Frank Navarro, the former Ivy League football coach who helped turn around a struggling Division III program at Wabash College, has died. He was 91.
Wabash and Columbia, where Navarro was head coach from 1968-73, announced Tuesday that Navarro died on May 30. He died at his home in Charleston, South Carolina, of natural causes.
Wabash said a funeral service was scheduled for Friday at St. Patrick’s Church in Mystic, Connecticut.
Navarro played at Maryland and was an offensive lineman on the Terrapins’ 1952 Sugar Bowl-winning team.
After serving in the Air Force, the White Plains, New York, native began his coaching career at Columbia in 1955 as an assistant.
He got his first head coaching job at Williams College in 1963 and led the Ephs to an unbeaten season in 1967 (7-0-1).
Navarro became Columbia’s head coach in 1968 and led the Lions to a 16-36-2 record over six seasons.
He returned to lower-division football at Wabash in 1974 and in his fourth season at the school, the Little Giants reached the Division III national championship game. Before Navarro’s arrival, Wabash had not had a winning season since 1965.
After losing the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl to Widener, 39-36, Navarro headed back to the Ivy League. He was head coach at Princeton from 1978-84.
He retired with a record of 99-99-6 as a college head coach and was inducted into the Wabash College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996.
Navarro is survived by his wife Jill, eight children, 22 grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.