Joe Domnanovich was born on March 18, 1919 in South Bend, Indiana and graduated from James Whitcomb Riley High School. After graduation from high school, he went on to play linebacker and center at the University of Alabama from 1938 thru 1942, and was a consensus All-American in 1942 and team captain.

He was drafted in the fourth round by the Brooklyn (football) Dodgers in the 1943 NFL draft. But after graduation from college, instead he served as a physical training instructor and organized sporting events in Europe, during World War II, from 1943 to 1946.

After the war, from 1946 thru 1948, he played center and linebacker for the Boston Yanks, and after the owner folded the franchise and moved with them to New York, he played with them as the New York Bulldogs in 1949 and then the renamed New York Yanks in 1950 and 1951. He made three career interceptions in 67 games, good for 50 yards.

After his retirement he took a job at U.S. Steel in Fairfield, CT, retiring as supervisor of the hot-strip mill in 1981.

He was voted to the All Time 50 year Alabama team in 1943, and inducted into the Alabama Football Hall of Fame in 1984, as well as the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1989.

Joe Domnanovich died at Princeton Baptist Medical Center on January 20, 2009 in Birmingham, AL where he resided for all of his adult life, at age 89.