WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Frank Girardi paced the sidelines at David Person Field as Lycoming College's head football coach for 36 years (1972-07). On Saturday, Oct. 20, his image will become a permanent fixture at the field when a bronze bust of the legendary coach is unveiled during a 12 p.m. ceremony. The event will take place 90 minutes before the Warriors' homecoming showdown with 15th-ranked Widener. The game features the Middle Atlantic Conference's two remaining undefeated teams in league play.
Among those scheduled to speak at the ceremony include Girardi, Lycoming President James E. Douthat and former football player Ray Radomicki '78.
The bust, crafted by Thomas Marsh of Orange, Va., will be 1½ times life-size, stand 27 inches high and weigh approximately 250 pounds. It will sit atop a 4½-foot concrete pedestal that will feature two bronze plaques, one listing major donors who contributed to the $1.1 million fund drive for Field Turf at David Person Field and the other listing Girardi's impressive coaching accomplishments.
Girardi concluded his career at Lycoming as one of the most successful coaches in NCAA history. He compiled an overall record of 257-97-4 (.723), ranking him 15th in all divisions in victories. Girardi is one of only 22 coaches at any college level to win 250 or more games; and he is one of only 29 coaches to record 200 or more victories at one school. He guided the program to two national championship game appearances in 1990 and 1997. He led the Warriors to 13 Middle Atlantic Conference titles, including seven during the 1990s, and 11 NCAA playoff berths. He was named the MAC Coach of the Year on 12 occasions and recorded 29 consecutive winning seasons from 1975-2003.
In 1998, Girardi became the Robert W. Maxwell Football Club's first recipient of the Tri-State Coach of the Year Award. The award is presented to an outstanding college or high school coach from Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware. Girardi has received a lifetime achievement award from the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Football Foundation, the ESPN Williamsport Lifetime Achievement Award, which is now named in his honor, and the first-ever Williamsport Area School District Distinguished Alumni Award. He has been inducted into the Lycoming College Athletics Hall of Fame, Middle Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame, West Branch Valley Hall of Fame, Pennsylvania State Sports Hall of Fame and the West Chester University W. Glenn Killinger Football Hall of Fame.
A star running back at Williamsport Area High School and a letterwinner at West Chester University, Girardi served as head coach of Jersey Shore (Pa.) Area High School before joining the Lycoming staff. He came to the College in 1969 as an assistant coach before ascending to head coach in 1972. In 1984, he took on the additional role of director of athletics, a position he held until his retirement in 2007.
Girardi and his wife, Lynne, have four children, Cathy, Jerry, Frank Jr. and Justine, who all graduated from Lycoming College. They are also the proud grandparents of 10 children, including three who have attended Lycoming College, Nate Hanner '08, Zachary Hanner '11 and Olivia Hanner, who is a junior and a member of the women's soccer team.