Former Lycoming coaches Frank Girardi and Budd Whitehill were named members of the 36-person inagural class of the Middle Atlantic Conference's Hall of Fame Tuesday during the kickoff to the league's 100th Anniversary celebration at Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham (N.J.)
"I think the fact that Lycoming College has two members in the inaugural MAC Hall of Fame is certainly appropriate," Lycoming head football coach and Director of Athletics Mike Clark said. "Those two guys are certainly legends in each of their respective coaching fields."
Both men will be honored for their accomplishments and induction into the conference's hall of fame at the Lycoming College Athletics Hall of Fame banquet on Friday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. More information about the banquet will be released with the announcement of the 27th annual College Hall of Fame class in June.
Girardi, who was recently given a lifetime achievement award from the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Football Foundation, coached the Lycoming football team for 36 years (1972-2007) and concluded his career as one of the most successful coaches in NCAA history. He compiled an overall record of 257-97-4 (.723), ranking him 15th in all divisions in victories. Girardi is one of only 29 coaches to record 200 or more victories at one school. He guided the program to two national championship appearances in 1990 and 1997. He led the Warriors to 13 Middle Atlantic Conference titles, including seven during the 1990s, and 11 NCAA playoff berths. He was named the MAC Coach of the Year on 12 occasions and recorded 29 consecutive winning seasons from 1975-2003.
"Any time you are inducted into a hall of fame, it is an honor," Girardi said. "To be included in this first year of the MAC Hall of Fame with a very broad and deep class is truly an honor for me."
When Whitehill came to Lycoming College to start the wrestling program in 1956, he was just two years removed from the end of a career as a minor league pitcher, having moved around from Quebec to Kentucky. He was also just two years removed from a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference wrestling title at Lock Haven State Teachers' College. For the next 37 years, until his death, Whitehill embodied the image that the athletic department came to embrace. He was tough-as-nails, but someone who cared about creating a family-like environment. He began at the College as an assistant football and head wrestling and baseball coach. He stopped coaching baseball in 1963 to focus on wrestling and football before becoming the head football coach in 1966. He spent five years in the dual role before encouraging the hiring of his assistant, Girardi, to take over the football team.
Meanwhile, he truly left his mark on the mat. The numbers themselves are astounding. Among numerous other honors, Whitehill coached 11 teams that finished amongst the NCAA's top 20 and four amongst the top 10. He mentored the school's first MAC champions in 1962 and added nine more titles after that. His 1962 team also finished third at the NAIA National Tournament, behind only Lock Haven and Bloomsburg. He coached 38 All-Americans, 66 conference champions and four national champions. His overall career record was 376-172-6 (.683) and he is a member of the Lycoming (1993), Lock Haven Wrestling (1991) and National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III (1991) halls of fame.