The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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April 10, 2008

Remembering Julius McCoy: A perspective from a lifelong friend

”Remembering Julius McCoy: A Retrospective and Tribute” was submitted by Paul Frankovich of Hermitage, a childhood friend of Julius McCoy in Farrell. The two remained friends for nearly 60 years.

On Friday, April 4th, I received the sad news that Julius McCoy had passed away in Harrisburg. The shock has still not worn off because we, somehow, come to think that great athletes like Julius, John Fridley and Dave Johnson are somehow supposed to stay with us forever.

I first met Julius more than 50 years ago. I was in the 7th grade at Farrell Junior High School when the McCoy family migrated from South Carolina to Farrell. The McCoys lived 1118 1/2 Market Ave. I was born in my grandparents’ house at 1114 Market Ave. By the time I was in Junior High my parents and I lived in the 900 block of Lee Ave. All of my playtime, however, was spent with the Market, French and Maryland Ave. guys.

This is where I met Julius. As kids, we all played the usual street, sandlot and alley games that kids played. Julius did not possess the great skills he later developed in football and basketball. However, I found out that Julius could run like the proverbial deer. In 4-on-4 “touch” street football, in our huddle I told Julius to “go long.” I took the direct snap, dropped back two steps and with my skinny, 8th-grade arm, threw the ball perhaps 35 yards. Trouble was, Julius was already 45 years down the street. After that, I told Julius to go long ... but not at full speed.

The previous year, when I was in 7th grade, Julius had been moved up a year from 5th grade to 6th grade. The South Carolina “separate but equal” system had not given Julius the best education.

In my early basketball years, I was cut every year from 6th to 9th grades. Julius, of course, made the team in the 8th grade and became high scorer in the 9th grade. In 1948, the summer after my freshman year, our basketball and social friendship really began.

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