Taken [in part] from The Youngstown Vindicator, April 8, 2009
ALBERT "BIG AL" CAMPANA
February 25, 1926 - April 7, 2009
Albert "Big Al" Campana was an All-American at Youngstown College before embarking on an NFL career.
Al was born on February 25, 1926 in Hubbard on February 25, 1926, the son of Andy and Angela (Carano) Campana. He married Lucille Sacomani in 1949. He resided on Sexton St. in the city of Struthers.
He served three years in the U.S. Navy during World War II before joining Youngstown College, where he played from 1946-49.
Former Youngstown State athletic director Joe Malmisur, who played football at East High , remembers Al Campana well.
"If Al Campana and Ralph Goldston, who were two of our greatest pro players, had played in today's market they would both be millionaires," he said. "They were that good."
Campana helped the Penguins to a 7-1 record in 1946 and an 8-2 record the following season. He scored 39 career touchdowns at YSU, averaging nearly 6.5 yards per rush. Campana was named to the Little All-America squad three times, twice earning ?rst-team honors. He became a member of the NFL's Chicago Bears in 1950, playing for George "Papa Bear" Halas from 1950-52 before ?nishing his professional career with the Chicago Cardinals in 1953. In 31 professional games as a running back, defensive back and special teams player (he was a kick-returner), he carried the ball 58 times for 146 yards while catching six passes for 61 yards. He scored one touchdown.
"Al was just a tremendous runner with outstanding speed," recalled Malmisur. "He and his brother Tom were two of the fastest athletes I've every seen in their time. As good as he was there probably aren't a dozen people around here know who ever knew how good he was."
After retiring from football, he returned to the area to serve a distinguished role as a teacher, coach and administrator in the Struthers Schools.
Campana was inducted into the YSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Trumbull County hall of fame in 2003.
Albert Campana passed away on April 7, 2009.