Francis X. Gagliano
Walk into the trophy lobby of McDonough Memorial Gymnasium and you're struck by the sheer number of BIG EAST trophies. The preponderance of that hardware was earned in the sport of track and field. In the history of the conference, no program in any sport has so dominated the competition in the BIG EAST as the Hoyas did in men's track and field in the decade-plus from 1988-1999.
Responsible for boosting one of the premier programs in the East into one of the elite programs in the nation, Frank Gagliano arrived at the Georgetown campus in 1983 following coaching stints at Rutgers, Manhattan, and Roselle Catholic HS in New Jersey. A former college quarterback at the University of Richmond, he had planned on a career of teaching and coaching football. Instead, Roselle assigned him to mentor the track team and he never looked back. Those in the know, however, have likened his coaching style and amazing motivational skills to football legend Vince Lombardi.
One truism in sport is that a coach is only as good as his athletes. Coach "Gags" recruited some of the finest athletes in the nation to the Hilltop, hundreds of young men. From these outstanding performers, under his watchful eye and through his prodding and emotional encouragement, the best of the best emerged: Olympians John Trautmann '91, Steve Holman '92, Kevin McMahon '94, Rich Kenah `92, Bryan Woodward `97; and NCAA champions Michael Stahr `88, Ethan Frey `91, Michael Jasper `91, Trautmann, Holman, Kenah, and Woodward. He coached 58 individual IC4A champions and 140 All-America performers. His student-athletes set 46 school records.
Collectively, his squads garnered 10 IC4A team titles, eight Penn Relay Championship of America titles, including a world-record-breaking distance medley relay team, and 23 BIG EAST team championships. Still, the accolades were secondary. What Gags sought from each athlete was putting forth his best effort.
Twice named National Coach of the Year, Gags coached Team USA at the 1993 World University Games and served as an assistant coach on the USA's World Championship team in 1997. His 18 years on the Hilltop -- 16 years as head coach -- is the longest tenure for any track coach in Georgetown's storied athletic history.
Gags has personally coached eight Olympians and had a hand in the training of two others. From 1993 to 2001, he coached the Enclave, a post-collegiate training group that he founded and nurtured, and that included many of his former athletes. Since 2001, he has been coaching the Nike Farm Team in Palo Alto, Calif., a West Coast version of the Enclave with athletes from across the country.
Married to Roberta, Gags has four grown children -- Ralph, Diane, Nancy '88, and David `91 -- and nine grandchildren.