The following will be updated routinely in remembrance of J.B. Buono. Please continue to submit your thoughts on the man that touched all of our lives. You can click this link or email Associate AD/Athletic Communications Brian Beyrer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check back often for updates on story links and new memories of J.B. If you have seen any links that we have missed, please pass along to Brian.
Last Update: 3/6/09 - 12:30 am
Stories on J.B. Buono
- Sean Brennan's Basket Case on NYDailyNews.com
- Pete Thamel's Memorial on The Quad on NYTimes.com
- NY Journal News
- Vin Parise on VPHoops.com
- Andy Katz on ESPN.com
- Raphielle Johnson on collegehoops.net
- Friends of Joseph "J.B." Buono on Facebook
Jason Buono - Grandson
First I would like to thank everyone for sharing all of their stories and memories of my grandfather!! And to Sam Tolisano he always thought of you as another son and loved you!!! One story I have to share was when I was a freshman at Iona in 90 I went out to Gary's my first night(mind you growing up in New Rochelle, this was not my first night in Gary's but as an Iona student it was)and when I walked in and ordered a beer I looked in the corner and there was my grandfather with 4 girls hanging all over him and I thought to myself how cool is that, but at the same time I also thought what is wrong with those girls!!! Well by the end of the night all 4 of those girls were hanging all over me(and maybe a little more then hanging) just because they had found out I was JB's grandson.....Yeah Man!!!!!!!
Stephanie Purington - Granddaughter
Yeah man!! My favorite memory of Grandpa JB was him sitting on the couch and me on the top and combing his hair (when he had it). I think a wedding was the only time we saw him out of Iona gear - and actually there were a few that he attended with it on - he lived and breathed Iona. It's nice to be able to read all these posting and know how truly loved he was. You and my dad have fun up there and make sure you give him a kiss for me. Yeah Man!!!
Kristen Buono Forma - granddaughter
Amen to that Sam! A great memory I have of JB was seeing him with my sons. Amazing to see Luke and Brady laughing with their great grandfather! Yeah Man!
Sam Tolisano '85 - baseball
Wow where do I start? I had the good fortune of not only meeting JB but I also formed a life long bond with him . To me JB was my family. I am the guy that had breakfast with JB on weekends for the last 20 years but not many people know the other side of that story. While at Iona I lost my mom and many many many people where there to help me pick up the pieces and to help me keep my head on my shoulders . JB was one of those very special people. Many nights I would get a call and JB would say (with an extreme urgency) "SAM WHAT ARE YOU DOING"? and I would tell him I was studying or whatever and he would say " Come over my apartment I cooked chicken or come over and you Bernie and I will go to DelPontes and it was his treat .He truly helped me thru that very very tough time in my life . JB is someone I will never forget and he will be in my heart forever. I loved JB as so many did as he touched many lives during his tenor at Iona JB I love you and I will never forget you. Until we meet again rest in peace and Godspeed
Richard Sullivan '67 - Alumni
I have lost a friend of 46 years. JB and I lived together on Drake Avenue in New Rochelle. I learned many lessons from him as a young man, most of which cannot be published. More importantly, however, JB continued to teach me the lesson of being "forever young". He visited my home in Buffalo several times with the men's basketball team and I was always amazed at how the young men respected, indeed revered JB. I also could tell what kept him young. Just last week I went to the Iona women’s game against Canisius in Buffalo and my first thought was of JB and how he loved his athletes. I will miss my friend but always smile when I think of him. After all, if it weren’t for guys like him, guys like us would be speaking German! Heaven will never be the same. Rest in peace my old friend old friend.
John Featherston - Former Student-Athlete
I first met JB as a freshman in 1972 through Tom Woodring and Ray Hyland, two Iona basketball greats. JB was 60, I was 18 and he was already an Iona legend. JB loved to share his great stories, and they were great. From the battlefields of World War II, to the horrible night St. Peter’s knocked Joe Issac's and the Gaels from a possible NIT berth in 1965, JB had a million of them! He loved his players. He loved the students, he loved being JB. He hated to lose, but he always said we'll get em tomorrow. Today's funeral was a celebration of JB's long and full life, a man who became a character who will live forever in the hearts and minds of all those who had the pleasure to know him. While I can't remember 10% of the names of the professors I had, nor can I remember half the names of the people I met yesterday, it's amazing how clearly I remember O'Connell gym, that tiny trainer’s room, the double doors blowing open during the middle of practice, the lack of hot water for the showers and the legendary stories of JB. Richie Pet was spot on today. God bless JB
Matt Paul '77 - Football
If you played ball at Iona then you've come to know and love JB.... it's that simple. One way or another JB touched you... with a wink and a whistle, he always left us smiling. More than busted joints he taped lasting friendships and memories that defined some of our best years. The heart and soul of Iona, he will be dearly missed. JB - give'em hell brother!
Donn Shockley '79 - Football
JB, thanks for all the hilarious stories you shared with us in the training room. You will be missed as a wonderful person and friend. Thanks for touching my life.
Glenn Amature - Men's Soccer
So many great memories or such a wonderful man. Unbelievable trainer - taped ankles better than anyone I ever met, told great stories and always took tremendous care of us athletes.
Bill Vellek '86 - Football
God Bless you JB, Rest in Peace. I can remember like it was yesterday the stories "J" would tell me while I helped him fold his laundry in the cage at the gym. One of my favorites was the way he wanted his neighbors to smell his sauce cooking, so he would take a towel, open the door to his apartment and wave the towel so the smell would go down the hall. He was a wonderful man and he touched so many of us, he will be missed. While visiting the campus about a year ago with my two children, I was blessed to run into JB at the Beechmont. We ate dinner together, laughing, telling stories, in my mind I wished it was yesterday. "Yeah Man"
Jessica Smith '08 - Women's Basketball
I could always count a JB when I really needed a smile. He will be greatly missed!
Bobby Thalheimer '93 - Baseball
JB was that special sort of person who put a smile on your face every time you spoke with or saw him from a far. His legendary "jb juice", his math class' (does everyone remember what 6 and 2 make & 4 equals?) & his history lessons (come in Berlin) are classics which I will never forget. "Bones" thank you for all the memories....I am a better person for having the pleasure of knowing you and the luxury of being able to call you my friend!
Bart Grachan - Former Football Coach
When Fred Mariani took over the football program in 1998, I joined him on his staff. That first spring, running back and forth from school to practice, I didn't get a chance to really meet JB. My first real exposure to him was when Fred invited him to speak at one of our meetings in camp. The upperclassmen came into the meeting with big grins; I didn't think much of it. The I was introduced to the Eva Braun tale, among others- JB went for over an hour and had the team rolling on the floor. I went from stunned to laughing with tears rolling down my face; he was not at all what I was expecting. JB never failed to bring joy wherever he went - he loved his athletes, and they loved him. Rest in peace. Yeah, man!
Rich Wroblewski '07 - Football
What a great man the world has lost. Playing fullback at Iona for fou years I took a lot of hits to the head. I will forever remember after the hits JB always came through with the smelling salts saying "Yeah man!", as I would sniff the salts. JB truly had a passion for the health of athletes and one of the great things about him was he never did it for the money or anything like that, it was simply to make you well again. As a matter of fact, I truly believe JB probably would have done it all for nothing except our thanks. The hands and life of JB Buono touched many people, literally and figuratively, and he will be sorely missed on this earth. One more thing JB would say and make known was that if it wasn't for him, we would all be speaking German right now...ha ha...that always made me laugh but he would say it with the straightest face. God Bless you JB Buono. I am blessed to have known you, and I will miss you.... YEAH MAN!!!
Shanna Kangas '01BA, '08MS - Former Employee
J.B. touched the lives of so many people...he also he also touched their cars if they were parked outside of the Beechmont or their butts if they were a pretty girl, YEAH MAN!! His huge heart and humor will be missed.
Patrick Collins - Alumni
No matter how many games I ref, I will never have a better whistle than JB.
Megan McGovern-Galletta '88 - Women's Basketball / Volleyball / Friend
JB Is truly a legend. He has touched so many lives during his tenure at Iona - he will be sorely missed. I am so happy to have had many experiences with JB. He always brought life and fun into every situation. I will always remember the evenings at the pubs on North Avenue, the training room, the gym and going for a cup of coffee or lunch at the diner. Thanks for the memories and for touching us all with your warmth and friendship. JB had an amazing way of making everyone feel special. We will miss you! God Bless you!
Roy Emlet '03 - Baseball
Being a member of the baseball team, I would see J.B. around often. He would always joke around with the guys and put a smile on everyone’s face. He would always tell jokes about when he would meet some ladies, and have everyone cracking up. Those jokes needless to say can’t be repeated in this story. He would always make me smile, and always asked me how I pitched. When I would respond with "good" he would say "YEAH MANNN" . And I would smile he gave a lot of people at Iona a lot of smiling moments, which in today’s world we could use a lot more of. Iona will miss J.B. because J.B. is still making people smile where he is. "YEAH MANNN" R.I.P J.B. from Roy Emlet #33 Iona Baseball
Dan Bailey '03 - Football
The memories we had with JB are countless. He was a great man a loyal trainer and pretty much family to anyone who stepped on the grounds at Iona College. I can't count the amount of times he would be there for help whenever needed. He never needed any new fancy equipment to help any of our players it was just the time and commitment he gave to us that kept us going on day after day. The only word I can actually use to describe JB is legendary...He was truly an inspiration to so many people he will be greatly missed by all.
Marvin Goodwine - Basketball
JB was a great trainer as well as a great person. JB made my transition from high school to college a smooth one. He was always willing to talk to you about anything whether it was basketball related or not. The Iona family and the community has loss great person but he will never be forgotten. My condolences go out too his family, May GOD bless you all.
Carl Leber '79 - Football
JB was and is the constant, the common thread that brings all Iona athletes together. Whether you played in ’67 or ’07, the memories of your athletic experience at Iona include JB. He was the unifying factor for all Iona athletes, regardless of the sport or team. Think of the number of ankles that man taped and the number of injuries he helped ease! Last summer, I had the opportunity to be in New Rochelle for a few days. I brought two of my children to campus one evening to watch football practice and there was JB. He looked older than last time I saw him in ’97, at the HOF Dinner induction for the ’77 Football Gaels. He was as alert as ever. He remembered me and the years we shared in the ‘70s. He was proud of the 100+ players on the practice field that evening and how football at Iona had evolved. (And, I have to admit, the scene on the field was very different from the days of practicing on Rice Oval). JB may be gone from Iona, but the memories of the thousands of athletes that JB befriended and cared for will live on.
Jenna Tacinelli-Hach - Dominican College Trainer
We are sorry for your loss - Dominican College Athletic Training Program.
Nicholas Mussolini '77 - Football
I will never forget all the laughs and good times with JB. HE WILL TRULY BE MISSED.
Omar King - Former Assistant Football Coach
JBs war stories were always the best. A remarkable pioneer that taught us how to respect traditions and foundations. He was always around even on the days that he wasn't feeling his best. He made the Beechmont and Iona synonymous. When someone loves a place as much as he did, he made you love it even more.
Nick Caruso - Friend
I really don't have any memories except what I've been told by my Mom and Grandpa. They told me about how JB would come to their house and , he would hang out with Dennis Leonard ,Jim Fry and John Wanger these were Iona students who played baseball with JB they would also play baseball on the street with the kids. When Dennis would be in town JB and my mom's family would go to the Church Key and hang out with him. I met JB at the Beechmont with my Mom. He seemed like a wonderful man, everyone thought the world of him. I'm glad I got to meet him. He will be missed by many people.
Arnie Russell '87 - Basketball
.It wasn't what JB did with his rubs or medical expertise that made a difference in the locker room or on the court. It was his natural ability to connect with us as student-athletes... his ability to laugh and give us one of his "good ones' when we were down or let us know how important it was to take advantage of our opportunities. JB was as young as any of us and as wise as any man. His presence was and will continue to be a symbol of the spirit of what it means to be a Gael... And I bet, if there is a Heaven (And I believe there is) 'ole JB is up there right now giving them a "good one." Rest in peace JB...Thank you for everything... Arnie Russell; Men's Basketball-'81-85 B.S. Degree 1987
Phil Sallustio '03 - Baseball
It was an absolute pleasure getting to know JB during my years at Iona. He was an absolute legend and will definitely be missed. Heaven just got a lot funnier..Miss ya Bones
Matt Paul '77 - Football
If you played ball at Iona College you came to know and love JB... it's that simple. Through thick and thin, with a wink and a whistle JB kept everyone smiling. From his trainers bag he did more than heal bones and bruises, he taped, for us all, lasting friendships and memories that define and bind some of our best days. It won't be long before he looks up Tom Simpson, and they'll get back to playing the ponies. We will dearly miss JB.... give 'em hell brother.
Rob Herrmann - Son of graduate
As a young boy in the late 1970s and later as a teenager in the 1980s, I attended many, many, many regular season games and "Meet the Gaels" days with my Dad, who graduated from Iona in the 50s. I have great memories from that time period, including meeting Jim Valvano and Pat Kennedy, and watching Steve Burtt, Sr. dunk my basketball in his dress shoes. But the personality I remember the most from that time is J.B. He was the one who was always there, year in and year out, and his exuberance and love for the game and for his players was clearly undying. He always remembered me and greeted me with a smile and a handshake. J.B.'s passing comes as sad news and to me represents the end of an era in Iona basketball.
Bobby Reutter '77 - Baseball / Hockey
Whether you were in athletics or not, you would be hard pressed to find someone who did not know J.B. by their second day on campus. In any conversation about the GAELS, his name would eventually come up, He was IONA. We will miss you J.B.
Glenn Vickers, Esq. '80 - Co-Captain Iona College Basketball 1980
I meet JB as a senior at Babylon H.S., I had a problem with my thumb and he taped it and I shot 12 for 12 from the field that night and knew I had to go to Iona...(never shot that well again, and it just occurred to me I should have had him tape my hand for every game in college.) He always made the game fun.. he always reminded us that playing college ball would be the best time of our lives and to enjoy this moment. He was a father to our best player and future Iona College coaching great Jeff Ruland who as a player & coach took Iona College Basketball to the NCAA more times than any other person in our school’s history. JB taped more ankles than any man alive, across all teams -baseball, football, basketball any and every team on campus and he loved us all and treated us like his sons' or daughters-- he loved us all.. He loved his guys as we loved him ..he will not be forgotten..and he will be dearly missed!
Lou Persiani - Fomer Assistant Baseball Coach
It was an honor to know and work with JB,he truly loved every Iona student. When he asks St. Peter if he can enter the Pearly Gates, I am sure St. Peter will say -YA MAN
Mike Reddington - Co-Worker
I have had the great pleasure of serving as an athletic trainer next to JB. JB truly was a special man who had a great love for life, athletic training and IONA. I am a better person for knowing him and I believe we all are. This is a great testament to a man who has touched so many hearts both young and old. JB you will be missed but you will always be in my heart.
Frank McLaughlin - Athletic Director, Fordham University / Friend
It was with great sadness that I heard about J.B. passing. As someone who has been involved in college athletics my whole life, I have been a great admirer of J.B. His hard work and dedication, and above all, his love for Iona and specially, student-athletes was and always will be a great inspiration. J.B. not only touched the lives of thousands of student-athletes at Iona, but also everyone who he came in contact with. He was a great ambassador and will surely be missed. J.B. and his family will be in our daily thoughts and prayers. God Bless J.B. and Iona.
C.J. Huddleston - Friend / Former Associate AD
My favorite story came after playing a staff basketball game. I sat next to JB in the stands and commented on how old and tired I felt. JB said, “Tell me about it”. He then took off his neck brace and some wrist contraption he was wearing and put them on my lap. He smiled ... stood up ... and laughed at me as he walked out of the gym. Lesson learned. When lecturing here at Florida State, I leave each class by saying, “If I impacted just one person here, then I feel I have made a difference.” In my next class, I will tell them about our good buddy JB Buono because he impacted everyone who he came in contact with. JB my friend, you were one of a kind and you definitely made a difference.
Rob Moore '98 - Baseball
JB's passing marks the end of an era at Iona. He was the bridge between the present Iona students to those who had come before them. Playing baseball at Iona granted me the pleasure of getting to know JB pretty well. He loved to tell stories about the games Dennis Leonard pitched back when baseball was played on campus. His face would light up when he spoke about Jim Valvano and Jeff Ruland. He truly cared about the athletes he treated. I remember him handing me an article from the local paper where my name was part of the headline. He made sure to cut it out and bring it to me that day in case I hadn't seen it (which I hadn't). It meant a lot to me. It meant even more to me when I was given the honor of introducing JB during the 1998 graduation ceremony where he was awarded his Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. It's a moment I will never forget. JB loved Iona more than anyone I ever met and I don't think anyone was loved more by Iona. He'll be missed.
Billy Martin '80 - Track and Field
It was in March of 1980 and I was preparing for the Indoor National Championships. I was out on the board track that we set up on the Rice Oval Field doing fast repetitions with the team when all of a sudden my leg crashes through the boards on the turn and I fall and end up bouncing down the straight way. When I open my eyes and look up there is JB's face hovering over me. I ask him if I'm alright, knowing he has already done his thing and worried about the upcoming Nationals, his answer "Yeah man!" With that proclamation my teammates and I all shared a huge smile and the world was right again for another day. JB could move pretty quickly back then for a 68 yr. young man!
David Brown '79 - Friend / Basketball / Coach / Board of Trustees
JB was taping my ankles, we had a big game that night. Coach V came in and said "Dave we need a big game from you". We won the game, I finished with 26 pts 13 rebounds. JB called me into the training room to cut off my tape. He took off the first layer and pointed to the writing on the tape (25 pts. 12 rbs). JB wrote this on my tape without telling me. Of all the talks, stories, potions, horns and Yeahhh Mans. I will miss his Heart the most. Love you JB.
John Bolesta '91 - Cross Country / Track
Being injured often during my time at Iona, I will always remember that he gave his best to help. Thanks and God Bless JB
Cassie Batinich '09 - Women's Soccer
JB was great. He always had a smile on his face, and his persistency and presence made me feel at home in New York when I first moved from Utah to play soccer at Iona College. Seeing a person who had been involved with the college for so long truly made me eager to get involved with the school - his passion was contagious and he will be missed!
Ray Hyland '74 - Men's Basketball
I first saw J on TV as a kid when he was helping as a trainer for Iona Prep who played New Rochelle on Thanksgiving morning. After they introduced all the players pumped with vigor and all the anxious coaches, here came this cool looking little guy who just gave some hand motion and walked away. The next day all the kids were making the hand gesture in my Brooklyn neighborhood. I didn't even know the guy and he had me laughing. When I came to Iona and met him it was a riot right from the start. All you had to do was watch the upper classmen and join in. He had everyone on strings of laughter as if they were puppets. What made it so great was to watch as the decades pass and as he welcomed everyone as he did me. To see the current students yell his name to acknowledge him was really a testament to his human spirit. Living in town, he helped me many times with youngsters who had sports injuries. He'd work on them and encourage them always talking about school. Of course I'd prod him to tell them a few stories and as they laughed they'd look at me and say thanks. It was such sad news Saturday. My son wouldn't tell me as I ran around working until he knew I was settled in for the evening. I know he has heaven laughing tonight with Burkey, Fish and Mr. Walsh among others even as we cry. I love you J. Thank you for always being there for me.
Dino Demetriou '99 - Alumni
In the many years that I have watched Iona Basketball, JB was the one constant that was there year in and year out. He would give opposing shooters the horns during many games and truly loved Iona College. He was a friend to all who has ever met him. He would always say hi to you and would make you smile. Iona Basketball will not be the same after the passing of JB Buono.
Brian Naughton '91 - Football
JB was quite the character. He would always keep things light in the locker room with a joke or two. He'd also make you feel like you were the most important person and asked questions about you. I remember going in for treatments after workouts. He had his own heat "potion" that, once you got over the initial heat shock, worked really well. Regards, Brian
Mike Glynn - Cross Country / Track
Iona was a basketball school when I got there in1962. We had a great track team in "62 and JB treated all the athletes the same. He loved us all. My father died in my senior year and JB was there for me. Whenever I came back to school he always had time for me. I was at the basketball game on Sunday with a few other graduates and we were all looking for him at the end of the bench. He will always be at the end of that bench.
Kate Cunningham '73 - Alumni
I met JB in 1969, my freshman year. I think JB met every one of us in the first class of women at Iona. He was more than ready to offer a trainer’s expertise to all of us, but his friendliness was what we all remembered the most. I’ll never forget a sports dinner a few years ago where Jeff Ruland and J.B. were standing together talking. It was a funny sight. Jeff filled the doorway, but JB filled the room. I think every person in attendance knew him. He was an integral part of Iona, and will be remembered forever.
Tom Ralph '79 - Alumni
The passing of JB Buono marks the end of an era at Iona. JB loved Iona and Iona loved JB. I was fortunate to assist the Sports Information Department in the early 80's, compiling basketball game stats. I witnessed players and coaches come and go, but the one constant at Iona was always JB. Although I did not know JB that well, every time our paths crossed he made me feel like I was his best friend. He was a special man and we at Iona were truly blessed to have had him for so long.
Nick Cavataro - Men's & Women's Swimming Coach
I guess heaven needed a trainer to keep everyone smiling on cloudy days! Yea Man!
Fiore Sica '67 - Football
May Ben Bedini and JB rest in peace. My memories of JB are too long to list. Let's just say he was definetly "one of a kind"
Laura Koch Davis '98 - Swimming
During my undergraduate years at Iona (1994-1998) he was one of the most spirited and hard working men I remember from Iona. He was always smiling and saying hello to everyone. One could tell he really loved Iona and its student athletes. I swam and played water polo all 4 years and often visited the training room with shoulder problems. J.B. and Sam were always there ready to help! In my graduate years (99-2000) I was the graduate assistant for spirit promotions where I helped the Goal Club with fundraising and events, the Student Development Department, and helped get events organized for athletic events especially basketball half time. I will never forget the connection he had with the basketball fans, the team, and the staff. He was always there encouraging, cheering the Gaels on, and assisting in treating the athletes. It was if Iona had its own celebrity, J.B. Buono. His passing is a sad day for the Iona family but we will never forget him. His spirit will continue on in the history of Iona College now and forever. May you rest in peace J.B.!
Norman McHugh '91 - Cross Country and Track and Field
Even being overwhelmed with taping up the football or basketball teams, JB would always find time for the track guys who where needed to be taped, ultrasound or rub out a lump in your calf. With a always happy spirit say "there you go" with a stiff slap in the back of the neck as you headed off to practice. One of most genuine guys yoi could ever meet. He'll be missed
Pete Pisacano '89 - Baseball
I have so many memories of JB but what I remember most was his sense of humor. I'll never forget his war stories and his Babe Ruth stories. Stories of the good ole days at Iona with Valvano and Dennis Leonard and how Freddie Patek gave him his cleats. Just thinking about those stories in the training room still makes me laugh. That is what I will truly miss about JB, that's the trademark of JB. He always wanted to make people happy.
George Jonic '64 - Basketball
The best friend any Gael basketball player had on and off the court. More than taping ankles, JB made you relax and prepared you for every practice and game mentally and physically. He was part of the Iona Soul --May he rest in peace. George Jonic '64 Gaels
Jim Marchiony - Sports Information 1976-79
Before every basketball game during my three years at Iona J.B. and I would stand in the corner of the Mulcahy Center and give the opposing team "the horns." Then he'd whistle. Then "Yeah, man." The way he expressed his unconditional love for Iona and the student-athletes gave me a reason to smile every day I was there. We'll miss you, J.B.
Robert Cruz '94 - Baseball '95
Where do I being, road trips, laughs, stories, and guidance he proved can't be put into words. His class, professionalism, and love he shared will be carried on in all those hearts he touch. J.B. you will be missed. I will remember the Picture he had of himself when he was a little boy (if you seen the picture you know what I'm talking about. "YEAH MAN!" give him the horns J.B. God bless.
Joe Lomascolo - Former Pitching Coach '79
Even though I only worked with JB for one season, I found him to be a great guy! He always had a word of encouragement for everyone! He will always be remembered and missed.
Peter Masiello '69 - Baseball
I'll always remember you J.B. It's been 40 years since I played baseball for that freshman team. What a great team and there was no way I should have been a part of it, but JB picked me. I never played one game but cheered every one of them from the bench. Thanks J.B. for giving me a great seat for every game and to this day being grateful for being on one hell-of-a team. Enjoy heaven...'til our paths cross again
Don Martello '76 - Former Student-Athlete
I go back to the Iona Football Gaels 1973 championship season against Westchester Community College. I was the placekicker at age twenty-six, never played football in my life until entering Iona, JB was always there to encourage me. Oh yes, what a sense of humor! God Bless you JB!
John Moccio - Baseball
JB was one of a kind. Just the sight of him walking on campus could make you laugh. Baseball spring training in Florida with him was absolutely hilarious.
Jen Ritz '08 - Women's Basketball
Iona has been a huge part of my life since I was six years old and attending day camp. There have been many changes in staff since then but JB was always a constant. Any conversation you had with JB was memorable and I always considered it a privilege to be speaking with someone who had lived the kind of life he did. Talk about a man who had seen it all. We should all hope to live a life as full as his. I remember one day before practice I was hanging around outside the gym and JB came up to me and we started talking. He said he had something for me and pulled out a newspaper clipping from his pocket. It was a picture of me from an article the Journal News ran about us a few days earlier. He always showed everyone how much he really cared.
Taran Cardone - Former student
As an undergrad (not too long ago), I knew that my trips to Beechmont would include a few of my favorite things: wings, good TV, good company and, of course, JB. I will miss him and his sweet and endearing antics. He was truly a core part of Iona life! God bless!
Barbara Arndt Berardino '78 - Alumni
I was very active in the Football Club during the 1977 and 1978 seasons and had the pleasure of accompanying "JB" to the end of the year dinners.. He really knew how to have a good time!! Cannot believe it was 30 years ago.. Seems like just yesterday. "JB" was so proud to be such a well-known member of the Iona community and it won't be the same without him at all the sports events... Rest in peace JB.
Jeanne Langenauer-Carter - Former Student-Athlete
When I first read the news of JB's passing, I went straight to the remembrances link. I knew from my 4 years at Iona in the early 80's and many bball games after that, what a loved man JB was. He loved life, lived it as only he would and along the way touched so many lives. This wonderful man was friends to students, teachers, Iona families and communities over so many decades and could relate to each and every one of us because he was him self with a true love of life and friendship. JB, you will be missed, never forgotten, and forever a part of some many members of the Iona family. God bless you - we need more people in the world like you!
Jonathan Dillard '04 - Football
Although my time at Iona was short lived, you're one thing about Iona College that has remained with me even though it's been 4-5 years since I walked the campus. It was just last week that I thought about you and some of the stories you told me and the football team that had the whole room crying in laughter. Rest in peace buddy, I hope I can live life with the happiness and zest you always seemed to have. "Yeah, man."
Casey Stanley '08 - Alumni / Men's Basketball Coach
JB Buono was first and foremost a Gael. Without question he was the most unique and well loved person I came across in my time with Iona. JB has literally known me all my life and although his loss is devastating, Bones died happy and fulfilled. I hope he is reunited with his wife, enjoying a coffee and a muffin, and watching over our teams for a long time in heaven.
Mario Dell'Aera - Football
JB was the second person I met on campus when I was looking at colleges. His electrifying personality and connection with the students I still remember form that day. Over the next four years playing football, I spent a lot of time with JB in the training room, and he always got me ready to play regardless of the injury. He was a trainer, a friend and like a grandfather to me back then. JB will always be a fond memory of my years at IONA and thereafter, we were blessed to have him. Go Bless Mario Dell'Aera Class of 1981
Lou Kangas - Friend / Co-Worker
At JB's service someone should mention the fact that if it weren't for JB: "This sermon would be in German" We will miss you my friend.
Mary Ann Latter - Parent of Football Alumni
J.B. Buono, so dedicated to all the athletes there at Iona. His presence and involvement at my son's football games was truly a gift that came from his heart! An amazing man of character!
Mark Fenton '97 - Football
As a frequent consumer of JB's "magic sauce" I was blessed to spend a lot of time in J's company - what a joy! The stories, the love of the school and most of all - JB's inherent love of the student athletes was infectious. From the moment I arrived at Iona "Yeah Man" and "Come in Berlin" were staples and irrespective of the circumstances in which you heard those words, a reassuring comfort came with them. A true legend among legends and a man who leaves an endearing mark on all those whose lives he touched and on the Iona Community as a whole. May he rest in peace.
Frank Amato '99 - Baseball
JB you are a Legend and you have created memories for many of us. I think of JB every time i throw a ball and wish i had some of that JB Arm Rub. JB the Iona College Legend PRAY FOR US....
Ralph Bondi '71 - Baseball
Many will see that J lived 97 years, but it wasn't the years, it was the moments. Each moment I shared with J was a moment that made me feel better than I felt before. God Bless JB Buono.
Kevin Fales '03 - Football
JB!!! I had the experience of packing 97years of memories into wonderful 4 years of playing football at Iona with a man with an unnamed potion but a true heart that made it work. For his 93rd birthday four of us took him out to a place to remain nameless but for anybody that knew him you know where I am talking about. There was no cribbage in this man's future just a knack to inspire athletes and the female population. He's a little old man but what they didn’t know at the party was that this guy was a true legend. This man helped rebuild me after multiple surgeries even after I graduated. Modern medicine had no room for original TLC and everyone knew it. You couldn’t get guys into the training room for treatment on time, but if JB was lending his hands of god you were there nice and early. A man can only dream about emulating character and loyalty that JB had for everyone he encountered. God Bless you JB and Im sure you and the green hornet will cause alot of trouble at the training room in the sky. You've been an inspiration to all.
Kevin Young '78 - Alumni / Ionian Editor
No one did more for Iona College athletics over the 65-plus year history of our school than two men: Jim McDermott and "J.B." Buono. Their dedication and devotion to building and maintaining Iona’s image, reputation and successes –on and off the field, throughout the community and across the country – were unmatched.
Cathy Netti-Poppiti - Former Student
I went to Iona from 1988-1992. You always knew it was Spring when you'd see JB on the field with the boys! JB, you will me missed!
John Santoro '77 - Alumni
I played football at Iona back in 1976 when it was still a club program. I can remember the first time I met J.B. My first thought was "who is this guy?" After having my ankles tape a few times, I quickly learned that he was more than just our trainer, but was a philosopher on life. While it's been many years since I left Iona, I have followed the basketball program and in so doing have sort of kept up with JB The one thing I learned from JB and wished I practiced it more than I do, is to not only live each day to the fullest, but each moment. To me, JB lived life like it should be, cherishing each moment and enriching each and every person he met. JB, thanks for the memories.
Kyran Connelly '98 - Baseball
It was a pleasure to be around Bones at all times during my playing days at Iona. It brought me great joy that I got to share some time with him at the baseball alumni game just recently. God bless you Bones and the Buono family. YEH MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
John Duffy '71 - Football
JB had lots of stories. But the common theme throughout his relationships with the students, athletes, and various coaches and administrators of Iona was one of love. The man loved us all, loved what he did, helped everyone around him be better, and made us all look at the better side of things. His stories I will remember, his love I will treasure. Peter Pan forever!
Thomas Moore '77 - Baseball
Everyone who wore the maroon and gold their life was touched by J.B. He was the Icon of Iona everyones friend. Thank you J.B. for being a great friend. The Iona community has truly lost someone special. Godspeed you J.B.
Paul Ferrante - Former Football Athlete and Coach
So in '76 we're playing at Brooklyn College and losing and I get carried off the field and plunked down on the bench in pain. My parents run down out of the stands and come up behind JB just as he is telling me the best thing to rub on my injured limb. You fill in the blanks. Bones made Iona College Football one of the great things in my life as both a player and later an assistant coach. And even after that when I was coaching at the Prep he would come tape our kids, and it was like living my youth all over again. Road trips with Jay were something that just had to be experienced. Though it is tough to lose both Iona College Football and Jay within months of each other, at least they will pass into history together. I'll bet he's hanging out with Jimmy V. right now. We will all take a part of him with us. Come in Berlin, and God Bless You.
Bob Zottoli '87 - Baseball
There will always be memories of JB working on me in the training room and me listening to his stories...he knew the right things to say at the right times... especially us young freshmen. It was a complete pleasure as well to bring him the ECAC MAAC conference championship in 1985 on the backs of guys like Sammy and Gino. JB kept us all healthy as he was great with his hands and his wisdom. You will always be in my prayers JB.
Jim Taylor '69 - Alumni
For the past 40 years, I have received a beautiful Christmas Card from Jay. He attended our wedding, and was a mainstay in my life long before that. I met Jay when I was a student, and even though I wasn't one of his athletes, we were great friends. We were bartenders together at The Camelot in the Bronx, and the Church Key on North Ave. Way back then, all the bouncers and bartenders usually had to be members of the football, baseball or basketball teams. When I recall all the times JB and I spent together, I realize how blessed I am to have known him. He was truly "one of a kind" and the truest to the Iona Gael tradition you might imagine. When he "retired," a gang from the old Church Key attended and booked our own table. I don't think I'll ever forget how he greeted me in a loud booming shout of "JIMMY!" So glad you could make it, And then he immediately began to chat up my bride/wife. I will never forget him or his guidance and friendship. If anyone ever asks you why Iona is so special, just think of JB and all he did for the school and all its students -- players or not. Jay, you will always be in our prayers. Certa Bonum Certamen. Jim Taylor '69 Eileen Taylor
Richard Kiplagat '06 - Cross Country / Track
It is very sad news. I will truly miss J.B Buono. What a great guy he was. Words are not enough to fully describe Mr. Buono . He was very friendly and caring to every student at IONA. He was very kindly and motivational guy. Always when you met him the first word to hear from him was "YA MEN" which he meant everything was great. He was always the first one to bring newspapers that covered my athletic performance. I will miss him very much.
Terence Burke - Friend
My father, Tom Burke, and JB were tight. In fact, when my Dad was an undergrad at Iona (he graduated in 1968) JB was his roommate one year. So I've heard a lot of stories about J, and each one of them is a classic. From the time I was a little boy, attending Iona hoops games with my father, I always thought JB was one of the great characters I would ever meet in my life. He would tell me about all of his girlfriends when I was probably too young to hear about them. He gave me a few more details when I played golf with him, my Dad, and my Dad's buddies at the Iona golf outing. (He also used the same club for each shot and hit it about 100 yards straight down the middle of the fairway each time). My senior year in high school at Stepinac in White Plains I badly sprained both of my ankles in a basketball game. I was desperate to get better and keep playing. So my Dad sent me JB's way. Before every game for the rest of the season, I drove down to Iona and J rubbed down and taped up my ankles. He was about 85 years old, but it was the best tape job I ever had. It may have taken a bit longer than other trainers, but it was worth it to hear more of those legendary stories. My Dad left early. J stayed late. I hope that they're having a laugh, and telling more stories, wherever they are. J - you will be missed by the Burke family. Thank you for making us all smile.
Tom Feliciotto '96 - football
JB kept me going for my four years of playing at football at Iona. No matter how my day was going, once I stepped one foot inside the trainer’s room, it became a better day. No matter what, he always put a smile on my face. JB was good for a story or several. I loved listening to him tell me stories of his days w/ Jimmy V. I tore my right shoulder my senior year of HS and my left shoulder my freshmen year at Iona, without JB's magic potion and unbelievable massages, I don't know what I would have done. Another classic thing I will always remember was whenever anyone passed wind especially himself, his great line of "Come in Berlin." When I heard he passed away, I said to myself, there goes a legend. RIP JB. You were a great person and during my four years at Iona, a good friend. Thank you.
Toni Ann Ungro '08 - student worker
JB you were truly one of a kind. You cherished life and lived it to the fullest. We lost one of the best, but you will live on in the hearts of everyone that you crossed paths with. Most colleges just have one mascot, we have two. You were and will forever be out Athletic Department’s lucky charm.
Jillian McNamara '07 - alumni
i spent almost every night at Beechmont with JB for the three years that I worked there. He would come in and have his glass of red wine every night and just keep us company. He always had a story to tell and was someone I will never forget. He was like my grandfather away at school, a wonderful man. I'm glad I got to spend the time that I did with him. He will be missed so unbelievably much!
Matt Merli '08 - football
I will always remember just hanging out with JB in the back of Beechmont. On Wednesday nights, everyone would be out and all of us football guys would sit with JB in the back and talk to him about everything from sports to A-Rod being a hotdog. When he was ready to leave, whoever was with him would just clear the crowd and make room for him. I will never forget JB, he was the man and the face of IONA. R.I.P J-Bizzleeee.
Mike Florio '77 - football / friend for life
JB was Iona, he was the man. JB was not a very tall man but he was larger than life. JB was the common denominator for every person that wore the Maroon & Gold uniform over the last 45 years. JB cannot be replaced. He was truly a special treasure whose memory will live in our hearts forever. Rest in peace my friend. Thanks for the fun you brought to all of us who had the pleasure of knowing you. God Bless you. Fuzzy
Nick Acimovic '05 - football
Even though I only knew JB for a short while he made me feel like part of the family. He was a good man who I had a lot of respect for. He will be missed.
Richard McHugh - friend
What a life he led. You could talk to JB about anything and he would answer. From giving the enemy the Italian curse to being a top trainer and helping out Iona thru its many successes, JB was the man. Being there when they dedicated the baseball field was the best.
Dustin Prevete '03 - baseball
His stories about fishing with Babe Ruth
Errol Thomas '09 - student / men's basketball manager
JB used to always tell jokes in practice and after the games. He was a good man. He will always be missed.
Louis Bonomo - friend
My friendship to JB goes back a long way. My Father and JB were teammates on the baseball team at New Rochelle High School way back in the 30's. They would pal around all the time and were good friends. I later went to NRHS with his son Bruce, and had many great moments. What I remember most was JB's enthusiasm in any conversation you had with him. One in particular was at Yonkers Raceway, I asked him how he was doing, and he replied "I just got beat at the wire. I had a rusty deuce in my pocket and now i'm broke." That term "Rusty Deuce" is a classic now and will always be JB. He was funny and a character to say the least. He will be missed around Iona, and New Rochelle. Regards to Bruce
James Dalton - Iona Prep '67
JB was one of the Good Guys, the really Good Guys. My memory: Before the Prep moved to Wilmot Rd in Q3 '67, JB would stop by Harris Gym and look after the Prep football players. I wasn't much of a player- my body wasn't made for football, my mind was- but JB always took time to chat. He didn't have to spend time with the Prep guys, and he certainly didn't have to take time with me, but he did. He was one of the Good Guys. My prayers are with him from Shanghai.
Michael Blanco '89 - former basketball coach
I consider myself very fortunate to have grown up behind Iona College. I have known JB since my childhood when I would try to sneak into the old barn to shoot a basketball. In fact his son was my homeroom teacher at New Rochelle High School. The greatest memory that I will have of J was when we roomed together in Kansas City. That time afforded me, the opportunity to really get to know him. I remember how he spoke about his wife and the emotion he demonstrated while speaking of her in the fondest possible way. He spoke about his incredible experiences in World War II which also created an emotion that I never saw in J prior to that trip. I remember how his eyes would light up when he talked about Dennis Leonard or Warren Isaac. Rest in peace my friend, you have earned it.
Aimee Pascale - Athletic Trainer / Co-Worker
This is my first year working at Iona and I’m honored that I had the privilege of getting to know JB. I learned quickly that he is a legend not only through Iona College, but in the world of athletic training as well. He left a positive, unforgettable impression on everyone he interacted with. Every athlete who walked into the training to see that JB or "Bizzle" was there today had a smile on their face. He would always say "Those doctors don't know anything! I heal with my hands." And he did, even at 97 years young.
Tom Bisceglia '88 - football / friend
If it wasn't for JB keeping me healthy/ playing with a torn ACL...I would not be where I am today as a Teacher/ Coach. I spent 2 hours before and after practice with JB's magic juice rub, stories, laughter, fantastic care, hot tub, ice tub and Love. I think all of us can say we are where we are in life because of having the opportunity to have meet J. I managed to stop by every few of years to see JB and Sam... Two of the best! I wouldn't trade my times at Iona for anything...I love you JB and I am so glad I ran into and had dinner with you at the Beechmont a couple of years ago. True College Athletics is about people and the world of College Athletics lost one of its Best...Rest in Peace, Dear Friend. Thank You!
Anne Corbo (Applegate) '80, '87 MBA - student worker
My days at Iona were the best! As a cheerleader and student worker for Jim Valvano, I had the pleasure of being with JB on a daily basis. And he always put a smile on my face. Whether he was bandaging a "boo boo" or bringing me "sweets for the sweet", he always made me feel special. As he did with everyone. He will forever be in my heart and prayers.
Marian and Lou Casali - friend / co-worker
Wherever you are it is your own friends who make your world. Our family was blessed with J's love and friendship from our days before, during and after IONA. Spending 28 years in athletics with him was a very special time that I will always treasure. When traveling with J to away games with Pat, Gary, Jerry, Tim and Jeff, it was always a fun time. Imagine what heaven is like now with J. sitting next to St. Peter. May his memory always remind us to stop and smell the roses. He "DID"
Joe-Joe Starace '88 - baseball
The road trips in the van J.B drove were unforgettable. The class, charm, charisma, and loyalty was second to none. I'm going to miss going to the Beechmont with my family on a Saturday to see a man who always put his athletes before himself. One thing is certain GOD will be wearing an IONA hat. Thanks J.B for touching my heart and soul.
Michael DiPiazza '04, '08 MBA - Iona Admissions
I had just been accepted to Iona in the spring of 2000 when I went to watch the Gaels play Siena in the MAAC championship game in Albany. During the first half Tariq Kirksay got hurt at the far end of the court from the Iona bench. JB shuffled his way over to Tariq, checked him quickly, and they both went off the court. It appeared to be a back injury and no one was sure if we'd ever see Tariq in an Iona uniform again. But shortly after the start of the second half, Tariq came storming out of the runway from the Iona locker room and back to the court- much to the delight of the Iona fans! Tariq went on to lead Iona to their first of back-to-back MAAC titles and thus began with me the legend of the guy with the horns I had just read about days before in USA Today. I've since heard countless stories of how JB helped Iona players over the years, but none were more interesting than listening to JB tell his own. "Yeah, Man," you will truly be missed!
Derek Wachter '91 - baseball
We have lost a true legend in JB. His devotion to Iona College was unimaginable. I will never forget what he did for me while playing baseball for Iona, he was a true professional and a true friend!!!! He will be missed!!
Vinnie Ammirato '86 - baseball
1/3 baby oil, 1/3 liquid heat, 1/3 rubbing Alcohol in that old plastic bottle. The JB pre game shoulder rub down before a start was what kept me going for 4 years. We would sit and listen to JB for hours when he told his stories about his beloved Dennis Leonard. JB you were the reason I signed with Iona, and the reason I stayed when things got tough. rest in peace JB, and if heaven has a baseball team, I'm sure your coaching first base!!!!!!!!!
Michael Cancilla - Assistant/Associate AD 1991-2000
Really sorry to hear that our dear friend has passed. The Iona years have always been my favorite of my 22 year athletic career and that is in part to JB. So long friend. And when we meet next I will be waiting for a "Yeah man"!
Chelsea White '06 - volleyball
There is nobody that could make me smile quite like JB. And there wasn't anybody that could mend a broken ankle or a broken heart like him. It's people like JB that make me more proud than ever to have been a Gael. He will forever be among my favorite memories thinking back on my time at Iona.
Ross Fulco - Former Team Physician
I had the pleasure of working with JB for many years both on and off the court. JB was a gentleman and true friend and will be sorely missed by both the Iona Community and the entire Sports world.
Christopher Fulco '89 - alumni board member / friend
JB was always a special person to me, I could remember playing ball during class and JB would hang out and watch us and just chat it up with us. He made everyone of the students feel right at home and he is more than an ICON for IONA and will be sorely missed....... I would be hard pressed to not mention the Italian Horns JB would give to every team and opposing player that we played. It was Jay at his best, making the horns when an opposing player shot free throws....Classic JB... We will never forget JB Buono at Iona...
Bob Pisillo '86 - baseball
I'd like to echo all the sentiments about J.B. being a great friend. As a 20 something year old there were many times I'd prefer to eat dinner in Spellman Hall with JB rather than my peers. Along with my roommate Sammy Tolisano (who would continue to be Jay's lifeline) I'd spend many Sunday's cooking JB a chicken and garlic dinner in our crowded 3 beds in one room apartment. I'll never forget the many great times we had and the stories he told. RIP Bones.
Ed Francis - Alumni
In the '70s during Jim Valvano's stay, the team was playing in Vegas against UNLV. I was the scorekeeper back then. We purchased tickets to see Tony Orlando at the MGM Grand and JB joins the 10-15 alums and friends. He sits near the stage across from me and keeps telling the Iona contingent, "I know Tony Orlando. He played with Buddy in the band when they were younger." No one believed him. Well, not two minutes after Tony Orlando comes on stage and performs, he spots JB, bends over from the stage and gives him the biggest hug and gives him his cane! Another time I remember being with him and Dennis Leonard while they exchanging baseball stories that were so entertaining. God bless you for all you have done. Give 'em the horns!
Sam De Rosa '87 - Co-worker
I would like to let you know of what a true friend J.B. had in Sammy Tolisano (former baseball player '85). He kept J.B. going every weekend with a trip to the diner for breakfast. Sam - Thanks for your kindness
Gene Doris - Athletic Director, Fairfield University / Friend
When I received a phone call from Joe Mazzella, Saturday morning letting me know of JB's passing it felt like the loss of family member. Many of my friends and some of my former players, played for Iona. Their attachment to Iona was JB. Coaches, ADs, faculty, religious and even presidents passed through but there was always JB. The stories I will leave for the alumni of Iona. JB was a fierce competitor but a better friend. My visits to Iona, the MAAC Basketball tournament and the Beechmont will never be the same. JB resonated with the young and old. JB knew people and you always knew where he stood on any issue. He knew more about life than anyone I knew. From his "horns" to his hats he lived and breathed Iona athletics. I don't think he ever realized that he gave more to those who knew him than we ever gave to him. "Yeah, man".
Ron Pascale '71 - Track / Cross Country
No matter how tough your workout or how difficult your day, JB always made you smile and feel good about yourself. My daughter, Aimee is an athletic trainer at Iona now and I am happy that she has had the privilege of knowing such a rare and special person as JB. She said she saw him do his last taping job the other day - took him 20 minutes, but still sharp as a tack and witty as ever. I hope your roads ahead, JB, are full of sunshine and laughter just as were the paths you traveled here - we'll miss you, old friend.
Al Zoccolillo - Former Head Baseball Coach 1987-2005
Not too many people are lucky enough to truly find their Eden on this earth. JB found his on a small college campus on North Avenue in New Rochelle, NY. He will be missed.
Glenn Horine '84, '91 MBA - Baseball, Sports Information
My mother still asks me about that man who gave us a campus tour back in 1980. ..Yeah man, JB was our official tour guide and first introduction to what Iona College was all about...imagine that... Yeah man, he loved talking to my mom, Mrs. Horann... Oh the stories he told... We actually had him up to my parent's log cabin house (outside of Albany) for dinner one year with a few other Iona folks Yeah man, that was a great dinner Mrs. Horann...that Mr. JB was funny and my parents still talk about him and that dinner...As a former athlete, and I use that term loosely, he made all of us feel part of his family...and after a bad performance, he was always there picking you up unconditionally...Yeah man, it was the best tonic he could ever provide for what ailed you.......There are very few people that I can think of that generate a smile and laugh, as quickly and often, as when discussing Iona's JB. Yeah man, JB will be sorry missed, but his legacy will be a treasure for those of us fortunate to be touched by him...Yeah man, God bless..
Justin Karn '09 - Baseball
JB will be missed much more than words can express. Everyone who came into contact with him over the years understands that he is the heart and soul of Iona Athletics. No matter where we traveled, an Iona alum would show up asking for JB. RIP JB, our dugout and Iona will never be the same. JK
David Annunziata '83 - Baseball Team
JB made being on the team more fun than we should have been having. We didn't win much, but we had a great time. He also made sure we didn't miss any of the pretty co-eds as they walked by the field; thanks for looking out for JB. And thanks for great memories. God bless you.
Joe Charles '06 - Athletics Student Worker
I have many memories of JB and the good times we had when he would come up to visit the "Cage" where I was doing work-study, with him gone, I like others from Iona have heavy hearts and will miss him! RIP JB!
Kevin Van Meter '98 - Former PA Announcer
When I became PA announcer for the Gaels in 1991, the first man to really make me feel like a part of the team was "Mr. J.B."- He was my closest friend on campus, admired that I went back and got my degree at Iona at age 42 and one afternoon, told me in private, "You the best announcer guy this school ever had! You get this place rocking! YEAH, Man!! I loved this man dearly and I will miss my "Little Papa." See in heaven, Mr. J. B.-- God bless you. Kevin Van Meter Iona PA Announcer 1991-2005
Dave Biskup - Iona Student
Great guy - Always had a wit when taping me up for games or running into him anywhere - Great smile!
John Fitzgerald '85 - Alumni
What an AMAZING legacy! Everyone who ever had the great fortune to cross paths with JB was incalculably richer for it. His smile and his love of life were infectious!
Roger Austin '90 - Track & Field
JB was a Character who was larger then life. Very funny but above all he was extremely caring about Iona and all of his student athletes. Thanks for being a very memorable part of my Iona experience.
Carol Giuliano '78 - Friend
Always the ladies' man! Even into his 90's JB would send me Valentine cards with his phone number and an invitation to dinner at his apartment. There will never be another one like him!
David Scott - Friend of the Program - Boston Sports Media
First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with J.B.'s family and friends. Stay strong and revel in the wonderful way J.B. affected so many. During the first (and subsequent) seasons of the glorious Jeff Ruland coaching era, I was able to chronicle a full season of Gael basketball for SPORT magazine and later in more uncensored form for Basketball Times magazine. As a writer, you hope and pray you'll discover characters like J.B. Then you hope you can capture the essence of a man who more often than not defied explanation. What touched me most about J.B. was the relationship he had forged and maintained with Coach Ruland. There was no generational gap, no age difference between Coach and J.B. - just an unbreakable bond for two men who loved the smell of the gym and the thrill of seeing the Gaels win. That type of simpatico is also something writers constantly look to discover and relate. I'm not sure I was ever able to capture the "Yeah, Man" Man accurately on the printed page, but this beautiful living tribute to J.B. confirms all that I wanted to relay. There will be a whole lot of perfectly taped ankles in Heaven's locker room from here on out - and oh, the stories those folks will be treated to. RIP, J.B.
Denis Fiske '00 - Alumni
I took my wife and 18 month old daughter to the Iona vs Fairfield game during Chrismans break. At halftime my daughter was running around the side of the bleachers. JB came over to say hi and she gave him a smile. That made me rememeber what made Iona so special. People like JB.
Joe Mercurio - Alumni
J, you will be missed by all. From the stories in the trainers room during the football season, to the trips to FL during the baseball seasons to your frequent stops at the firehouse on your way into the Beechmont you were a true friend an I will never forget your kindness and friendship. Godspeed my friend!!!
Brent (Born Talent) Kammerer '96 - Alumni / Friend
JB would find me in the crowd before every road game, and throw up "the horns", and I would reply back, by throwing them up as well. He had some of the greatest stories that would have me laughing for hours. He will truly be missed... R.I.P. to "Mr. Iona". JB Buono
Jerry Cole '93 - Former Student-Athlete
JB was one of the first people I met when I came to New Rochelle in the Summer of '79. Between playing soccer for the Gaels and working as a manager for the men's basketball team I was fortunate enough to spend innumerable hours with JB. His devilish smile is forever engrained in my memory. JB had an infectious personality and you could easily was just how beloved he was by the Iona community. Any time a former student-athlete came back to school JB was always one of the first people to be sought out by them. JB, thank you for your care & skill in treating and caring for all of our athletes. You saw me through several injuries and always got me back in the game. You truly lived the Iona motto Certa Bonum Certamen! Rest in peace my friend.
Caryn Brienza '07 - Dance Team
The year Iona won the MAAC and went to the NCAA tourney, JB used to cheer for the dance team on the sideline. Even though we sat behind the court, he always cheered us on. For that weekend, he asked for one of our pom-poms and held it on the sideline for each game. When they won the MAAC he proudly waved his dance team pom. At Midnight Madness the next year, he waved his pom. He carried it with him for a couple of games, even though that was a rough season.
Michael Rabbitt '07 - Football
One of the true great people in this world. His birthday parties were always a great celebration of his life. You will be miss JB.
Rich Huelbig '84 - Student-Athlete / Alumni
I am saddened by the news of JB's passing. He will be missed. The man had more energy at his age than I did at 21. His one-liners/sound effects were constantly heard around the locker room. I arrived at Iona straight out of the Navy and once I heard that JB served during WWII we began to swap stories... obviously, his were more interesting than mine. You lived a good life Sir, stand easy, we have the watch.
Lou Borrelli - Friend
JB was a true original, someone who made you feel special whether he knew you for a minute or your whole life... Growing up in New Rochelle, you learned at a very young age that JB was someone to respect - when that word had real meaning with a kick behind it, if you know what I mean... He was generous with his time and his advice to a young cable tv executive that put Iona Basketball on UA-Columbia Cable 3 in 1978 - "make sure you get me on my good side" he would say as we were setting up... JB - you didn't have a bad side. RIP.
Pete Gallo - Alumni
JB LOVED TO PLAY THE HORSES. AS A BASEBALL PLAYER IN THE 60'S I RECALL FREQUENTLY MEETING UP WITH J B AT YONKERS RACEWAY- HIS FAVORITE EXPRESSION AT THE TRACK WAS "ANYBODY GOT A "RUSTY DUECE" REFERRING TO THE LAST TWO DOLLARS IN YOUR WALLET... WHAT MANY PEOPLE DON'T REALIZE IS THAT JB WAS QUITE A BASEBALL PLAYER IN HIS HIGH SCHOOL DAYS AT NEW ROCHELLE.
Vincent Nee - Former Student-Athlete
I will never forget the many stories that he shared with us. I will also never forget times in which he always picked us up when we were feeling down by the way he consoled us. He will be missed but always remembered.
Chas Borrelli '69 - Football Club Vice President 1966-69
I recently told this story to Gino Partenza's kids at (unfortunately) at his wake. Gino was QB for the football club during 67/68. We were at an away game at Univ of Scrnaton PA. I was the VP of the football club. There was a curfew for the players. A couple of us wanted to hit the town for a few drinks but we had no transportation. It was Gino, myself, Coach Skip Mongen and JB. As we were contemplating whether to take a cab JB comes in and says I have it all taken care of. He talked the bus driver into taking us into town. So there we are arriving in downtown Scranton in a 40 passenger bus. We missed the curfew, but since Gino was the QB, he got off the hook. We beat Scranton the next day. JB could solve any sports related problem there was, on or off the field.
Rocco Fernandez '08 - Football
JB was IONA. He was at every football game and practice that he could be at. He was always helping everyone he could on and off the field, whether it be taping an ankle before practice, or his crazy stories at Beechmont. Everybody loved JB, and you just know that he loved everyone at that school. He will be greatly missed.
John McGurk - Former Student-Athlete
I played on the football team from 1966 to 1969 and J.B. was our trainer. He was as big a part of those teams as any QB, HB,or lineman on the team. God bless you J.B. we will never forget you.
Bob Paul '80 - Football
JB made each and every student athlete feel welcome and part of the heritage at Iona from the very first day you walked on campus; and every time you had the privilege of meeting him later on in your adult life. He was a very special human being; he gave of himself completely to the school and the students. There will be a huge void when you scan the Iona sports benches and look up and down the sidelines from now on. JB will surely be missed by all.
Jim Conklin '00 - Baseball
Somehow in his late 80's he was able to play pepper without even looking at the ball. He was absolutely a legend at Iona and will be missed but his stories will last forever.
Linda Bruno ’76, ’79 M.S. Ed. - Student, Administrator, Board of Trustees, Friend
As a student, my entire social life centered around men's basketball games. At that time, we played at Iona Prep and Mt. St. Michael's. with a sporadic game on campus at the old air plane hanger, East Hall. After I graduated and started my graduate degree at Iona, I was out on North Avenue with some friends... JB came in and told me that the bb coach... Jim Valvano... had just also been named as the AD and was looking for some administrative assistance. I called Jim, because I wanted tuition-free assistance for my master's degree, and worked for him for five years. After that, my career...much to my surprise....ended up in athletics. JB was the catalyst for all of this. While he could call all of us 'girls', he managed to respect us as well. No one will ever forget him. Go with God, JB. We love you
John Judge '71 - Friend
As a 17 year old in 1967 I was not a very good second baseman, J.B. was coach of the freshman baseball team. Behind the pitching of Joe Mazzella the freshman team defeated the varsity team that year. While J.B. was very professional on the field the great joy!!!!! he took from that day back in his laundry room in O'Connell Gym was unimaginable. That began a friendship that has lasted more than 40 years. When I saw him a few weeks ago he ended our conversation as always with SEE YA KNUCK. May God bless and keep you J.B. and I'll SEE YA KNUCK
Kevin Callahan '84 - Administrator, Former Grad. Asst. Coach, Men's Basketball
JB Buono was like a grandfather to me at Iona. I can say, without doubt, that JB was one of the most influential people to me during my time as a student at Iona and as an Administrator after that. He was the life of the party and was a player, coach and fan favorite. He will always be remembered. They don't make them like JB anymore. He should be nominated and included in the Westchester County Sports Hall of Fame and the NY State Athletics Hall of Fame. He was one in a million and a good friend. I will always remember that he had the insight to have us call the ambulance BEFORE Ray Horton collapsed in the locker room. If we hadn't and if JB had not anticipated that we were dealing with a serious medical emergency, Ray Horton would have died in Mulcahy Center that afternoon. Rest in peace, old friend. JB will always shine down on Iona College and any athlete who dons the maroon and gold. He will never be replaced. Give them the horns, Jay.
Gerard Haughey' 92 - Friend / Neightbor
JB was my next door neighbor and I spent many evenings talking it up with him. To be honest it's hard to write this because I'm very sad today myself but I need to share that I found JB to have lived up to the name 'Legend'. I will miss you JB but I'll never forget you... choo choo! RIP
Kelli Anne Jennings (Barry) '99 - Cross Country / Track
JB was friendly and very enthusiastic when it came to sports. He was always around when I went to cross country and track practice. His signature saying is Yeah Man! He made the basketball game fun. He was a very interesting person to talk to before and after practice.
James C. Cullen '77 - Baseball (captain '77)
He was the simply the BEST ! He treated all that came in contact with him and really got to know him, very very special, as he was to me! I last saw him and spoke with him at length at last years Fall 2008 Baseball Alumni game, where he also appeared in our Baseball Alumni Team picture. He never forgot who you were! In our Fall 2006 Baseball Alumni game he even participated in the game coaching third base. He will be sorely missed in the Iona community! God Bless You JB & God Speed!
Dave Frazer '98 - Track / Cross Country
JB always had time for every athlete or anybody for that matter. He had a story to tell for the mood, whether you needed motivation, a pat on the back or a great laugh JB knew how to help. I still greet people with a "Yeah Man", just like JB would do. Thanks you JB for showing us what it means to be a "Gael".
Mikaela Hogg '06 - Volleyball
JB knew how bad I wanted to get back on the court after I hurt my ankle towards the end of my Senior year. He brought in his special formula one day and worked on my ankle just to help my get back on my feet. Of course, I loved his signature phrase, "yeah man." JB was always great to have around and all of the athletes deeply respected him.
Ned O'Connell '70 - Former Athlete
JB was a truly unique person who improved the life of everyone he ever met. His candid outlook on life, his passion for Iona and his undying spirit will live on in the hearts the Iona community forever. He was one of my best friends and I will miss him terribly.
Chris MacRobbie - MBA Grad and Daughter is an Iona Junior
I saw this "old guy" at a local New Rochelle Restaurant on North Avenue while having dinner with my daughter (Iona Junior) and my wife. He was all decked out in Iona garb, reading the sports section of the paper and watching a game on TV. I said to my wife "look at this old guy, he must love this school". I felt bad that he was by himself. He said hello to everyone, including myself and my family. Now knowing he was a War hero and fought for our freedom and great country of ours, a great family man, and dedicated to students, I would have shook his hand and thanked him. God Bless you JB.
Danny Brennan '04 - Student Worker (Assistant to the Assistant)
J.B. had the ability to brighten your day. Everyone loved to hear a 'Yeah Man' or see him working his magic around athletics. He made me day whenever the Green Hornet was around. We'll miss you J.B.
Barbara Montanaro - Parent of Football Alumni
I remember JB always, and I mean always, being in attendance at every football game that we attended especially in the years that our sons, Will and Justin Montanaro were on the team. I did get a chance to meet him after a game when we invited him to have a bite/drink at the Beechmont and I remember him also at being at the college diner. He loved the kids, you could really feel his dedication. He will be missed. Barbara and Joe Montanaro
Rob Forcelli '03 - former men's basketball manager
My greatest memory of JB was our trip to Hawaii during my junior year. Just imagine going to a luau with a thousand people in the audience and 25 dancers on stage. Then the emcee calls JB on stage. And this 90 year old man led people from around the word in his own "JB Buono version" of the hula as only JB could! Let's just says the tears of laughter were streaming down EVERYONE'S face! We'll miss you old buddy!
Kevin Hassett - former men's basketball player
JB was the funniest man i have ever met. He loved life and I learned so much from his enthusiasm.
Robert Pysz - friend
He was a great man who made me laugh everytime I saw him. He told great stories and will be missed. He loved Iona Football. He was a Gael for life!
Andrew Nass - Iona football
JB had the best pregame talks I've ever heard. I'm glad I had the chance to meet such a great man.
Maggie Timoney '89, '92 - former women's basketball player
There are only great memories of JB - the man with the magic potion to make all injuries disappear - but he was more than that. He was a friend to all of the student athletes. He was always there and you could count on him. He was 72 when I got to Iona and to me, I cannot imagine Iona without him. I could always rely on him to meet me for a drink in Spectators (way after I had graduated of course!!!!) or to go to the diner for lunch or just a cup of coffee and shoot the breeze. How could a 72 year old man relate to a freshman in college......JB always stayed young in his heart and in his mind. That is why no one could ever guess his age! He was just one of us from '85 to '89 and just one of every other class years after we graduated. Iona College athletics will never be the same without JB. We are all privileged to have known him. It is sad as the graduates of the future will really miss out on their lives being touched by someone very special with JB gone. Weren't we the lucky ones...
Maureen Flynn '08 - former Iona student
His love of Beechmont rivaled my own; he was a vital part of my college experience. God bless.
Robert Woods - Iona Football
JB was a great guy and he will be sorely missed. I loved all of his crazy stories during camp in the summer. JB was a staple at Iona and I feel bad for the future athletes that will never get the chance to meet him.
Sean Brennan - NY Daily News / friend
So I walk into the Beechmont one night after covering an Iona game for The News and I'm standing at the bar with a few people, having a beer and talking about the game. Then I notice J.B., sitting at one of those side tables by himself, so I ask him to join us at the bar. "No man, I'm OK," he said. I ask again, "C'mon J.B., don't sit by yourself." "No man, I'm OK." So I leave him alone, thinking he'll join us in a bit. Maybe 15 minutes go by and I look over again at J.B. and he's no longer alone. There's one girl sittnng on his right, one on his left and another on his lap. Then he looks over at me, gives me that J.B. grin and says, "Yeah, man." I should have hung out with him more in the Beechmont. A true classic.
Paul Amalfitano '00 - football, student athletic trainer
I will never forget my times with JB, from staying in a 100+ degree room (with JB staying under the covers) while away with a team; or mixing "The juice" or standing in the athletic center in front of the windows and watching JB work his charm with the ladies... J.B. is the man, the myth and the legend of Iona Athletics... Thanks J.B. you will never be forgotten... Yeah Man!