Cardinal O Hara head football coach Dan Algeo died from complications of a heart attack Thursday morning. He was 49.
Cardinal O Hara head football coach Dan Algeo died from complications of a heart attack Thursday morning. He was 49. (Times file photo)

Danny Algeo, the head football coach at Cardinal O'Hara who was respected by his peers and beloved by hundreds of current and former players, died Thursday morning. He was 49.

Algeo was hospitalized Monday after suffering a heart attack.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved football coach, teacher and friend, Danny Algeo,” said a message posted on the O'Hara website. “Please pray for him, his family, his students and football team during this time.”

The two-time Philadelphia Catholic League championship-winning coach was set to embark on his 11th season coaching the Lions.  Algeo had 15 seasons under his belt as a head coach, with an overall record of 98-69. That included a Catholic League Red Division title in his first year at the Lions' helm in 2004. Algeo's 68 career victories is tied with George Stratts for second all-time in O'Hara history, trailing only Bob Ewing (116).

Algeo was a graduate of Lansdale Catholic and Gwynedd Mercy College. He followed in the footsteps of his father, Jim, who coached 53 seasons at Lansdale Catholic, including 44 as head coach, before retiring in 2011. Dan joined his father's staff in the mid-1980s and worked his way up the ranks. He was in charge of the Roman Catholic (1996-99) and Phoenixville (2000) programs before arriving at O'Hara.


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The official Cardinal O'Hara football Twitter account remembered Algeo for dedicating “his life to faith, family and football... God wrapped his loving arms around Coach Algeo and took him home, surrounded by the love and prayers of his family.”

Algeo was a teacher of personal and business law and sports management at O'Hara.

Paul Strus, O'Hara's long-time special teams coach, knew Algeo better than anyone on his current staff.  Strus was tasked with addressing the team Thursday morning.

“The kids need time. Danny was such a leader up here, such a big influence. He worked them hard, from the final loss last year until today. He had the kids preparing for the season, like always,” Strus said. “The kids spent a lot of time with him and anyone who's ever played with him can say that. There were a lot of tears for him this morning, a lot of prayers for him.”

Strus fondly recalled the message Algeo sent before the Lions went out and captured the Philadelphia Catholic Red Division championship in 2004.

“The last thing he said to his players was, ‘Men, I love you. Make me proud.' Proud can be determined a lot of different ways,” Strus said. “Sure, winning the championship was nice, but proud to him was how they represented themselves on the field. Danny was a hard worker and that's how he coached the kids. It's been that way for 10 years here. Every kid that played for him experienced how deeply religious he was. There was a prayer before and after every practice, and before and after every game. We have a cross up here (at Lions Stadium) partially because of him.”

In 2011, Algeo spoke glowingly about his father and the impact he's had on his career.

“He's meant a ton to me. I coached under him for 13 years,” Algeo said then. “My philosophies are the same as him. Scheme-wise, we do things a little bit different, but philosophy-wise we're very similar because I learned from him. I was blessed because I coached here for a year under George Stratts and I coached a year under (West Chester University head coach) Bill Zwaan in his last year at Widener and under my dad. That's not bad. That's a pretty good threesome to learn under.”

Former players went to Twitter to voice their condolences and remembrances of their coach. Delaware County football coaches, past and present, also showed their respect.

Garnet Valley's Mike Ricci, who is the head of the Delaware County Football Coaches Association, admired Algeo's passion and commitment to coaching high school football and promoting athletes in the area.

“One thing about Dan Algeo is this: He was an ambassador for football and for the kids who played the sport,” Ricci said. “He was involved not only at the level local, but at the district and state level. He was really involved in the East-West game being restarted again. He did a lot to promote coaches in the area and to promote kids in the area.

“Dan was a tireless worker and there's no doubt that he loved the kids that he coached and he did anything he could to help those kids. 

“It wasn't just his kids,” Ricci added. “Dan would always go out of his way, when college recruiters came to O'Hara, to promote other schools' players as well.”

Bonner-Prendergast's Greg “Bubba” Bernhardt was a rival coach of Algeo, but a close friend, which made their relationship unique.

“We lost a good one,” he said.

Bernhardt was an assistant on Algeo's staff from 2004-06.

“He's one of my good buddies, my best friends in the Catholic League,” Bernhardt said. “I started coaching with him in 2004 before I left for Bonner and we remained tight. But outside of football. ... Dan was a great person. 

“Forget about the football part of it, he was just a great guy. It's a real sad deal. He's the guy I'd talk to once a week about everything. It's tough. My heart goes out to his family and his daughter and all the kids he's coached. It's going to be tough to fill his shoes.”

Bernhardt was thankful to have the opportunity to coach with Algeo in the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association East-West All-Star Game in May. In his final game as a head coach, Algeo guided the East to a 35-25 victory.

“It was nice to be on the same sideline with him again,” Bernhardt said.

Algeo sent countless players to Division I and II programs. 

Three of his recent pupils, Anthony Walters (Delaware), Corey Brown (Ohio State) and Tom Savage (Pittsburgh), will be in NFL training camps later this summer.

Funeral services are scheduled for July 8-9 at St. Stanislaus Church in Lansdale. Visitation hours will be held at the church Tuesday evening, July 8, from 6-9 p.m., and Wednesday morning from 9-11. A funeral mass will immediately follow visitation Wednesday morning.

Algeo was one of nine children. He is survived by his daughter, Becca.Danny Algeo, the head football coach at Cardinal O'Hara who was respected by his peers and beloved by hundreds of current and former players, died Thursday morning. He was 49.

Algeo was hospitalized Monday after suffering a heart attack.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved football coach, teacher and friend, Danny Algeo,” said a message posted on the O'Hara website. “Please pray for him, his family, his students and football team during this time.”

The two-time Philadelphia Catholic League championship-winning coach was set to embark on his 11th season coaching the Lions.  Algeo had 15 seasons under his belt as a head coach, with an overall record of 98-69. That included a Catholic League Red Division title in his first year at the Lions' helm in 2004. Algeo's 68 career victories is tied with George Stratts for second all-time in O'Hara history, trailing only Bob Ewing (116).

Algeo was a graduate of Lansdale Catholic and Gwynedd Mercy College. He followed in the footsteps of his father, Jim, who coached 53 seasons at Lansdale Catholic, including 44 as head coach, before retiring in 2011. Dan joined his father's staff in the mid-1980s and worked his way up the ranks. He was in charge of the Roman Catholic (1996-99) and Phoenixville (2000) programs before arriving at O'Hara.

The official Cardinal O'Hara football Twitter account remembered Algeo for dedicating “his life to faith, family and football... God wrapped his loving arms around Coach Algeo and took him home, surrounded by the love and prayers of his family.”

Algeo was a teacher of personal and business law and sports management at O'Hara.

Paul Strus, O'Hara's long-time special teams coach, knew Algeo better than anyone on his current staff.  Strus was tasked with addressing the team Thursday morning.

“The kids need time. Danny was such a leader up here, such a big influence. He worked them hard, from the final loss last year until today. He had the kids preparing for the season, like always,” Strus said. “The kids spent a lot of time with him and anyone who's ever played with him can say that. There were a lot of tears for him this morning, a lot of prayers for him.”

Strus fondly recalled the message Algeo sent before the Lions went out and captured the Philadelphia Catholic Red Division championship in 2004.

“The last thing he said to his players was, ‘Men, I love you. Make me proud.' Proud can be determined a lot of different ways,” Strus said. “Sure, winning the championship was nice, but proud to him was how they represented themselves on the field. Danny was a hard worker and that's how he coached the kids. It's been that way for 10 years here. Every kid that played for him experienced how deeply religious he was. There was a prayer before and after every practice, and before and after every game. We have a cross up here (at Lions Stadium) partially because of him.”

In 2011, Algeo spoke glowingly about his father and the impact he's had on his career.

“He's meant a ton to me. I coached under him for 13 years,” Algeo said then. “My philosophies are the same as him. Scheme-wise, we do things a little bit different, but philosophy-wise we're very similar because I learned from him. I was blessed because I coached here for a year under George Stratts and I coached a year under (West Chester University head coach) Bill Zwaan in his last year at Widener and under my dad. That's not bad. That's a pretty good threesome to learn under.”

Former players went to Twitter to voice their condolences and remembrances of their coach. Delaware County football coaches, past and present, also showed their respect.

Garnet Valley's Mike Ricci, who is the head of the Delaware County Football Coaches Association, admired Algeo's passion and commitment to coaching high school football and promoting athletes in the area.

“One thing about Dan Algeo is this: He was an ambassador for football and for the kids who played the sport,” Ricci said. “He was involved not only at the level local, but at the district and state level. He was really involved in the East-West game being restarted again. He did a lot to promote coaches in the area and to promote kids in the area.

“Dan was a tireless worker and there's no doubt that he loved the kids that he coached and he did anything he could to help those kids. 

“It wasn't just his kids,” Ricci added. “Dan would always go out of his way, when college recruiters came to O'Hara, to promote other schools' players as well.”

Bonner-Prendergast's Greg “Bubba” Bernhardt was a rival coach of Algeo, but a close friend, which made their relationship unique.

“We lost a good one,” he said.

Bernhardt was an assistant on Algeo's staff from 2004-06.

“He's one of my good buddies, my best friends in the Catholic League,” Bernhardt said. “I started coaching with him in 2004 before I left for Bonner and we remained tight. But outside of football. ... Dan was a great person. 

“Forget about the football part of it, he was just a great guy. It's a real sad deal. He's the guy I'd talk to once a week about everything. It's tough. My heart goes out to his family and his daughter and all the kids he's coached. It's going to be tough to fill his shoes.”

Bernhardt was thankful to have the opportunity to coach with Algeo in the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association East-West All-Star Game in May. In his final game as a head coach, Algeo guided the East to a 35-25 victory.

“It was nice to be on the same sideline with him again,” Bernhardt said.

Algeo sent countless players to Division I and II programs. 

Three of his recent pupils, Anthony Walters (Delaware), Corey Brown (Ohio State) and Tom Savage (Pittsburgh), will be in NFL training camps later this summer.

Funeral services are scheduled for July 8-9 at St. Stanislaus Church in Lansdale. Visitation hours will be held at the church Tuesday evening, July 8, from 6-9 p.m., and Wednesday morning from 9-11. A funeral mass will immediately follow visitation Wednesday morning.

Algeo was one of nine children. He is survived by his daughter, Becca.