roy F. Nard, Jr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, November 30, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Higgins-Reardon Funeral Home - Boardman-Canfield Chapel

3701 Starr’s Centre Drive, Canfield, OH 44406

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