He was brought to Akron in 1936 from his native Tiltonville, Ohio by Jimmy Aiken, the new Akron U football coach. He played three years for the Zips, spent a few more years serving in World War II and returned to Akron in 1947 to become an assistant coach to Mike Krino at East High. He succeeded Krino in 1955 and promptly guided the Orientals to the city championship. Before his career ended, Patella's teams added six more championship - 1958, '64, '65, '66, '67 and '75 - and 16 of his squads made the playoffs. Twice, 1958 and 1967, Dom was named Summit County Coach of the Year. The "Dean" of Akron coaches retired after the 1980 season, bringing an end to a 34-year coaching reign and leaving a record of 146-86-17 in 26 years as a head coach.