June 9 – North Ridgeville
By Terra Carlson
During the halftime of Saturday’s Lorain County Senior All-Star Football Game at North Ridgeville High School, three outstanding coaches were inducted into the Lorain County Football Coaches Hall of Fame. Those inducted were Jim Bollenbacher, Bob Tomaszewski and Bob DiFranco.
Bollenbacher spent his career coaching football at Midview. He was inducted into the hall of fame for his dedication coaching the Middies throughout the years.
Tomaszewski spent his career coaching at both Avon Lake and Lorain Catholic. He was not available at this year’s game to receive his induction award.
DiFranco was a stellar athlete at North Ridgeville High School during his time as a Ranger athlete. After high school he became a student athlete at Ashland University before beginning his teaching and coaching career at Midview in 1969.
DiFranco was an assistant varsity football coach at Midview through 1970. After Midview, DiFranco decided to return to North Ridgeville where he continued teaching and coaching for 29 years. DiFranco passed away from a heart attack in 2000.
DiFranco’s sons, Jason and Troy, came to the game to accept the award on behalf of their father.
“It’s such an honor to receive this, especially at North Ridgeville where my father spent so much time coaching and teaching,” Troy DiFranco said. “Our family is very humble when receiving this and we know that he’s looking down and smiling.”
The DiFranco sons believe that if their father was still here, he’d be wondering why he was being inducted.
“He’d ask us why he got accepted into the hall of fame,” Troy DiFranco said. “He was a very humble man but he’s done a lot for the two rival communities of Midview and North Ridgeville.”
DiFranco was a competitive man, and for most like him, it would’ve been difficult being so close to the people of two rival communities. DiFranco’s children went to school in the Midview district, but he didn’t make it a difficult situation for them.
“He was great, and whenever we played North Ridgeville, he was always supportive,” Troy DiFranco said. “He could’ve been a head coach all his life, but he made the choice to put being a family man first.”
DiFranco’s legacy continues to live on a decade after his untimely passing. Every year, high school boys varsity and junior varsity basketball teams compete in the Bob DiFranco Holiday Basketball Tournament to raise money for scholarships for Midview students.