Monday, August 5, 2013

Book: The Pursuit of Greatness - Forward

Book: The Pursuit of Greatness - How Frank Girardi Built The Lycoming Football Legacy
By John Green

Greatness is an elusive partner as we travel through this winding road called life. If your life is anything close to the norm, you have experienced joy and sorrow, tears and laughter. You have walked stretches of your life when everything seemed as though it was a downhill stroll in the park — the sun at your back and the wind pushing you along with warm, gentle breezes. Then a driving storm comes along, the cold rain slashes into your eyes, and the wind cuts through you to the bone. No matter what that storm is, the happiness that once seemed so real has been tarnished by it. Some have learned to excel before, during and after that storm. And that is where the pursuit in this game of life comes in.

“The Pursuit of Greatness — How Frank Girardi Built The Lycoming Football Legacy”  is story about the people, the events, and the charisma that changed a struggling Division III football program into a legacy. This book will shed light on the life of head football coach Frank Girardi and contains stories of his childhood, Little League, high school, college, Jersey Shore Head Coach through becoming head coach of Lycoming College football. It will take the big stories, the great wins, great seasons and some tragedy experienced by the program. It will dive into the personal lives of the main characters — the coaches and players — that were a part of the intriguing, truly dramatic chain of events over 40-plus years making up the latticework called greatness.

Surely, the climb started with the legendary head football coach Frank Girardi. What influences in his life contributed to the values he maintained both on and off the football field? How did he, as the teacher of those values pass along their importance to his players, coaches, family, and friends? We will sift through the supporting cast — those who coached with him and played for him — looking for nuggets of gold Girardi used on his journey to greatness.

I have no doubt greatness is something achieved at Lycoming College. If I did not think so, I would not be writing this book.  And I also know that this story is achieved over and over again across this country and the world. Yes, the circumstances are different, but the results are the same. Understanding and mining the valuable lessons from the stories is another reason for writing this book. I hope you find some fruit to pluck from this book and it makes your day, your life just a little bit better.

Frank Girardi’s coaching Career Record: 257-97-5 (1)

In 36 years of coaching Lycoming College football, head coach Frank Girardi built one of the most respected and consistently successful NCAA Division III football programs in the nation. 

Girardi's career record at Lycoming is 257-97-5 — 71.6 percent in 36 seasons as head coach — and he ranked 15th on the NCAA all-time winningest coaches list in 2007, tied with legendary Brigham Young coach LaVell Edwards. In 2005, Girardi became the 17th coach in the NCAA to reach a 250-win plateau.

Girardi-coached Warriors teams have won 13 NCAA Division III playoff games and 14 Middle Atlantic Conference championships and made 12 appearances in the NCAA playoffs, including trips to the Stagg Bowl — the Division III national championship game — in 1990 and 1997. Lycoming has tallied a winning record in 29 of Girardi's 36 seasons, despite posting losing records his first three years as head coach. 

His accomplishments and consistency have not gone unnoticed by others. Girardi is a member of three halls of fame, including the West Branch Valley Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania State Sports Hall of Fame, and West Chester University's W. Glenn Killinger Football Hall of Fame. The Middle Atlantic Conference has honored Girardi as Coach of the Year 12 times, and in 1999, he 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 Delaware, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania.

(1) Lycoming College Sports