Drake Francescone

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Drake Francescone was born in Buffalo and was a graduate of Kenmore West High School (1966), Indiana University (1970), and later Niagara University (1972). While at Indiana, Francescone was an All-America rugby player on the Club teams’ National Championship squad.

He had a 34-year career as a physical education teacher in Buffalo, including stints at Schools 80 and 81, and 23 years of incredible coaching success at City Honors, transforming the Centaurs’ athletics program into a regional powerhouse.

In 1980, Francescone began building the women’s volleyball program and led undefeated teams to four consecutive state championships in the early 1990s. It was the first time a Buffalo city school had won four straight state crowns in any sport.

His coed swimming, tennis, and cross-country teams went years without losing, the softball program became an unparalleled success and his men’s basketball team won three sectional titles, two regionals and were State runners-up in 2002 and champions in the state Class C title in 2003.
During his distinguished tenure at City Honors, Francescone coached six different sports over 23 years. In all, he won 49 city championships, 12 Section VI championships, eight Far West regional championships, and five state championships. Yet, he always considered his greatest accomplishment to be the number of student athletes who went on to collegiate careers and, more so, success in later life.

He was awarded the Key to the City by Buffalo Mayor James D. Griffin and he was inducted into the New York State Public High School Hall of Fame in 2003 and the inaugural Section VI Hall in 2014.

A 30-year member of Crag Burn Golf Club, Francescone passed away in 2011 at the age of 63. That year his Dad, Joseph R. Francescone established a scholarship in Drake’s name at City Honors. The award includes an $8,000 yearly stipend to a student athlete selected by the school’s Athletic Department who has demonstrated the values of athletics, scholarship and community service that Coach Fran demanded of his athletes. To date, the scholarship has distributed nearly $100,000. to deserving grads.