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Lycoming College to dedicate David Person Field at Girardi Stadium in 2023

Lycoming College to dedicate David Person Field at Girardi Stadium in 2023

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They say Yankee Stadium is “The house that Ruth built.” If that’s the case, there’s no doubt that the stadium that encapsulates David Person Field inside the Robert L. Shangraw Athletic Complex is certainly the house that Frank Girardi built. Now that stadium will bear his name, as Girardi Stadium will officially be dedicated at the 2023 Lycoming College football team’s home opener on Saturday, Sept. 9, as the College’s Board of Trustees approved the naming of the stadium during its meeting on Sunday, Oct. 16.

The Board of Trustees, chaired by D. Mark Fultz ’80, released an official proclamation honoring the 2016 inductee into the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame and announcing the naming of the College’s football stadium in Coach Girardi’s honor, which until now had not had a name attached to it.

Over the course of the 36 years as the head football coach, Girardi cobbled together one of the finest resumes in the history of the game. He won 257 games, which still ranks 24th all-time in NCAA history and 10th in Division III annals. He helped Lycoming win 13 Middle Atlantic Conference titles and make 11 appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

“I am personally honored to recognize Coach Girardi by announcing that the football stadium will now bear his name,” Lycoming College President Kent Trachte said. “Frank’s records as football coach place him among a small elite group of college coaches, and his accomplishments as athletics director were instrumental in growing our athletic program. His greatest legacies, however, are his commitment to excellence and his impact upon the lives of countless student athletes. For four decades, he sustained Lycoming’s culture of excellence and changed lives.”

The hallmarks of Girardi’s teams seemed to always be the defense, which led Division III in total defense twice (1975, ‘83), rushing defense three times (1976, ‘82, ‘87) and scoring defense once (1999) during his career. By the mid-’80s, though, his offenses had the firepower to match the defense, leading the MAC in total offense for the first time in 1984 (178.5) and four more times in his career.

Between 1978 and 2006, every four-year player that played for Coach Girardi won at least one MAC Championship and every four-year player that played between 1985 and 2006 played in at least one NCAA Championship game. In the ‘90s, the Warriors turned into one of the most dominant powerhouses in Division III, winning seven MAC titles in the decade, making four appearances in the NCAA quarterfinals, three in the semifinals and two in the NCAA Division III championship game.

“To myself and many of my teammates, Coach G is synonymous with Lycoming,” Lycoming College Director of Athletics and head football coach Mike Clark ’93 said. “There is no doubt, from the time I first walked into this new stadium as an assistant coach in 1998 to today, I have always felt that Coach G was a huge part of this building, so to see his name officially attached to it is very fitting.”

By the time Girardi retired, he had coached 82 All-Americans, 328 All-MAC selections, five Academic All-Americans (including Academic All-America Hall of Fame Member Tom Vanaskie), 13 Academic All-District picks, 13 Lycoming College Male Athletes of the Year, seven MAC Most Valuable Players/Players of the Year and 66 members of the Lycoming College Athletics Hall of Fame.

Girardi also served as Director of Athletics for 23 years (1984-2007), the longest-term for an AD in the College’s history. He oversaw the addition of volleyball (1988), softball (1990), women’s soccer (1994) and men’s and women’s lacrosse (1997) programs. He was also integral in the development of the Robert L. Shangraw Athletic Complex, as David Person Field’s original stadium, with a small grandstand and pressbox and two locker rooms was replaced with the current one, which houses five locker rooms, a state-of-the-art pressbox and a 2,500-seat grandstand in 1998. The Shangraw Athletic Complex Softball Field on the East side of the complex was ready for competition in 1999 and UPMC Field on the West side of the field was converted to field turf from natural grass in 2005.

Girardi has also earned induction to the Lycoming Athletics Hall of Fame (2010), Middle Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame (2012), West Branch Valley Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame (1990), the Pennsylvania State Sports Hall of Fame (1998) and West Chester University Hall of Fame (2005). The College dedicated a bust in his likeness in 2012, five years after the completion of his coaching career.

A gallery of Frank Girardi photos is available online for download at: (Password: GirardiAnnouncement)

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