Mr. Grasso was Brooklyn Proud in its finest form.
Mr. Grasso taught me what it took to be a winner and he showed me what it took to embrace defeat. He demonstrated what it was to be a man. A proud man who would embrace his talents and confront his shortcomings. He was stubborn. He was determined. He was harsh at times, but always, always concerned. Mr. Grasso instilled in me the value of respect but also the power to express my unique voice. He showed me how to love life, how to challenge life and ultimately how to live my life.
Robert Novack, Carnarsie High School, Class of 1963
Coach Grasso taught you how to be a man, to stand on your own two feet. He made you work for everything and it not only benefited you on the court but in life. You always had to be on time (consequences), always bring your best effort, wear ties to games, etc.
His basketball IQ was off the charts and he taught you how to truly see the game. He also instilled confidence in you and a never quit attitude. He motivated you and made you want to run through a wall for him. He put you in the position to succeed on and off the court.
I was so blessed to have him in my life through the ups and downs — basketball, life lessons, confidence, love and never ever quitting on an individual. That is exactly how he lived his life.
What would Coach Grasso do?
It’s safe to say that Coach Grasso had more of an effect on moulding me as a man than
anyone else I know.
While my kids made me a father, Coach Grasso taught me how to be a person. To teach. To guide. To instill. To trust. To have faith. To push forward. When you were on the basketball court with Coach Grasso, you were in luck. But Coach Grasso simply used a game he cherished, as a tool to teach you about life. And that was the real blessing..
Dave "Ditto" Tawil, Mike Pollack, Fred Grasso
You know how they say nobody passes out a handbook when you’re born, or get married, or get your first job - that you have to figure it out yourself. Well, Coach Grasso had that handbook, and he shared it with every player that ever wore a jersey with his team’s logo
You know how they say nobody passes out a handbook when you’re born, or get married, or get your first job - that you have to figure it out yourself. Well, Coach Grasso had that handbook, and he shared it with every player that ever wore a jersey with his team’s logo.
But there’s this amazing thing that Grasso imparted in me: it’s never over. Adversity is life, work hard, it’ll be okay. Until that buzzer rings, you work hard, you don’t lallygag, you don’t make excuses, you have your teammates backs, you give 120%, and then - you say you tried your hardest and whatever happens, happens. So, as I look to tomorrow, and I find myself wondering “What do I do,” I know in my heart I can just say, “What would Coach Grasso do”? Then, I’ll have my answer.
Eric Shaw, Jericho High School, Class of 1991
Years back, we’re on a Caribbean island. It was my son, Brett’s bachelor party. There are 20 of his friends, Fred and myself,. We go out to dinner at night. Afterward, we see a bunch of kids playing basketball. Next thing I know, Fred is out there doing a clinic, teaching Caribbean kids how to shoot. It's 11-12 o'clock. We played into the night
Dave "Ditto" Tawil, Captain Lafayette High School, 1960