Recent PSFCA Hall of Fame Inductee Robert Barbieri passed away
Written by: Billy Splain on August 23, 2021. Photo courtest Steve Bennett/The Citizens' Voice
Recent PSFCA Hall of Fame inductee and former Pittston head caoch Robert Barbieri passed away on Sunday. We here at the Big 33 and PSFCA would like to offer our condolences to the family, friends and Pittston football family.
Robert Barbieri is a graduate of Old Forge High School (1957) and George Washington University (1962). After his playing career at GW, Robert returned to his alma mater to begin his coaching career under his mentor legendary coach Elio Ghigiarelli for the 1962 and 1963 seasons. Robert was then names to his first head coaching position in 1964 at Pittston High School. After two seasons at Pittston High, Robert was named the Head Coach of the newly formed Pittston Area High School following the merger of Northeast High School and Pittston High School. In his very first game as Head Coach at Pittston Area, Robert faced perennial power Old Forge and his former coach and mentor Elio Ghigiarelli. Barbieri led the Patriots to a 20-14 victory to establish Pittston Area as a program on the rise.
During his twenty-four year coaching career, (1964-1988) Barbieri recorded a record of 150-100-4. His teams won five Wyoming Valley Conference A Division titles and one Eastern Conference Co-Championship. He was named coach of the year twice (1974 and 1981). He was a two-time head coach of the UNICO all-star game (1970 and 1988) and coached in the Big 33 game (1981). His 1967 team went undefeated through the regular season before tying Shikellamy 0-0 in the Eastern Conference Championship game. Throughout his career, Barbieri coached multiple Scholarship athletes who went on to have successful college careers. Most notable is high school All American tailback Jimmy Cefalo, who went on to star at Penn State and played for the Miami Dolphins.
In 2014 the Pittston Area School District honored Barbieri by naming the field house at Charley Trippi Stadium the Robert “Bob” Barbieri Field House. In 2019, Barbieri was inducted into the Luzerne County Hall of Fame. After retiring from teaching and coaching at Pittston Area in 1988, Barbieri joined the coaching staff of Wilkes University as an offensive line coach. Robert and his wife, the late Henrietta Barbieri have two children, Maria Barbieri Jarrell and Nicholas Barbieri, and four grandchildren, Mia Barbieri, Nicholas Barbieri, Robert Barbieri, and Ellie Jarrell.