By JEFF OFFORD
When Joe Frappolli answered the telephone last week and listened to what the woman on the end of the line was telling him, he thought the call was a joke.
The Philadelphia Eagles wanted to honor him?
At the game on Sunday against the Bears?
“We have a lot of people around school that like to play pranks,” said the Florence football coach with a laugh.
The call was no prank.
Yesterday, Frappolli received the Eagles High School Coach of the Week award prior to yesterday's game at the Linc.
Frappolli, who has been head coach at Florence for the past 34 years, has a 232-100-5 career record. He became the winningest high school football coach in South Jersey history last month.
Frappolli's Flashes have won the last four Central Jersey Group 1 titles and have a 50-2 record over those four seasons.
“I was sort of taken a back when I realized the call was for real,” said Frappolli, who was accompanied yesterday by his wife, Donna. “I actually kind of welled up. Back in 1960 my uncle took me to my first Eagles game at Franklin Field. I was 12 years old and it was my Christmas gift. I saw the Eagles and the Packers play. I liked it so much that I later became a season-ticket holder and have been for over 30 years. So today really brings everything full circle.”
Along with the award, Frappolli was given two lower level box seats for yesterday's game. The Eagles donated $1,000 to the Florence High School athletic program.
“I've been a Philadelphia sports fan forever so that makes this award even more special,” Frappolli said. “Just to watch the Eagles throughout the years and to be a fan as long as I've been. To come to this stadium and to be honored the way I have by this team, it's a very humbling experience.”
Jeff Offord is a sports writer for the Burlington County Times. E-mail him at jofford@phillyBurbs.com.
NOTE: Joe's daughter is Gina Dunphy, UEZ director for the City of Gloucester City.