Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Half A Century Man

I know not whether my brother Kelly has seen it yet but the story that Immaculata High School Football Coach Pierce Frauenheim shall retire at the end of the 2012 football season caught my attention.  A lifetime ago Kelly played football for Pierce Frauenheim at "The Big Immac".  Once upon a time, before high school football became big business,  before Don Bosco Prep and Bergen Catholic played more games out-of-state against top-flight competition than Rutgers does Immaculata played its football in the Raritan Valley Conference.  The RVC was a conference of Catholic high schools, including several that no longer exist (St. Peter's New Brunswick and St. Pius X of Piscataway) and at least one that has changed its name (St. Thomas Aquinas is now Bishop George Ahr). 

I do not recall the season in which Immaculata won the RVC title although I do recall watching the players celebrate their championship.  I remember some of the guys with whom he played:  Billy Gorman, Vinny DeStefano, Mike O'Connor and Bob Hoey.  I have no idea whether he stayed in touch with any of them beyond high school.  I also have no idea whether he remained in touch with one of his non-football-playing friends from Immaculata.  I do see Dave Laggini's signs on homes all over our area.  He appears to be doing alright.  He also appears to look only slightly older than I remember him looking when he and my brother were teenagers. 

Pierce Frauenheim is seventy-one years old.  He is the only football coach that Immaculata has ever had.  When my older brother roamed the halls there back in the early to mid 1970's Mr. Frauenheim was also the Vice-Principal or some such thing.  Suffice it to say, he and Mom became well acquainted during Kelly's high school years.  His son Michael - with whom I was a classmate for a couple of years at Immaculate Conception Grammar School - has been the Head Coach of the Boys' Varsity Basketball Team at Immaculata for the past several years.  I have a vague recollection of having read somewhere a few years ago that Mike's younger brother David was an assistant coach for Dad on the football team.   

Mr. Frauenheim has been at Immaculata for fifty years.  Fifty years is a hell of a long time to do something.  Let alone to do the same thing.  Let alone to do the same thing well. 

He has managed to do all three.  

-AK

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