Stillman Receives $27,500 Gift from Parents of Former Coach Frank DiCocco
Lou and Kathy DiCocco of the H.O.P.E. Foundation For A Better Tomorrow presented Stillman with $27,500 to begin an endowed scholarship for student athletes and finance the College’s first Shaping Champions Scholarship in Memory of Coach Frank D. B. DiCocco. Pictured, from left to right, on a balcony overlooking Stillman Stadium are Interim President Peter Millet, Kathy DiCocco, Lou DiCocco, Head Football Coach Teddy Keaton, and Vice President for Institutional Advancement Anthony Holloman.
H.O.P.E was founded by the couple’s son Frank DiCocco, a former Stillman football coach and mentor to youth who published ten books, including The Playbook for Manhood: A Game Plan for Being a REAL Man. DiCocco, who suffered from bone marrow failure, died on April 30, 2013 at the age of 29.
“Two years ago Frank asked if we could start a foundation that would help young athletes,” Kathy DiCocco stated. “He coached at Stillman and at high schools in Florida, Connecticut, Virginia, South Carolina, and Massachusetts. While working with youth, he noticed that some athletes had no family to go home to and no dinner. He had a heart for the young and he would sometimes buy them dinner or take them shopping to buy clothes. When he was a coach at a high school in Florida, he paid one student’s flight to go out of state to interview for a scholarship. He also ran a couple of fundraisers for a girl with cancer to help with her medical expenses. He would buy t-shirts to give to kids, and give baskets to families at Christmas time. The more people we meet, the more we hear about things he did for others, so we’re trying to keep it going through the foundation.”
The day after their son’s funeral, Kathy DiCocco says that she and her husband “kicked into gear,” determined to continue his legacy of generosity. In the past four months, they have given scholarships to three schools, sponsored three students to attend summer camps, and planned several fundraisers.
“We could have mailed our checks to Stillman, but we used to come for football games when our son was coaching here, so we decided to deliver the checks in person.”
The criteria for receiving the Shaping Champions Scholarship includes financial need and character. “It’s for an athlete with need, but one who also exhibits the character traits my son wrote about in his books. One who has a strong work ethic and the potential to go on to be successful in life.”
On his website, Coach DiCocco wrote, “My mission is to build men of character, men of values, men of purpose, and men of honor. My aim is to help shape the lives of others in a positive and meaningful way: a way that inspires individuals to help create a better and more hopeful world for us all.”
Coach Keaton said that Frank DiCocco embodied the excellent character traits that he wrote about and that, through the H.O.P.E Foundation and the endowed scholarship, DiCocco’s mission will continue. “He was all about helping others. Stillman was his first college coaching job. He felt that he had been blessed and he wanted to be a blessing to someone else. So he wanted to start a scholarship for a Stillman athlete. He wanted to help by giving opportunities to those who didn’t have many opportunities. He wanted to help the poor. He wanted to help the needy. He is a clear example of a person who felt that he was put on this earth to be a servant.”
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