Former UConn Golf Coach Passes Away
Gianelli served as Huskies coach for 20 years.
Dec. 10, 2002
STORRS, Conn. - Joseph M. Giannelli, 76, a member of the University of Connecticut Division of Athletics staff since 1966 and head coach of golf for 20 years, died on Monday (Dec. 9) after a courageous three-year battle with plasma cell leukemia, a rare form of multiple myeloma.
During his 37-year tenure as a member of the UConn athletics staff, Giannelli coached three different sports - football, golf, lacrosse - and he also served within the department as game operations administrator.
A 15-year member of the Connecticut football coaching staff, Giannelli was named assistant football coach at UConn on March 30, 1966, and remained on the football staff through 1980. Giannelli helped lead UConn to Yankee Conference championships in 1970 and 1973 and a share of the crown in 1968 and 1971.
Giannelli became head golf coach at Connecticut in the fall of 1981 and held that position for 20 years until the summer of 2000. He continued to serve as coach emeritus for the UConn golf team until his death.
He led UConn to the BIG EAST Championship in 1994 and the ECAC Championship in the fall of 1993. Giannelli guided UConn to top 10 finishes in 97 of the 124 tournaments he coached the Huskies. UConn won four New England Championships in the fall of 1982, spring of 1993, fall of 1994 and spring of 1997 under Giannelli.
Giannelli was honored as the BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year in 1994-1995 and was named the New England Coach of the Year in both 1992 and 1994. He was named the 1992-1993 District I Coach of the Year by the Golf Coaches Association of America, and in 1993-1994 won both ECAC Coach of the Year and NCAA District I Coach of the Year honors.
Coach Giannelli served as President of the New England Intercollegiate Golf Association in 1988 and in 1992 was presented the Gordon McCullough Award by the NEIGA for contributions to the game.
In addition to his football and golf coaching duties at UConn, Giannelli was also assistant coach of men's lacrosse during the 1967 season and head coach of lacrosse in 1981. A tenured assistant professor of physical education, Giannelli served within the Division of Athletics as game operations administrator from 1980-88.
Prior to joining the Connecticut staff, Giannelli was the head football coach at his scholastic alma mater, Medford (Mass.) High School from 1962-65. Giannelli coached freshman football at Boston University from 1959-61 and was assistant football coach and the freshman lacrosse and wrestling coach at Hofstra from 1951-58.
Giannelli graduated from Western Maryland College in 1950 and coached football and wrestling at Western Maryland for two years while taking graduate classes.
Born July 18, 1926, Giannelli is survived by his wife of 41 years, Joan, their four children, Michelle, Elisa, Michael and Karla and 10 grandchildren.