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Frank Fitzpatrick Frank Fitzpatrick
Inducted: 2009 - Graduated: N/A


Frank Fitzpatrick

Coach & Educator

Ralph & Mary Smith

Distinguished Service Award

Although he was born and raised in Suffern and lived there for all of his adult life, Frank Fitzpatrick bled Black & Gold.

For three decades – from the founding of Nanuet High School in 1959 until his death in 1989 – Frank was a fixture at Nanuet athletic events, coaching football and basketball, serving as offi cial scorer and statistician at countless basketball, baseball and football games, and forging enduring bonds with Nanuet coaches, athletes and the school community. “In many ways, Nanuet was home to him,” says Mike Fitzpatrick, Frank’s oldest son.

Frank was the first male teacher at Miller Elementary School, where he taught fifth grade. He coached junior varsity and modified football, JV basketball, and occasionally filled in as skipper of the baseball team if Coach Rich Loughlin got the heave-ho. “Coach Loughlin might have even looked upon Dad as an assistant coach,” says Pete Fitzpatrick, Frank’s middle son.

“Fitz” was known for his dry, quick sense of humor, especially around the fraternity of coaches who were like brothers to him, men like Jerry Bonomolo, Mike Achille, athletic director Chet Stopyra, Bob West, Dale Abeling, Loughlin, Rich Conklin and Ed Denton. He also earned the respect and endearment of the Nanuet students and athletes with his unfailingly positive and supportive outlook.

“Fitzie had a great understanding of the kids, but at the same time he was always able to inspire people to reach the next level,” says Rich Conklin, who played JV football under Frank and later had him as a longtime assistant coach. “He would motivate kids, give them confidence and pick them up when they were on the down side.”

“Frank was loyal as a puppy to Nanuet’s kids and teams, and he was a well-respected teacher,” adds Conklin, whose grandparents were Suffern neighbors of the Fitzpatricks and whose mother, Lillian (Trainor), babysat for Frank. “I don’t know of anybody who played for Frank that ever had a harsh word to say about him.”

Frank attended St. Luke’s School in Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., for three years before transferring to Suffern his senior year, 1950. He attended Fairfi eld University on a full scholarship for basketball, the sport he considered the most demanding and the one requiring the most athleticism.

After two years in college, however, he was drafted into the Army and served in Korea for two years, attaining the rank of sergeant fi rst class and earning a Bronze Star for his valorous service. Upon returning from Korea, Frank took advantage of the GI Bill and enrolled at Fairleigh Dickinson University, attending classes on weekends while working as an Army drill sergeant at Fort Dix during the week.

He later obtained his teaching certificate at SUNY New Paltz, taught in the Tuxedo school district for two years and came to Nanuet in the fall of 1959 to embark upon his teaching and coaching career in the land of the Golden Knights.

Although teaching, coaching and scoring games occupied much of his time, Frank still managed to attend many of his sons’ athletic contests at Suffern High School. Mike, 47, was an All-America lacrosse player and an outstanding linebacker in football; Pete, 43, played football and lacrosse and wrestled; and youngest son Andy, 37, played football, hockey and lacrosse.

“Watching his boys play sports made him happy and proud,” says Mike, who was captain of the undefeated 1979 Suffern football team which was recently inducted into that school’s Hall of Fame. “He never missed one of my games, from elementary school through high school.” 

Frank was passionate about other hobbies as well. He was a voracious reader who devoured history books, with a special interest in the Civil War. He loved Big Band music and instilled that music appreciation in Mike, who still plays the trumpet, bass and guitar. Frank also was an avid gardener, growing fresh vegetables for the Fitzpatrick family year-round.

Frank died in 1989 at age 56 of a liver disease. He was married for 30 years to Virginia Fitzpatrick, who now lives in Marblehead, Mass. Mike lives in Waltham, Mass., Pete resides in Pearl River, and Andy, who earned a lacrosse scholarship to Butler University in Indiana, lives in Zionsville, Ind. 

“If he was alive,” Mike says, “he would be incredibly honored by this induction, as Nanuet was a major focus in his life, as a teacher, coach and statistician.”