For 36 years this was Girardi’s plan.
It worked out pretty well, as he won 257
games as the Warriors’ head coach from
1972 until his retirement in 2007. It’s
still the 16th-best win total in college
football history. Since he was hired in
1971, his name was synonymous with
Lycoming College. And come December,
his name will forever be linked with
the school when he is inducted to the
College Football Hall of Fame as one of
two coaches and 14 players who were
recently selected to join the hall. Girardi
will be the first person associated with
Lycoming College to be inducted when
he is enshrined on Dec. 6, at the Waldorf
Astoria in New York City.
“I didn’t have a long-term plan, to be
perfectly honest,” Girardi said recently
as he sat behind the desk of his long-time
assistant coach Steve Wiser ’74 in the
Lycoming athletics office. “I knew that
the program had been struggling for
quite a while. I just felt that if we can get
this thing to be competitive first, then we
could go somewhere.”
Girardi couldn’t focus on long-
term success when he began his tenure
because football at Lycoming College
had never really been successful. Since
becoming Lycoming College in 1947, the
school’s football program had just five
winning seasons among the 27 years it
played football before Girardi took the
reigns as the head coach.
He changed the culture of the
program, though. And by changing
the culture he changed expectations.
He understood football’s place at the
Division III level, knowing the vast
majority of his players would never get
the opportunity to play professionally.
So he developed a program that allowed
players to showcase their talents as they
grew as men and students.
The entire transformation of a college
football program from bottom-feeder
1 Girardi coaches the quarterbacks during his
first season as head coach in 1972.
2 Coach Frank Girardi in 1989 with his assistant
coaches. Front row (l-r): Steve Wiser ’74,
Gene Haupt, Robb Curry ’69, Curtis Johnson.
Back row (l-r): Terry Mantle, Bobby George,
Frank Girardi, Frank Girardi, Jr. ’89, Mike
3 Coach Girardi talks with Ed Dougherty ’92 on
the sidelines. Dougherty was a threetime
All-American for Coach G, leading the team
to the national championship game in 1990.
Dougherty was selected to the MAC Hall of
Fame in 2016, the second football player at
Lycoming who played for Girardi to earn
Girardi is carried off the field after winning his 250th career game against Susquehanna on Nov. 12, 2005.
LYCOMING COLLEGE 2016 SUMMER MAGAZINE