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St. Francis graduate pens book about sports and business

April 18, 2019 Tags: Alumni , Athletics , Business and Communications

Class of ’70 alum Thomas Rossetti publishes Thank You, Mr. DeBartolo

Thank You Mr Debartolo book cover(Bonita Springs, Florida) Nearly 50 years after graduating St. Francis in 1970, alumus Thomas Rossetti has published a new book detailing his years working for one of sports’ and business’ most enigmatic personalities, Edward J. DeBartolo.

The book is titled Thank you, Mr. DeBartolo, and is available exclusively at

Rossetti’s time with the company ran parallel to an ultra-successful period of growth that included Super Bowl championships for the DeBartolo-owned San Francisco 49ers. The book is filled with interesting, sometimes funny stories about a man and company that typically played things close to the vest.

The book, written in a chronological biography format, describes the numerous highs and lows Rossetti experienced over the years as well as his struggle to maintain the balance of ethics, family and business.   

  Read Thank you, Mr. DeBartolo

Life after Saint Francis as shared by Rossetti

Tom and Christine Rossetti

When Tom graduated from St. Francis College in May of 1970, like nearly every other graduate, he faced an uncertain future full of potential and questions. He secured a position with a CPA firm in New York City and planned to marry his college sweetheart, Christine Weber, after her graduation a year later. 

They married in July of 1971 and settled in New Jersey. Christine secured a position teaching in a Catholic School in West New York, NJ. In September 1972, she gave birth to a son, Michael.

That modest beginning gave no hint to what the future would hold. Tom, who graduated with an accounting degree, was doing well at Ernst & Ernst, as Chris settled into her role as a mother, when uncertainty reared up. 

Tom, tutored by SFC Accounting professors Dr. Albert Zanzuccki and Dr. James McConnell, ran up against an ethics dilemma that directly clashed with what he learned at St. Francis, and it cost him his job.

That setback turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to Tom and his family. Within a few years, he was offered a position with a Youngstown, Ohio shopping center developer, which he expected to be a stepping-stone to the next opportunity.

He had no way of knowing that the developer, Edward J. DeBartolo, was poised to expand his business, exploding into professional sports and giving Rossetti the opportunity to be instrumental in that growth. 

That expansion included him acquiring the San Francisco Forty Niners of the National Football League, the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League, the Pittsburgh Spirit of the Major Indoor Soccer League, the Pittsburgh Maulers of the ill-fated United States Football League, Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena, numerous horse racing tracks and an unsuccessful attempt at acquiring baseball’s Chicago White Sox.

Now, more than 40 years later, Rossetti has penned his memoirs of the sixteen years he spent working for the DeBartolo family, a tenure that included numerous promotions and public recognition, including a term on the St. Francis College Board of Trustees in the late 1980’s. 

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