St. Xavier Family Loses Coaching Legend Ballaban


Posted on 12/27/2014 at 10:53am

It’s been an extremely difficult holiday season for the St. Xavier High School community, as less than 10 days after former St. Xavier football coach Steve Rasso passed away on December 16, the Bombers lost another teaching and coaching legend in Tom Ballaban, who died Christmas morning, the school announced Thursday.

Ballaban and Rasso were the head football coaches at St. Xavier for a combined 50 years. Ballaban, a history teacher who also coached basketball at St. Xavier, was the leader of the football program from 1953 to 1977.  Rasso took over the varsity program and coached from 1978 until he retired in 2003.  Current Bombers coach Steve Specht has been the coach at St. Xavier ever since Rasso retired.

At St. Xavier, Ballaban led the Bombers to a 142-91-8 overall record while winning Greater Catholic League championships three times (1957, 1968 and 1970).  Ballaban teams also finished second three times, in 1971, 1972 and 1976.  St. Xavier named its football field, Ballaban Field, in his honor at St. Xavier Stadium.  The Bombers’ locker room, named the Steve Rasso Team Center, pays tribute to Rasso.

Ballaban, who was a starting offensive lineman at Xavier University from 1948 to 1950 and was later inducted into the XU Hall of Fame, also served as the Bombers’ varsity basketball coach from 1951 to 1954 – posting a 59-25 record in those three seasons.   His teams never finished worse than second in the GCL (winning a title outright and earning a co-championship) and also won a district title.

Like it did for Rasso, St. Xavier is encouraging former players and students to share their memories and thoughts about Ballaban – who was a history teacher at the school for 45 years – on the school’s website.  Those interested in contributing  can send an email to