The Wolfpacker

January 2022

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 49 of 51

50 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY TIM PEELER N C State football players were once banned from going to Amedeo's Italian Restaurant on Raleigh's West- ern Boulevard. In 1963, not long after the famous Raleigh eatery opened as a modest sandwich shop, Wolfpack head coach Earle Edwards told his players that if they were seen at the restaurant they would lose their scholarship. The ban had nothing to do with Ed- wards' lack of affection for hard-work- ing founder Richard "Dick" DeAnge- lis and his younger brother Lou, both of whom had helped Edwards win Atlantic Coast Conference champion- ships during their Wolfpack football careers. It had everything to do with the fact that, along with the 70-cent hoagies on the restau- rant's menu, six of the shop's initial 12 seats were at a bar in an establishment with a li- quor license, which was counter to Edwards' code of conduct for his players. That ban was certainly loosened through the years, and the iconic Amedeo's restau- rant eventually became the ultimate NC State hangout for coaches, players and fans, as well as a literal shrine to Wolfpack athlet- ics. The tiny restaurant eventually expanded to include a sprawling dining room, pri- vate rooms where coaches like Jim Valvano, Chuck Amato, Kay Yow and Elliott Avent frequently held court and, of course, a fully stocked bar. The brothers also twice oper- ated satellite restaurants in North Raleigh, brought their mother down to make Ra- leigh's best cheesecake and made Amedeo's synonymous with Wolfpack athletics his- tory. Amedeo Richard "Dick" DeAngelis, known to his friends as "Pedio," died Oct. 20 after several years of declining health. He was 85. A native of Reading, Pa., DeAngelis grew up over his parents' deli and Italian grocery store, relics of which are in the restaurant on Western Boulevard. He headed south to Raleigh in 1954 as part of fellow Keystone State native Edwards' first recruiting class. For three years, DeAngelis blocked for run- ning backs Dick Hunter and Dick Christy, and was an integral part of the Wolfpack's first ACC title at the end of their senior sea- son in 1957. All three were chosen to participate in the North South College All-Star Game on Christmas Day of that year, the first Wolf- pack players to ever participate in that con- test. He returned home to Reading after his playing career ended to be an assistant coach for his high school but left when he was not chosen to succeed the departing head coach. He returned to become a volunteer assistant coach for the Wolfpack freshman team and eventually fill a culinary void in the capital city: authentic Italian food, using recipes handed down from his mother and grandmother. Dick and Lou DeAngelis also befriended two other Italian brothers from Pennsylva- nia who played football for the Wolfpack, linebackers Rosario and Charles Amato, who needed a new extended family during their playing careers. Rosie Amato bought the first pizza DeAngelis ever served, and Chuck Amato began a lifelong friendship with DeAngelis that continued until the lat- ter's death. "My family was 500 miles away," Amato said in the aftermath of DeAngelis' passing. "I lived in a room next to his house. He took care of me and my wife when we first got married. He even catered our wedding. "He and his family became my family." For years, Amato spread the fame of the Italian restaurant across the country to fel- low coaches, players and anyone who would listen. He maintained close contact while at Florida State for nearly two decades and decided the day he was hired as head coach at NC State in 2000 that he would host his weekly radio show at his friend's restaurant. And for years, DeAngelis tried to get Amato to pay up for the wedding reception, a friendly family feud that gave them both belly laughs every time the story was told. Even as Amato's dietary restrictions forced him to switch from spicy sau- sage, onion and pepper sandwiches to vegetarian pizza, he was Amedeo's biggest booster. For nearly 60 years, DeAngelis and Amedeo's attracted a parade of Wolfpack coaches, players, administrators and sup- port personnel to interact with the local and distant fans who made the pilgrimage to the restaurant on game days or the weekdays. Needing a dose of Wolfpack tradition, they were surrounded by hundreds of NC State photos, mementos and memorabilia, col- lected and displayed by his daughter Jill and her husband, Dave Parker. "Dick was a great supporter of the pro- gram, and his restaurant was always a friendly place for Wolfpackers to gather," said former Wolfpack Club executive direc- tor Bobby Purcell, who was among a parade of family, friends and former athletes who attended DeAngelis' funeral at Raleigh's Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral. "When I was a coach, we would go there to eat after practice, and Dick was always there to tell us stories from his playing days. "He was such a funny guy and a great storyteller. It was always great to go there and take a break from everything. He made you feel so at home." DeAngelis retired in 2010 and sold con- trolling interest in the restaurant, though some of his family maintain a share of the business and are still involved in its opera- tion. DeAngelis' love of his alma mater and Wolfpack athletics, however, never faded, even if some of the pictures have. It remains the place to go to remember the most famous names in school history. ■ Tim Peeler is a regular contributor to The Wolfpacker and can be reached at PACK PERSPECTIVE Richard DeAngelis Helped Build Amedeo's Into A Raleigh Institution And A Shrine To Wolfpack Athletics DeAngelis came to NC State from his native Pennsylvania to play football. He returned home after his college career ended in 1957, but came back to Raleigh and opened Amedeo's in 1963. PHOTOS COURTESY TIM PEELER

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