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Longtime Midview coach Troy DiFranco dies

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    Troy DiFranco, left, reacts during a Midview-Avon boys basket­ball game in 2016.

    DAVID RICHARD / CHRONICLE FILE

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The Midview community was in mourning Sunday after the death of veteran coach, math teacher and Midview Athletic Hall of Fame member Troy DiFranco.

DiFranco, who had just turned 48 on Friday, had been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack June 11.

“Troy was Midview. In addition to being the most respected teacher, he was the most respected person in the athletic department,” Midview athletic director Dan May said. “However, I’m going to miss him most as a friend. Everyone in the school and in the community loved Troy.”

DiFranco was the boys basketball coach at Midview for 19 seasons, compiling a 228-186 record and winning six conference championships and was inducted into the Lorain County Boys Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

A 1989 Midview grad, DiFranco was a standout basketball and baseball player for the Middies. He continued his athletic career at Heidelberg College, where he earned the prestigious Clyde Lamb Award, which is given annually to a top student-athlete at each Ohio Athletic Conference school.

“Troy meant so much to our school and our community,” Midview School Superintendent Bruce Willingham said. “There is going to be a lot of people hurting, and if there’s anybody who wants to spend time together or wants to come together we want to make sure there is time to do that.”

Grief counselors will be available at Midview High School from 3 to 6 p.m. today.

DiFranco is survived by his wife, Michelle, daughters Erin and Lauren and son Evan.

When DiFranco retired from coaching basketball in 2016, he told The Chronicle-Telegram he did so to spend more time with his family.

DiFranco was never able to totally give up coaching or his association with high school basketball. In 2018 he coached the inaugural girls golf team at Midview. His daughter Lauren was a member of that team.

Through his years in coaching DiFranco cultivated a friendship with WEOL 930-AM station manager and play-by-play man Tim Alcorn that led to DiFranco working as a color commentator on the station’s broadcasts for the past three seasons.

“Troy was so warm and genuine, we just hit it off,” Alcorn said. “He had integrity and compassion. They just don’t come any better than Troy. What I am going to remember most about Troy is the absolute love he had for his family. He just adored his wife, Michelle; he just loved her to pieces. He talked about his three kids all the time; he talked about being able to watch Evan play basketball. He was a true family man.”

Alcorn said DiFranco’s knowledge of basketball and his steadfast preparation for broadcasts made him an outstanding commentator. Alcorn and DiFranco called the final two games of the 2019 postseason on March 9.

“Next season is going to be tough. I know I’m going to hear his voice in my ear,” Alcorn said. “I’m going to be reflecting on what Troy would have said, or what he would have thought about a situation. It’s going to be difficult, but Troy loved hoops more than anybody. He would say, ‘Just call the game and have fun with it.’”

The loss of DiFranco is being felt across Lorain County. Amherst superintendent Steve Sayers, a former Midview High principal, said Sunday on Twitter, “Troy was a great man who impacted so many people in so many ways. He was so positive and I always admired how he had his priorities in order.”

Former Keystone coach Greg Morgan got to know DiFranco when they coached against each other in the Lorain County Conference. After the league disbanded in 2005, Morgan’s Wildcats were regular guests at Midview’s Bob DiFranco Memorial Tournament, named for Troy’s father who was a former athletic director and coach.

“Right away you knew Troy was a class guy,” Morgan said. “You could tell just being around him that he was genuine. The more you got to know him, you found out how important his family and his faith was to him.”

Troy started the DiFranco Tournament in 2000 to honor his father, Bob, who died of a heart attack at age 53. The event has raised more than $50,000 for scholarships for Midview student-athletes over the last 19 years.

“Troy shined and smiled when he was able to talk about his dad,” May said. “He was keen on building that legacy for his dad but in reality the legacy was Troy, and his dad, and his brothers and the entire DiFranco family, and we’ll do whatever we can to make sure that legacy continues not just in Bob’s name but also in Troy’s.”

Contact Todd Shapiro at (440) 329-7135 or sports@chroniclet.com.


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