Coach Franco Statue to be Erected at Gray Field

APRIL 2 UPDATE: Thanks for reading our 2019 April Fools Day story. While we wish Coach Franco and his team the best, there are, as far as we know, no plans to turn the Joe Paterno statue into a John Franco statue! Moreover, as far as we know, the FACT committee does not exist and hot dogs will still be called hot dogs next season at Gray Field.


Caden Brooks

This John Franco Victory Statue will be placed at the entrance of Gray Field in time for the 2019 football season.

After a lengthy debate, a design for the long anticipated John Franco Victory Statue at Gray-Veterans Memorial Field was approved last Thursday night at the regular monthly meeting of the Franco Appreciation Committee of Tyrone (FACT).

The statue will be unveiled at a pregame ceremony before next season’s Backyard Brawl, just in time to honor the 20th anniversary of Franco’s 1999 PIAA State Championship Team.

I can’t wait to unwrap an East End hoagie in the shadow of this magnificent new addition to Gray Field.”

— Jaysen Gold

“Tyrone loves football and, of course, we love Coach Franco,” said local legend Jaysen Gold, “I can’t wait to unwrap an East End hoagie in the shadow of this magnificent new addition to Gray Field.”

However, the approval of the statue was not without controversy.

The original design submitted to the committee in February depicted Coach Franco being carried on the shoulders of his two sons, Stevie and Johnny (see artist’s rendition below). The committee loved the design, but estimates for that statue came in considerably over-budget, so they agreed to look for other options.

That’s when FACT learned that they could purchase a slightly used statue in good condition from G & R Demolition and Salvage.

“I’m not exactly sure where G & R got it, but it’s a darn nice statue. We’re always mindful of cost, so when we had the opportunity to buy this perfectly good, though slightly used, Legendary Coach Statue at half off retail, we jumped on it,” said FACT President Marcus Owens.

Some committee members who preferred the original design want the decision made by Tyrone voters. They propose putting a statue referendum on the ballot this fall.

“The people deserve a voice in this decision,” said committee member Brian McManigal. “I also think Coach Franco deserves a new statue, not a used one from who knows where.”

Other members of the committee disagreed.

Franco statue

An artist’s rendition of the original version of the Coach Franco Victory Statue featuring Johnny and Stevie Franco.

“With the retirement of John Hayes, Bellwood is also shopping for a Legendary Coach Statue. If we don’t buy this statue now, we’ll be visiting it every other year in Bellwood. We don’t have time to vote. Team. Toughness. Tyrone,” said FACT historian Kerry Naylor.

Tyrone art teacher Eric Feather presented his plan to customize the used statue at the FACT meeting on Thursday.

“As you can see from my proposal, it should be very easy to modify,” said Feather. “The statue’s original likeness was reportedly another famous Italian-American football coach, so I guarantee that it will look exactly like Coach Franco when I’m done.”

While everyone in Tyrone agrees that Coach Franco is the Best Football Coach Ever, not everyone is on board with the statue, at least not yet.

“Some people felt it was a little too early for a statue, but with Coach Franco’s return to Tyrone next season we’re practically guaranteed to win the next five to ten State Championships,” said committee Vice President Pat McNelis, “and with inflation being what it is, the price of Legendary Coach Statues are sure to go up.  So the time to do this is now. It just makes sense.”

In other news, the committee also voted to officially change the name of hot dogs at the Gray Field concession stand to Franc-O-furters, effective at the beginning of next season.

Which Coach Franco statue design do you prefer?

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