This story has had the name of the student changed to protect his identity and respect his privacy. He will be referred to as "Bob". Coach Frank DiCocco's name remains in the story.
Bob graduated in 2009, after Frank had left PVI. The last semester of Bob's senior year was a nightmare for us. He had fallen into the grasp of a young woman who was leading him down the wrong paths--she took him away from his education, his academics and his family. We were beside ourselves not knowing what to do.
The first person I contacted for help was Frank. As you might expect, he responded immediately and offered to do anything he could. Over the next year he maintained contact with Bob and continued his encouraging words. Bob finally disassociated himself from the girl and started to West Virginia University in the Fall of 2010, all the time receiving encouragement from Coach DiCocco. Bob did not succeed his first year and had to spend a year at home attending another institution. He did an immediate turn around and is now on the Dean's list at WVU. Of course, Frank was there all the time, writing to Bob, sending him books, and simply being his friend.
When Bob called me Wednesday night with the tragic news I was devastated. In fact, I had hoped to email Frank Wednesday morning to ask his advice about Bob continuing in his current major or going to something else. Unfortunately, I became otherwise occupied and didn't get the email out. Isn't it remarkable that I am thirty-one years older than Frank, yet I was seeking his advice?
Bob told me that Frank had told him that he was going to keep an empty picture frame on his desk and that he would fill it some day with a picture of Bob graduating from WVU. I told Bob that he has to do it now for Frank.
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