Ricky Lannetti Tribute Page
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    Ricky Lannetti, a star football player at Father Judge (class of 2000) and a record-setter at Division III Lycoming, in Williamsport, Pa., passed away on Dec. 6, 2003.
    We welcome comments about Ricky as a player and person.
    Please send to silaryt@phillynews.com. Thank you.

    (At the bottom is a story written about Ricky during his Judge days.)    

I knew ricky since he was in the first grade. my younger brother keith grew up and played ball with ricky at father judge. ricky was keith's best friend and it is tough on all those guys not just keith. ricky was always over my parents house on cottman ave or downashore with us. he was a great kid. no he was a great man! i know the days will go on and the memories will out shine everything, but thank you.
Shawn Coombs

I met Ricky when I was a Soph at Judge. Even when I wouldn't see him at
Judge, I would always see him because we worked together at Gearos.
Everyday after school my Jr year and his Sr. we would play one on one
for about two hours in the gym. Mr. Koch would have the gym reserved
for me and Ricky and he would just sit on the sidelines and just enjoy
the classic battles that me and Ricky had. They would always be close
games because Ricky would not want to lose, and neither would I.
Sometimes after we would be finished playing Ricky would storm out of
the gym and into his car and just leave me at the gym, because I won on
that particular day. But the funny thing is that he would just get into
his car and cirle the block a couple of times, and then he would always
pick me up. Thats the kind of person Ricky was, he would always play
his hardest but in the end would always be there to to pick his buddy
up. During my Jr season, Ricky would come to my Basketball games and
coach me from the sidelines. All during the week leading up to the
games, he would always give me advice and let me know what I need to
work on. He gave me so much confidence in myself as a person and a
player. It just doesnt seem fair to have him gone right now, it just
wasnt his time, but I know he will always be watching down on me.
Class of 2001 #3


Ricky Lannetti meant a lot of things to a lot of people. He was a
teammate, classmate and most importantly a friend. It is going to be
hard to move forward through this tragic loss. I start to think about
him and begin to cry. After a short time I'm laughing at the memories
I have. That's the kind of guy he was, the type to always keep you on
your toes and lighten the atmosphere in a serious situation. He was a
guy you could always count on in the clutch whether it was scoring a
much needed touchdown or helping you you deal with the loss of a
brother. Ricky will be sorely missed by many, I pray for his parents
and family to give them strength. I'll miss you chip.
-- Henny


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here's another picture of Ricky

As both a teacher at Father Judge and a
graduate of Lycoming College, this loss
is just unbelievable.  I was with my friends
from Lycoming this past Saturday and I
was telling them about a Judge grad who
is up at Lyco and breaking all sorts of records
as a wide reciever.  To hear that news
on Sunday was a shock.  My heart goes out
to Ricky's family and his football family at Lyco.
Please keep Ricky and his family in your prayers.
Dan Greenberg
Lyco '92

To everyone that knew Ricky, only YOU know who he was. If you knew him,
you knew what he was about, it doesn't have to be said. He was a great
guy to be around, he always found the best in every situation. He had
the thing about him that when it was time to get serious, he would have
a one-liner that just stuck in your head and made you laugh everytime
you said it to yourself. Crying over him has become routine in the past
few days but now after the tears comes laughter because I think to
myself Ricky is making fun of me for crying over him now. For four
years he kept me laughing. I will never lose those memories of him
because there are so many. He was my teammate for for years and the
only game we didn't play together in was on Sunday but he was there I
could feel him. His presence will not leave us. Ricky left us with a
smile on his face, I will always remember that. My thoughts and prayers
go to his family and without a doubt I will be there for you always.
Ricky will be sorely missed. I'll miss you brother.


Thanks for remembering Ricky Lannetti.  I didn't know Ricky but I can relate to the whole scene.  After McDevitt I played at Lycoming for a year before transferring into the newly resurrected Villanova program.  The whole Lyco scene was/is like PCL University.  There were 5 other McDevitt players that played at Lyco my first year(1985 - Hirsch, Zataveski, Montague, Gibbons and Wixted).  Not to mention the other 25 PCL players on the team at the time.
Nothing tragic ever came of that year(thank God) but only great memories.  Lyco is a real positive place for the philly players. Thanks again for remembering and my prayers go to the Lannettis as well.

   Ricky Lannetti was one of those guys who as a sophmore I definately looked up to.  He was always giving 100% and always was willing to play where ever the team needed him.  I think his senior year he scored a touchdown just about every way possibile.  Off the field he was just as good a person.  The coaches even after Ricky was gone would always talk about him.  I got to know Ricky best after I stayed with him on my visit at Lycoming, you could see how the guys up there were truly a tight family and it reminded me of my group at Judge.   My condolences go out to Ricky's family and all of the older Judge and Lycoming guys losing a great kid at his age is never right.  And to Ricky always know you gave a new meaning to the song Man in the Mirror.


To Rick and Family,
   So sorry to hear about the death of your son, Rick.
   Please accept our deepest sympathy.
   Our prayers are with you in this dark moment.
    Toni D.  & family

   Any time I hear the name Ricky Lannetti I immediately think about watching a kid who looked to be the smallest on the field but at the same time the most impossible to catch or tackle. Ricky wasn't a big guy but when he played football he was. When I was a junior, Ricky was a senior. I played D-Back at Judge and had the privilege of playing football with Ricky. I could never understand how a guy his size could hit so damn hard. I had a few inches on Lannetti and maybe a few pounds at the time. But I remember always trying NOT to be put up against him because every time I did I got my bell rung! Ricky was the first kid my age that I looked up to. He had enough heart for the entire Judge Football team and it showed every game. I was truly saddened to hear about Ricky's passing. My condolences go out to his entire family and all of his friends including his girlfriend and coach Koch. He will be missed but never forgotten… P.S. you and Greg take care of each other up there and keep looking down on all of us. We miss you both.

   We have watched Ricky grow from Little Guys football at Mayfair A.C. to high school football at Father Judge up to college football at Lycoming College. We thought at Mayfair AC he was something special, we knew at Judge he was extra special. He was just so exciting to watch run down that field. It was just as exciting to watch his dad watch him run down that field. We had alot of fun going to the games together. I know that the tragedies of the last 7 months have been so hard to cope with. I hope that the Judge football players now and in the future will always know the stories of Ricky and Greg. There are alot of lessons to be learned from them both. They were both great kids and friends to both of my sons. We miss them very much.
-- Joe and Debbie Murray

   This next note is from Ricky's father, Richard . . .

   I just got back from the cemetery to congratulate my son, Ricky, on
making the D3football All-America team. The kid still does things to
amaze me.

   It was really weird. Ricky and Greg Hennigar were throwing a softball
around. I said, “Rick, what are you doing?”. He said, “hey dad, you
know how you always wanted me to play baseball? Well, I joined a beer
league softball team up here. Take it or leave it.”

  It was my first visit since the burial and it was very very difficult
seeing Richard D. Lannetti’s name there. I’m having a really tough time
believing Ricky is gone but I am getting lots of support from family and

   If you were to ask me, I would say my son was a very boring person.
Whenever I’d call him I’d get one-word answers. He’d say ‘yup’ and
‘nope’ and that’s about it. Nothing was ever going on. Since he’s
passed away, I have been hearing story after story after story about
this alternate personality where he was a complete knucklehead. I’m so
glad. I love the stories.

   Ricky, even if you never picked up a ball or a stick or a glove, I could
not have loved you any more. You’ve made so many impressions on so many
people. You can’t know how proud I am of you. I will fill you in when I
see you again.

   Also, you know how I liked to email you pictures with peoples heads
switched and stuff like that? Your friends say you forwarded everything
to them within minutes. You did appreciate me didn’t you? I’m trying to
keep an eye on your friends but, once again, I’m not 21 anymore.
Remember your last birthday?

   I will take good care of your 2 beautiful sisters and we’ll look out for
your mom and Carolyn. I miss you very much Ricky boy and I can’t wait
to see you again. In the meantime I probably have 100 home videos of
you that will keep me busy.

   Finally, if you get a free minute up there, send me a sign that you’re
ok. OK?

   You and Greg stay outta trouble.
   Love you Ricky, my little guy, my man, my hero,
   I’ll always be with you,

   P.S. To all who have written, sent fruit baskets or food, or in any way
sent thoughts and condolences, thank you so very much. I will try to
respond to each and every one of you personally. I still haven’t read
all the cards.

   Ricky was someone that I considered to be like a big brother to me. Him and my actual brother met playing the All-Star Football game their senior year of highschool and became roommates at Lycoming. It's all of the little things that he would do that I'm going to miss the most but always hold close to my heart. Whether it be messing around with me on the computer letting me think he's Tim after a 20 minute conversation, going out of his way to say hello to me on the sidelines at the Lycoming football games when I would take pictures, buying me a beer at Fridays, or telling me that I was right after me and my brother got into an arguement. He was a great person all around who always knew the right thing to say to get a smile out of you.
My prayers are with him and his family and friends.
Bike Race isn't going to be the same without you Rick.
Love Always..
Alison Schmidt


This is another tribute from Ricky's father . . .

My Ricky, My Hero                         January 16, 2004
16, 2004

Ricky Lannetti, my son, was a very boring person. Whenever I’d call him
at school there was never anything going on. I’d get the ‘nope’, ‘yep’,
and an occasional ‘I have no idea’. That’s fine with me. Boring is
good. No problems. Until one day not too long ago I called him and
there was a girl screaming at the top of her lungs in the background. I
said, “Rick, who’s that girl screaming back there”? He said, “Oh,
that’s just Connors”. I said, “What are they doing to Brian Connors”?
He said, “Nothing, just messing around”.
Since Ricky has passed away I’ve heard so many unbelievable and funny
stories told or emailed to me that I just have to believe there was an
‘Evil Ricky’ that I just never knew.
So, since hearing the stories, I figure one of the following caused the
Screaming Connors:
A. He woke up with his head or eyebrows shaved.
B.    Someone stole his blanket.
C.    He was the victim of an upper deck.
These were all harmless things. Nobody got hurt. If these were the
kinds of pranks that my son called fun, then that’s OK Ricky. You go
ahead and have fun.
In an emotion-filled letter from one of his best friends back home,
quote “I felt invincible when we walked around like nothing can touch
us. He was also great at motivating and encouraging people whether it
was football or beerpong. He would say concentrate, you can do it!! I
never wanted to win so much except for when I was on his team, and it
was a great feeling if you did good.”
This is just once example of many many letters, cards, and emails that I
have been receiving. It’s hard for me to read most of them through
teary eyes. I can’t get enough of them though.

Now for my 2 favorite stories about Ricky at his happiest:
Years ago I took Ricky to a McDonald’s playland. He loved to climb.
Actually he was walking at 7 months. We have pictures. Anyway, I’m
sitting down having my coffee and I start hearing the kids happily
screaming as they ran under the platform. I look up and Ricky is on top
looking down. He has the most angelic smile on his face as he empties
his bladder on the other kids who thought it was some type of sprinkler.
He was just so happy making the other kids laugh and run. We had to get
out of there fast.

Story number 2 would have to be his 21st birthday that I had at my house
this past June. I assured my wife that I watched most of Ricky’s
friends as they grew up and that they were very respectful. She would
like them.
I hired a limo bus for 8 PM that was going to take them to their local
watering holes. I figured I’d be tired of them by then anyway and glad
to get rid of them. To make a long story short, about 15 of them
arrived around 4 PM. We had food enough to feed an army. I set up a
dartboard in the garage and a horseshoe pit out back. I was ready. To my
wife’s horror, I think I was also the first one on the bus when it
arrived at 8.
I was also there when the limo driver kicked us ‘respectful ones’ off
the bus hour later.
What I just recently learned is that Ricky told his friends to get me on
the bus and quote “Don’t take no for an answer”. This just made me so
happy that that the X-Rays, MRI’s, CT scans, medications, near divorce,
physical therapy, and near banishment from the neighborhood from trying
to be 21 again were worth it and I would do it again.

I used to email Ricky jokes and goofy pictures like my head on his
football body. He never replied to most of them. I figured he was
embarrassed but I didn’t care. I thought they were pretty funny and dull
boring Ricky better get a sense of humor. Little did I know, he
forwarded everything I sent him to his friends within minutes. Toward
the end he was actually asking me for more.

I talked to Ricky yesterday. He wanted me to remind Tim Schmidt that he
is still ugly. Also, to tell Sean that him and Greg Hennigar are on the
All-Heaven team. Greg still throws an awesome pass. And Brian Connors,
please stop screaming like a woman and you can have his blanket. As a
matter of fact, he wants everyone to stop mourning him and that he is
flying around with that smirk that some of us saw on him in the
hospital. Ricky says he misses his parents and his sisters Katie and
Lisa but that he’s fine and he’ll see us all soon enough.

I used to tell Ricky, “Do whatever you want in life, just don’t hurt
anyone”. He lived that way. Why, then, was such a thing done to my
little boy, my only son, my friend, and my hero?
I want him to know now that even if he never picked up a ball or a bat
or a stick or a club that he would still be my little boy, my son, my
best friend, and MY HERO!!!

Thank you so much to all Ricky’s friends, teammates, coaches,and parents
of players who supported us at the hospital. Special thanks to coach
Bill Koch from Father Judge High School who was like a 2nd father to
Ricky, and thanks to all the d-backs and linebackers Ricky has burned in
his career at Lycoming and Father Judge. Additional thank you to
Ricky’s senior teammates for the beautiful charcoal portrait presented
to us at the football banquet. Also, a special thanks to the coaching
staff in their effort to present duplicate plaques to myself and Ricky’s

What’s that Rick? He’s talking to me again…
Ok, the Bridgewater game would have been 19-13 Lyco if he had played.
Also, in the Stagg Bowl, Blake Elliott of St. John’s had 6 receptions
for 60 yards and Ricky had 9 for 191. He didn’t tell me about Mount
Union or the final score in the championship game but that’s just like
him, the “Evil Ricky”. He loved to tease.

Finally, I love you Ricky Boy. You brought great excitement to my life
and I miss you like no words can describe. I scream out loud when nobody
is around and I scream inside all the time. I howl like a wounded
animal at the cemetery. But I’ll be seeing you soon enough OK? You can
show me around this time.

God Bless You, Ricky. You were not boring or dull. You touched a lot
of lives and made them better and you will never be forgotten.

Love always to the best son a father could have,

Hey whats up dude.I was up philly last weekend and saw boyce rob
and maurry and coombs.It is different i guess everyone is still sad me
im still shocked.So how are things up there,I bet your havin fun.But the
real reason im writing to you is to kinda just take everything in i am
starting to realize it happend but i am not gonna dwell cause i know you
wouldnt.I wanted to say a few things of the kinda person you are and
thank you for it,Cause honestly rick all are friends that turn out well
in life have to give you thanks, we grew up around all of us alot all of
our friends where all around each other all the time and we rubbed off
on each other but because of you none of us turned out majorly horrible
cause you set that bar when we where growing up that we can do more and
better we watched you sculpt yourself into the man that you became and
the adversity that you broke being to small instead of leting it get to
you you worked hareder and did better and that made all of us set our
own bars higher even though it was never spoken words it was always
known that we all looked up to you and admired you to the fullest and im
gonna miss that but thanks for your friendship your toughness and for
always being you dude.And i heard they were pointing out how i spelled
angel my bad i write to fast and dont pay attention.but rick i love ya
and i will talk to you later,and thanks for those talks we have they set
my mind right.
Fat Bill


By Ted Silary

There's a lesson for little guys in the Ricky Lannetti Story.

Get a pen and paper . . .

Make someone else squash your dreams. Don't do it yourself.

As a pound-team football player with organizations in Mayfair, Holmesburg and Rhawnhurst, Lannetti was a productive running back. But when he entered Father Judge High in the fall of 1996 and reported for freshman team tryouts, his position became defensive back.

``No one made me do it. I did it on my own. I just went with the d-backs,'' Lannetti said. ``I told myself, `Ah, in high school ball, I'll be too small to play offense.' ''

Wrong. Eventually.

Lannetti, a 5-10, 165-pound senior, has evolved into something of a magic man on defense and offense (special teams included) for coach John ``Whitey'' Sullivan's Crusaders.

In Game No. 1, a 34-25 win over Archbishop Wood, Lannetti made three interceptions and turned one of his three carries into an 85-yard touchdown.

In No. 2, a 34-19 victory over Cardinal Dougherty, he rang up 213 yards on seven returns while scoring once apiece with a punt and an interception.

In No. 3, yesterday's 33-0 dismantling of host St. John Neumann, Lannetti touched the ball five times. The yield was 160 yards. He posted 91 yards and two TDs on counters from his slotback position, 30 on a reception and 39 on a kickoff return.

Oh, Lannetti actually touched the ball six times. While playing safety, he received credit for a fumble recovery when he stole the ball from an unsuspecting Neumann  rusher.

``The coaches always say I'm out there to make big plays, and I'm making them,'' Lannetti said. ``I'm surprised with how it's going. It's unbelievable, really.''

Lannetti was a star d-back on Judge's junior varsity in the 1998 season and saw only occasional varsity action on special teams. But as the Crusaders prepared for their Thanksgiving battle with Abraham Lincoln, Sullivan decided to install the wishbone offense and assistant Bill Koch suggested that Lannetti deserved a chance.

He responded with 10 rushes for 106 yards and two TDs.

``I kind of knew I'd be a starting d-back this year because all our d-backs last year were seniors,'' he said. ``But that Lincoln game was my chance to show things on offense.''

Said a smiling Sullivan: ``We can't coach, but we can recognize talent. He does some nice things with the ball, doesn't he?''

Almost all through training camp this summer, Sullivan stayed with the wishbone and Lannetti was a halfback.

``But,'' Sullivan said, ``we weren't doing as well with it as we wanted, so we went back to what we do best and coach best [I formation]. That meant putting Dan Casey, who was going to be our wishbone QB, at tailback, and putting Ricky at slotback.''

The current QB is junior Dave Kuptsow, who yesterday passed 5-for-8 for 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Rob Citrino (three catches, 102 yards). Casey, meanwhile, notched 90 yards and a score on 16 carries.

Judge's '98 roster listed Lannetti at 5-8, 148 pounds.

``After we didn't make the playoffs last year, the coaches made the weight room a lot more mandatory,'' Ricky said. ``Mr. [Jim] Kauterman supervises things. He made sure we were in there three times a week. He'd say, `If you don't get in there, you won't get pads next year!' He'd also make it known that one extra day would be nice. So, I was in there four times a week.

``That was a big commitment. The hard work is paying off.''

Lannetti, who lives near Frankford and Cottage, in Mayfair, is eyeing a career in business or computers and he's hoping to stir interest from Lycoming, which has been so good through the years to so many Catholic League products.

Though Sullivan believes Lannetti is quiet - ``He's the kind of guy you meet in gas stations in Vermont; everything's `yup' and `nope' '' - he did just fine in an interview.

``I like having a big role on special teams,'' he said. ``But it's kind of scary being back there by yourself with 11 guys running at you. Overall, I like running back the best.''

The fact that he has generated big numbers against members of the CL's Blue Division (small schools) has not been lost on Lannetti.

``Now,'' he said, ``we start with the bigger schools. I'm anxious to see what's going to happen.''