Coach Mike Buonassi
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Michael Buonassi, 89, passed away peacefully on Saturday, March 30, 2013. Born in Bethlehem, he was the son of the late Vincent Buonassi and Michelina (Malfese) and husband of the late Eleanor (Sniscak), married 57 years. He served his country during WWII in the U.S. Navy 91st Battalion Seabee Division in the Pacific Islands. He earned masters degrees from both Baylor and Lehigh Universities and taught in the Bethlehem Area School District for 34 years. He began teaching at Washington Jr. High, where he was the head coach of wrestling, basketball, soccer, and baseball. He spent a year in Macapa, Brazil as Supervisor and Director of the American Language Schools for the Bethlehem Steel Mining Department. He returned to teaching at Washington and became the head coach of Lehighs Lacrosse Team. He was also a certified official of both high school and collegiate sports. Then, a new chapter began: Liberty High School Social Studies teacher and soccer coach. At Liberty, Mike coached seven undefeated soccer teams, winning six Eastern Scholastic League Championships and eleven District XI Championship Titles. His players won acclaim throughout the country. He still is the winningest Soccer Coach in Liberty history in 13 seasons with 126 wins, 8 losses, and 16 ties. After coaching, he became Liberty High Schools Athletic Director. He donated and began the tradition of the Battle of the Bell Athletic Competition between Liberty and Freedom. Mike was well known for running the roads at Lehighs Athletic Fields with his white German Shepherd at his side. He was Cross Country Coach at Liberty and ran with the LVAA Runners Club, competing in Eastern PA races, winning first and second place in his age group. He has completed many marathons including Boston and NYC. In late retirement, he enjoyed the company of the Lehigh Athletes, working outside, and reading. Mike was a parishioner of the former Our Lady of Pompeii Catholic Church. Survivors: He will be lovingly remembered by his daughter, Amy; and his brother, Joe. Services: A funeral service will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 11 a.m., at Connell Funeral Home, Inc., 245 E. Broad St., Bethlehem. Visitation will be Friday from 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, from 10 to 11 a.m., both in the funeral home. The family asks that you please share a memory of Mike at www.connellfuneral.com.
Published in Morning Call on Apr. 3, 2013