The man known as the “founding father” of the Duchesne High School football program greatly influenced students and fellow coaches and educators.
Frank Barro founded the program in 1967, served as head football coach for 11 seasons (1967-77) and was Duchesne’s athletic director from 1973-78. Coach Barro died July 10 at the age of 80, but he is not forgotten.
At the school’s homecoming football game on Oct. 1, Duchesne dedicated its stadium to Coach Barro by renaming it to Frank Barro Stadium, from Pioneer Field. His widow, Betty (Covilli) Barro, is one of four Covilli siblings who attended Duchesne along with another who coached and taught there. Her family members donated a plaque to memorialize Coach Barro. Betty Barro served as the first football statistician at Duchesne, tracking plays from her seat in the bleachers.
Paul Boschert, athletic director at Duchesne, called Coach Barro “the godfather of football” in St. Charles County. Boschert, a 1977 graduate of Duchesne, said Coach Barro lived by example and inspired many young men to be their best selves. The coach influenced Boschert’s career choice as a teacher, coach and now athletic director. He also influenced an inordinate number of his football players to follow his footsteps into teaching, coaching and athletic administration such as Jeff Osner, a 1973 Duchesne graduate, who stated that Coach Barro helped him as a student and later as a fellow educator and administrator.
Terry Hollander, a 1970 graduate, was Coach Barro’s first quarterback and first former player to serve as assistant coach. Hollander is a member of the Gateway Athletic Conference Hall of Fame and the Missouri Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. Currently an assistant basketball coach at Lindenwood University, he was inspired to become a coach by Coach Barro, calling him “a great mentor.”
“We were very, very close, he’s just a great man, for sure,” Hollander said. “He was a very tough but very fair-minded individual. Everyone looked up to him. He was your prototypical football coach. He made everybody work hard.”
The team attended Mass before games, and Barro was supportive of that, Hollander recalled. “But he would always remind us to remember that God helps those who help themselves.”
Coach Barro, a parishioner of St. Peter in St. Charles, was instrumental in forming the Gateway Athletic Conference with Duchesne, Orchard Farm, Francis Howell, Fort Zumwalt, and Wentzville schools. The GAC has grown to an 18-school conference in a half-century.
Coach Barro also coached basketball, track and soccer. Many of the more than 300 alumni who played for him helped provide the new stadium sign as well as a pregame reception for his family and former coaches along with a postgame reception for alumni.
Joe Glosier of the Class of 1978 commented that “Coach Barro turned a lot of boys into young men. His influence will be felt for a long time.”
Tom Covilli played for Coach Barro, then getting to know him as a mentor, friend and a brother-in-law. “He was always a ‘glass half full’ guy who challenged me and others and brought out the best in us,” Covelli recalled. “At Duchesne, it was clear that Frank commanded respect the moment he walked in the room. There were no shortcuts in Barro’s program.”
His teams were never outcoached or outworked, Covilli said. “And as a coach, he inspired us through his passion and fierce competitive spirit that was absolutely infectious.”
>> Frank Barro, educator and coach
• Started the football program at Duchesne High School, was the first head coach, and served as an athletic director at Duchesne.
• Was head soccer and track coach and assistant basketball coach at Duchesne.
• Served as a teacher and football coach at Francis Howell High School.
• Was middle school principal at Winfield High School.
• Retired as an administrator at Wentzville High School.
• Was a member of the Gateway Athletic Conference Hall of Fame, the St. Louis Metro Football Coaches Hall of Fame, the Missouri Coaches Hall of Fame and was recognized in 2017 by the St. Charles County Amateur Sports Hall of Fame with their outstanding achievement award for his commitment to high school athletics.
• Was a fourth-degree Knight of Columbus and a member of the honor guard.