During the Brooklyn-Queens Girls Catholic High School Athletic Association’s 50th anniversary celebration at Russo’s on the Bay, 10 inductees were recognized for devotion to their high school sports programs.
Frank Marinello, in his 20th year as Fontbonne’s varsity softball coach, was among the class of 2022, which included former players, officials, coaches, athletic directors and principals.
Marinello’s induction speech was given by his eldest daughter Nicole (Fontbonne ’04), who played on Frank’s team and then came back to teach at the school from 2013 to 2018. Nicole, who now teaches at the I.S. 98 Bay Academy in Coney Island, lauded her father for being an early proponent of gender equality in sports. She shared her first-hand knowledge of his coaching style of unquestioned drive and refusal to be outworked, and proudly highlighted his .650 winning percentage and more than 300 wins over the past 20 years.
Marinello took over a fledgling softball program in 2003 and influenced a dramatic turnaround that included five Girls CHSAA Brooklyn Division titles between 2004 and 2010. After the Brooklyn and Queens divisions merged in 2013, he took his team all the way to the New York City Archdiocese Championship. After winning the state semi-final, the Bonnies fell to Long Island powerhouse Kellenberg in the state finals. Since that magical season, Fontbonne has been a competitive team and perennial playoff contender.
The coach has also been instrumental in obtaining college softball scholarships for promising seniors like Emma Capozucca, who will study nursing at the College of Mount St. Vincent. Capozucca says Marinello’s success is built on a “never give up” attitude and the family atmosphere he fosters with the team.
Bella Wren, a scholarship winner who will study criminal justice at Manhattanville, said, “If you play varsity softball for Fontbonne, it’s serious. Frank is preparing us to play at the next level right now and it’s up to us to make something of that.”