New road named for Barrington coaching legend

Road to Palmer Pointe named Coach Murgo Lane

By Josh Bickford
Posted 9/10/19

He was a teacher. He was a coach. He was a trainer.

But to Lori, Matt, Caron and Bruce, he was "dad." The children of late Barrington resident Frank Murgo had a chance to celebrate their father …

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New road named for Barrington coaching legend

Road to Palmer Pointe named Coach Murgo Lane

Posted

He was a teacher. He was a coach. He was a trainer.

But to Lori, Matt, Caron and Bruce, he was "dad." The children of late Barrington resident Frank Murgo had a chance to celebrate their father during a special ceremony on Friday morning, Sept. 6, when officials named the road leading to the new Palmer Pointe development "Coach Murgo Lane."

Bruce Murgo said Friday's event was very special for him and his siblings, as it offered another opportunity for them to remember the role their father played in town. Coach Frank Murgo was arguably one of the best coaches Barrington High School has ever had, but his reputation for winning championships was easily eclipsed by his knack for building relationships.

"This is not something he ever tried to do — have a street named after him," said Bruce Murgo. "All the awards over the years — it could be the hall of fame, he's gotten so many of those — he didn't try to be a hall of famer. You don't try to have a street named after you. He just lived his life pretty simple, but I think because he came into contact with so many kids over the years, he affected a lot of people. And it wasn't always coaching the Xs and Os. I know they said something about watching film all the time, and you have to prepare, but I think it was the relationships dad made through football and coaching and being a trainer more than anything."

Matt Murgo, Bruce's brother, agreed.

"That's what a lot of kids remember: the conversations, the one-on-one," Matt said.

Coach Murgo Lane is the second significant landmark to carry the late Barrington resident's name. The high school gymnasium was also named after Coach Murgo recently.

"This is forever," said Bruce Murgo, referring to the road. "That street's going to be a part of Barrington forever. And it's awesome to see that he's part of the town's legacy now."

More about Coach Murgo

Frank Murgo was born in Bristol in 1924 and began his athletic career at Colt Memorial High School where he received All State honors in both baseball and football. 

After high school, Frank played football at URI and he was also a member of the Bristol Townies, a semi-professional football team. After serving his country with the Coast Guard during World War II, Frank went on to Springfield College and excelled as an athlete. He was named to the Springfield College 1950’s All Decade Baseball Team and was inducted into the Springfield College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Upon graduation, Frank married his beloved wife, Shirley, in 1954, and began teaching and coaching in North Kingstown. He moved to Barrington in 1957, where his legendary career began. For the next three decades Frank taught physical education at Barrington High School and made his mark as a major figure in the Eagles’ sports programs. He started the school’s first Letterman’s Club. He coached football, basketball and baseball, and became one of the state’s first athletic trainers. His football teams won four class titles in the 1960s.

For many years Frank managed many successful sports programs at the Barrington YMCA and Canadian baseball camps. He served on the State Board Executive Committee for Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

Frank was a member of numerous Halls of Fame, including those of the R.I. Football Coaches (1975), Bristol High School Athletic Hall of Fame (1985), Providence Gridiron Club (1997) and Barrington High School Athletic Hall of Fame (2008). In 1999, in recognition of his years of service, Barrington High School initiated the Frank Murgo Award.

Even after his retirement in 1986, Frank never lost his love for sports. He was a constant supporter and “super” fan of Barrington High and Mt. Hope High Schools as well as St. Andrew’s and other neighboring towns. He loved watching local students, including his own grandchildren, go on to play and excel at both the high school and college levels. 

Frank Murgo passed away on Jan. 5, 2019.

— With reporting from Manuel C. "Manny" Correira

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