ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – A beloved coach, mentor and friend in the Twin Tiers has died.

Legendary football coach, Mike D’Aloisio, died Sunday afternoon at age 71 after a brief illness. Elmira Notre Dame’s Facebook page officially shared the news earlier today. Best known as “Coach D,” D’Aloisio is the all-time wins leader in Elmira football history with 244.

In 2020, D’Aloisio was diagnosed with ALS, a disease with no known cure which breaks down muscle function in the body. Coach D shared his story of optimism and tenacity to battle the disease head on with 18 Sports later that year.

Mike’s story of heart, will, and determination won the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for the northeastern region and was up for national story of the year contention. It was also nominated for a New York State Emmy Award, the first-ever in WETM history.

D’Aloisio, the head football coach at Elmira Notre Dame since 1981, first started coaching for the Crusaders in the late 1970’s, and then went on to have one of the most iconic careers in local and state history.

D’Aloisio officially retired in 2020. Every game, every practice, D’Aloisio gave us everything he had. Coach D was a special guest speaker at the first-ever Twin Tiers Sports Awards in 2017. Last June, coach received what could be his final public awards at the Twin Tiers Sports Awards with our Lifetime Achievement Award and Inspiration of the Year in 2021.

What mattered most, according to Coach, is the relationships you make, not wins and losses. Countless student-athletes, teams and community members were impacted by his grace and dignity. No relationship was greater to Coach D than his special bond with All-American Joel Stephens.

A local icon in his own right, Stephens starred at Notre Dame in football and earned NYS Player of The Year at running back before playing minor league baseball in the Baltimore Orioles organization. Stephens sadly died from colon cancer in 1998 at just 22.

For years, Coach D’Aloisio would pray daily at the Joel Stephens memorial statue outside of Elmira Notre Dame High School. A gesture that symbolized something far greater than the game. It symbolized honor and love.

In all, D’Aloisio won 12 Section IV football Championships, four regional crowns, and one Intersectional State Title in 1990. Coach’s final title season was with the 8-Man team who won a Section IV Championship in 2018. Off the field, Mike D’Aloisio’s contributions to the Twin Tiers are immeasurable. His legacy will never fade.

18 Sports will celebrate Coach Mike D’Aloisio throughout the week and will provide more details as they became available. Without question, Coach D will be forever loved and missed.