EATON TWP. — Longtime Midview boys basketball coach Troy DiFranco, 47, remained hospitalized Tuesday night after suffering a heart attack in the morning, and the Midview community was quick to join in his fight.
The beloved former coach received an outpouring of support on social media and nearly 200 people showed up at the high school to participate in an evening prayer meeting.
“The Midview community is a great place,” Chad DiFranco, Troy’s brother, said in a text message Tuesday night. “It is great because it is full of loving and caring people. We are truly blessed to be a part of it. Our family is very appreciative of all the love and support. Thank you very much.”
Troy DiFranco, who was inducted into the Midview Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009 for his exploits as a basketball and baseball player for the Middies and at Heidelberg College, was the boys basketball coach for 19 seasons, posting a record of 228-186 and winning six league championships — three in the Lorain County Conference and three in the West Shore Conference — and advancing to the district final in 2012.
DiFranco decided to retire from coaching three years ago to spend more time with his children, Erin (21), Lauren (17) and Evan (13), and wife, Michelle.
“As some of you have heard, my dad had a heart attack this morning,” Erin tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “They were able to do an angioplasty and his artery is now cleared with a stent in it. His heart is functioning great now and there is no heart damage. He will be under sedation for the next 72 hours before they start testing for brain function. This is still an incredibly critical time for him. My family and I appreciate all the love and prayers you’re sending our way. Thank you.”
As the news spread over social media, many responded with support for DiFranco and his family, and Brandon Grimm, who played for DiFranco, put together an “emergency prayer meet up” at 9 p.m. in front of the school’s main gym.
Several people offered prayers, the large crowd joined hands and many people sang, “Amazing Grace,” before disbanding for hugs and private conversations.
DiFranco is a math teacher at Midview and remained involved in the annual Bob DiFranco memorial basketball tournament, named after his father, a former athletic director and coach who tirelessly helped with the Middies basketball program. Bob died at 53 after suffering a heart attack.
After retiring from coaching, DiFranco couldn’t stay away from the basketball courts and was hired by WEOL 930-AM to be an analyst during radio broadcasts of high school games.
“He’s really a phenomenal color commentator,” station manager and play-by-play man Tim Alcorn said. “He took to that like a fish to water. His knowledge of the game, knowing the coaches and what they might do … he’s done just a great job.”
Alcorn said he had always had a great relationship with DiFranco while he was coaching, and after they began working games together on the radio they became great friends.
“Troy DiFranco is one of those guys that just everybody loves him,” Alcorn said. “The whole family. His mom, his dad — with his untimely death — the brothers … that DiFranco name is just synonymous with Grafton and Midview.
“I don’t know anyone in the world who doesn’t like or who wouldn’t like Troy DiFranco. He’s just a class individual, full of integrity, genuine … there’s not enough adjectives to describe what a great person he is.”
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