Dave DiDonato wraps up final season in HOF coaching career

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Dave “Dino” DiDonato

Conotton Valley pays tribute to baseball coach

Dave DiDonato or “Dino” as he is known throughout the baseball community, has decided to call it a career. 

The Conotton Valley board of education accepted the resignation of the longtime high school baseball coach during the May 19 meeting.  When he resigned as the school’s athletic director in October, Dino announced his return to the dugout for one final season. That season ended in mid-May when the Rockets lost in the opening round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional tournament. 

He served as Conotton Valley athletic director for four years. 

Dino has had a hall of fame career. He is a member of  the Ohio High School Baseball Coach’s Hall of Fame and has been around the Tuscarawas county area for his entire life, serving the Indian Valley, Dover, Tuscarawas Central Catholic and Conotton Valley communities. 

 “I have thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated my association with the Rockets student-athletes these past five years. It has been a real privilege,” DiDonato said.

 “Coach DiDonato has had a long and distinguished career, and we are certainly proud and grateful for all that he has accomplished at Conotton Valley. As a school community we wish him all the best in his retirement,” said Conotton Valley Superintendent John Zucal.

“I am proud to have worked with Mr. D for the past several years here at Conotton Valley and am sad to see him go. Mr. D has laid a foundation here at CV that should help to ensure success to whoever is our next baseball coach,” said Jonathon Stuck, who is replacing DiDonato as athletic director.

 “Dave has been a huge part of our school and sports programs the last several years and we will miss him. We wish him the best,” said High School Principal Danielle Caldwell.

Stuck was awarded an administrative contract to serve as the district’s technology integration specialist and athletics director during the May 19 school board meeting. Stuck has been serving as the interim athletic director since the beginning of the current school year. 

 “It’s a great time to be a Rocket. Education-based athletics is a chance for us to provide an environment where student-athletes can reach their full potential through competition, character development, community service, and teamwork,” Zucal commented.

Stuck came to Conotton in 2016 as the band director and was tasked with rebuilding Conotton’s defunct band program. He has been working in the technology department for the past several years and is excited about the district’s growth. 

 “Together we will teach our student athletes the value of dedication, determination, discipline, teamwork, and being good sports in victory and defeat. We will foster an environment in which effort, growth, and improvement are valued, and individuals can continue to develop the necessary skills for their future. With all the new facilities and growing sports programs, we have started doing some fantastic things. I hope to work together with our coaches to keep moving forward,” Stuck told board members  

Stuck’s contract runs from Aug. 1, through July 31, 2025, at the annual salary of $87,615. 

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