Blugold Hall of Fame
Like Kelner, Balistrieri was a football-track standout but unlike Kelner, Balistrieri spent his entire four-year career at UW-Eau Claire.
He was a four-year starter in football but missed four games his senior season due to injury. In 36 games, he caught 100 passes for 2,178 yards and 18 touchdowns. His best season came as a junior when he caught 35 passes for 884 yards and 11 TDs. He was on the receiving end of a 99-yard collaboration from John Clark which represents the longest TD pass reception in school and conference history. That same season, he also averaged 23.9 yards for 23 kickoff returns. For his career, he returned 68 kickoffs an average of 21.1 yards per return.
Balistrieri still ranks third in single season receiving and second in single season TDs with his brilliant 1989 campaign that earned him All-Conference recognition as both a wide receiver and return specialist. He also is fourth in career receiving yards and tied for third in career TD receptions.
After his senior season, he played in the All-American Classic College All-Star game in Tampa, Florida.
In track, Balistrieri was a member of the Blugolds' national championship 400-meter relay team in 1990, helping the team to a fourth-place finish. He qualified individually for the NCAA indoor nationals that year in the 55-meter dash. He won conference gold medals as a member of the Blugold indoor 4x200 relay in both 1989 and 1990 and as a member of the Blugold outdoor 4x100 relay in 1988. His name is still in the Blugold outdoor record books as a member of the 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams.
A Milwaukee native, Balistrieri received his degree in organizational communication in 1991. He was signed by the New York Jets as a free agent in 1991 and by the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League in 1992. He had a chance to play with the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League in 1993 but declined the offer. He did spend a few seasons coaching at Carthage College and Brown Deer High School before getting out of football entirely.
Balistrieri has been an actor in several national commercials and independent films including "Not on My Watch Hollywood," which he wrote. Since 2000, he has been the owner of Balloon Entertainment LLC where he writes film scripts and develops independent films. Since 2004, he has been the producer/creative director for USAV Group which produces videos and events for corporate customers across the Midwest.
He and his wife Kristin, a retail manager, have one son Salvatore, age 2.