The Inside Scoop

They Don’t Make Them Like Ralph Catuogno Anymore

By John J. Tassoni, Jr.

For more than 60 years, the name Ralph Catuogno has been synonymous with local high school and college basketball. He strongly believed that young people could improve their lives through sports and was always right there to help student-athletes have an opportunity to do so.

Ralph was a chemist by trade but helping young people excel at sports was his passion, and he devoted countless hours and enormous energy to developing programs for student-athletes. There are also numerous scholarships in his name that have benefited young scholar-athletes throughout Rhode Island.

Just like the old E.F Hutton television commercials, when Ralph called, you listened. If he asked for a favor, you could never refuse because it was obvious where his heart was.

In his hometown of Smithfield, he volunteered as a director for the boys’ and girls’ basketball leagues, and was one of the founders of the summer basketball program. The courts at the Anna M. McCabe School were dedicated to him.

Ralph Catuogno died peacefully Feb. 4. He was 86. Usually, when we hear of someone’s passing, we say that Heaven just got another angel. In Ralph’s case, Heaven just got a great basketball coach, who is probably lining up the angels for practice on the court right now.