Five stars plus!
That’s the rating people who review films would have given Cameron Iasimone’s documentary entitled “Coach Dan – the Legacy of Daniel E. Mazzulla Jr.” – that made its premiere showing Saturday afternoon in Johnston.
In fact, upwards of 300 people and perhaps more viewed the extraordinary film and had nothing less than rave reviews about the film that took Iasimone seven months to produce after he made short trips to various locations and personally interviewed 38 people.
What made the super showing special is two-fold: it came on the exact day that the late Daniel E. Mazzulla Jr. passed away after losing a battle with brain cancer back on April 22, 2022 and that the premiere was held inside the building that is now named in his honor and that he helped build.
The live speaking program was brief and included Iasimone, who issued a warm welcome to the Daniel E. Mazzulla Memorial Indoor Recreation Center, introducing Dan’s son Justin Mazzulla, now an assistant basketball coach at the University of Rhode.
Justin was among those in the documentary and issued a welcome and thank you to everyone that came to the premiere and loved a mighty man who people will tell you is “the best athlete to ever come out of Johnston.”
Likewise, Lois Marandola – Dan’s sister – said: “on behalf of my family I first and foremost would like to thank everyone for attending this heartwarming ceremony honoring my brother.”
“The turnout was absolutely amazing!” Marandola said, her voice cracking with emotions of joy. “Even after three years since Dan passed people still remember him. It shows the respect and love people in Johnston had for Dan. I’ve received countless calls and texts regarding how great the event was.”
Marandola then added: “Dan was a tough but fair person in all aspects of his life. Growing up you could see the love he had for basketball from his days at Johnston Recreation, JHS, Bryant College then playing professionally in Chili. As he grew older and followed in my father’s footsteps (as recreation director) he came to love the children of the town.”
She paused, then added: “But nothing was more important than his children and grandchildren; he followed them to all sporting events no matter where it was. I know he made my mother and father proud of the man he became; we love you Dan!”
Joe Mazzulla, Dan’s son and Boston Celtics head coach, said during film: “His biggest gift and something he really want my family to have the mindset he always peached. The ability to handle adversity, the ability to continue to work when stuff doesn’t go your way and the thing I’m most grateful for that he left my family with his ability to navigate life.”
Said Justin Mazzulla: “When he as sick to see him with brain cancer not being able to move and barley being able to form a sentence and still show up at work and still show up at places you don’t need to be, showed how dedicated and how much of a hard-working person he was. He felt some kind of way when he knew his employees were at work and he wasn’t there with them. Like my brother said: that’s one of the many thinks I’m grateful for.”
To which JSC Executive Director Richard J. DelFino Jr., who played basketball with Mazzulla at age 7 and played when his farther coached us, declared “Danny was the greatest athlete to ever come out of Johnston.”
Thus, he added: “We were great friends through the years. Our families became friends; my son Richard and Joe were friends and classmates and went to school together; my son David had a special bond with Dan my son David through the recreation department.”
Said Town Councilwoman Linda Folcarelli: “I had known Danny since high school. I went to all the basketball games and he was a fantastic player. I am very close friends with his sister Lois; I would not have missed seeing this documentary in honor of Danny. He will always be remembered.”
To which Town Councilwomen Lauren Garzone offered: “Thank you to Cameron Iasimone for this memorial tribute to Dan Mazzulla. Dan had boundless determination, energy and compassion for which we are all grateful for. Dan has left and indelible legacy in the Town of Johnston and State of RI. I would also like say “Thank You” to his family for sharing him with all of us!”
So Cameron Iasimone, who is still receiving rave reviews and made his parents proud, thanked everyone that came to the premiere and offered: “Like coach Dan always told me, it’s not going to be easy, you to keep working.”
And as people predicted, there’s no doubt Cameron Iasimone and will without question do just that on his way to making it professionally in a big way.