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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

Weber ’89.

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

the honor.

Girardi is carried off the field after winning his 250th career game against Susquehanna on Nov. 12, 2005.